Planning For Protection

A security expert discusses some of the most important security concerns for facility executives in 2022.

By Facility Executive
From the August 2022 Issue

Facility managers need to safeguard their buildings against all different kinds of physical threats—from violence in the workforce, to theft and burglary, vandalism, and more. In the “Cybersecurity and Physical Security Convergence Guide,” published by the Cybersecurity and Physical Security Agency, there are more hybrid attacks than ever before—in which hackers try to gain access to a building’s sensitive information, i.e. surveillance cameras or access management system, and then will cause damage to or physically enter once security systems have been shut down or compromised.

Physical Security
Facility managers need to understand their buildings’ weaknesses and vulnerabilities, so they can be properly protected from intruders or hackers. (Photo: Adobe Stock by Pixel-Shoit)

An intruder gaining access, either through a cyber hack or as a result of a breech in security, can be deadly. As of early August 2022, there have been over 4,001 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive—including the devastating mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX on May 24th, where the gunman was able to gain access through an unlocked door.

Tragedies such as this one highlight how imperative it is for facility executives to reevaluate and reconsider their security plans on a yearly basis.

To learn more about how facility managers can protect their people and buildings from physical security risks, Facility Executive spoke with Bill Herzog, the CEO of LionHeart Security Services in Tempe, AZ, who is an expert in business security with over 25 years of law enforcement experience.

Physical Security
Bill Herzog, CEO, LionHeart Security Services

FE: What are some of the main security concerns facility managers and executives should consider in their risk assessments in 2022? 

BH: First off, facility managers and executives need to know the crime statistics in their area. They also need to be aware of the physical layout and structure of the facility. Know where security equipment, cameras, lights, and exits are located. Tour your facility and look for any danger zones like blind spots or vulnerabilities where people can access the business. If you have blind spots to cameras, potential criminals can hide until the business closes to steal property or even ambush people as they walk to their vehicles at night.

FE: What would you say are some of the biggest security concerns you’ve heard from the owners and operators of commercial buildings over the years? What are some of the tools/services they need to help address these concerns? 

BH: The biggest issues with commercial buildings have to do with copper wire and equipment theft. That is the biggest issue with commercial property owners. Thieves will go in and strip all the wiring out of the facility, which is costly to replace and not to mention will completely shut down your business.

First and foremost, facility managers need to do a security assessment with a security professional. Doing this assessment of the facility will help significantly with working through their concerns. Working with a security professional will ensure they have the right electronic security as well as physical security in those areas that need them.

FE: Are there any mistakes facility managers tend to make when implementing new security strategies/solutions? 

BH: The short answer is yes. The biggest mistake I run into is facility managers who don’t listen to the security professionals. Sometimes, they think they know everything and don’t want to listen to the professionals who can show them and teach them what they need for their facility. Working with a professional in the security industry is critical in keeping the business secure and safe for all who work there.

FE: What sort of plan should facility managers/executives have in place? How can they create or update a plan that might be out of date?

BH: Facility managers need multiple plans in place to keep the business secure. Fire evacuation plans, active shooters plans, bomb threat plans, and suspicious package plans are all important aspects that go into the overall safety of the facility. Facility managers must plan for any possible contingent that can come into play at their facility.

Work with a security professional to design a plan that suits the needs of the facility to protect employees and customers. They need to be reviewing their security plans every year and update as needed especially if the layout of the facility changes.

FE: If a company doesn’t have hired security guards, who should be responsible for the overall security of the workplace?

BH: The facility managers need to be the ones who oversee the safety of the workers and customers who are on site—they need to have plans in place for any situation and have dedicated people to assist in the case of an emergency.


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