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Securing Your Facility Inside and Out

High-tech security measures are part of the solution, but so are time-tested low-tech ideas - and the people to make them all work.

Apr/May 07
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This tech-based pursuit of security is not without its wider-ranging ramifications. As companies pile on systems, they increase their facilities' needs for high-quality, reliable electric and other utility services. The increase in technology hasn't much changed the way electricity and providers pursue their own methods to meet the demand, according to Ed Legge, spokesperson for the Edison Institute, which represents electric utility providers nationwide, but it probably has increased utility customer cost.

"As an industry, we always have to work to find ways to meet demand," says Legge. "The rise in technology has increased demand, that's for sure, but technology is also becoming more and more efficient. And the increased cost of operating technology, such as security and other systems that are always on, is part of the cost of doing business."

Even so, the increased demand for utilities - electric or otherwise - challenges site selectors to find locales where those services are redundant, reliable and of high quality. "We look at utilities very robustly, whether it's water or gas or electricity, and take them right along their lines from the site to their origination points," says Jim Kupferer, managing director of Fluor Global Location Services Group.

Still, there's more to site selection post-9/11 than a reliable grid. According to Kupferer, security technology is the domain of corporate IT gurus. But security measures that reside outside the facility's walls are site selectors' business. And, for the most part, those external measures are likely to be more low tech than high.

"In the past, we would normally look for sites that were fully cleared of trees and open to development," says Kupferer. "Now we're looking for wooded sites - with brush, even wetlands and more acreage - anything to create a buffer for added security around the facility."

Those site requirements have traditionally been applied when siting particular operations such as power plants, sensitive manufacturing facilities, and data-controlling operations such as call centers. Now, though, security-conscious site seekers of every stripe are embracing the notion that security beyond the walls is necessary to complement measures that lie within. And they're looking even further down the road for security support.

"When you look at overall security you look beyond the immediate area, to where the nearest Army base is located, then at the community's emergency preparedness plan, then at the state's preparedness plan," says Kupferer. "Security goes beyond what's inside the facility."

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