Physical Security Systems

Physical security systems and plans are designed to protect an enterprise, agency, or institution from physical threats. And, they typically involve using multiple layers of interdependent systems designed to protect persons and/or property from damage, theft, and/or harm.

Determining Your Physical Security System Requirements

When deciding to install a physical security system, not only do you need to determine which physical security system will work best for you, but you also need to consider which system components and functionality are necessary to best protect your brand. This can be determined by performing an evaluation of your individual risk factors and the protection level(s) required.

Once you know exactly what needs to be protected, then you can determine how to best protect it.

Multi-Layer Security System Protection

Most physical security systems use multiple layers of protection. These layers are designed to complement each other and to work in unison to prevent physical security breaches.  And each layer of protection serves a specific purpose. The different layers are designed to:

  • Deter potential intrusions
  • Detect potential intrusions
  • Respond to possible security breaches

Deter Potential Intruders with Physical Security Systems

The first layer of protection is designed to deter intrusions. And the goal is to convey a message that the business or entity has a strong defense system in place. We want to convince a potential intruder(s) that an intrusion is not likely to be successful. Using a combination of deterrence methods typically works best.

The most common deterrence methods usually employ some type of visual deterrence. It relies on a person viewing a warnings, images, or objects to relay a message of deterrence. And different types of visual deterrence methods can employ varying levels of sophistication.

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Warning Messages, A Simple Intrusion Deterrence Method

One of the most basic deterrence methods is as simple as displaying a warning because using words is almost always one of the best ways to convey a message. A sign warning that an area is under video surveillance or a sign saying that a structure is being protected by a security company are two great examples of warning messages used to deter intrusions.

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Security Lighting as a Visual Deterrence

Security lighting is another effective form of visual deterrence. Intruders are less likely to enter well-lit areas. So, ensuring that access points are well-lit helps keep intruders away as they will want to avoid being seen, in most instances. Plus, it can help keep authorized users safe allowing for higher visibility in those areas. But it is important that security lighting is installed properly, where it cannot easily be tampered with. And for businesses or entities requiring higher levels of protection, more sophisticated security lighting systems should be utilized. These more sophisticated systems can include special features such as motion detection or a backup power supply to ensure lighting isn’t compromised during an electricity outage.

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Video Surveillance Cameras Deter Intrusions

Video Surveillance Cameras can prevent and deter intrusions because intruders are less likely to commit an intrusion if they see surveillance cameras monitoring the area. If surveillance cameras are actively being monitored, an intruder knows that they are more likely to get caught in the act. And even if cameras aren’t actively being monitored, surveillance cameras can record the intrusion. Intruders know that cameras can provide key information and evidence that can help catch and potentially convict the intruder after the act.

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Access Control Systems Deter Intrusions by Restricting Access

An access control system that requires a keycard or fob to enter an area can deter intrusions by making it more difficult for unauthorized persons to gain access. By limiting access to only those with the proper credentials, it functions as an additional layer of protection requiring intruders to attempt to bypass one more obstacle to gain access. And some access control systems have the capability to help detect potential intrusions, alerting security of access attempts by unauthorized persons.

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Detect Physical Intrusions

The second layer of physical intrusion protection focuses on detecting intrusions. If an intruder is not deterred by visual deterrence methods and attempts to gain physical access, or even worse, successfully gains access – it is important to have detection systems in place.

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CCTV Security Cameras Can Detect Physical Security Intrusions

Security cameras are one of the most commonly used solutions for detecting physical security intrusions. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) security cameras can be used to capture footage in and around a business, building, campus, or location. The three most common types of CCTV security cameras used to detect physical intrusions are:

  • Analog Security Cameras: The most common type of CCTV security camera, an analog camera offers basic recording functionality and stores video on-site.
  • Wired Security Cameras: These cameras use cables to transmit footage and conduct video surveillance activities. These are most often used in buildings or areas where multiple wired cameras can be interconnected to a single monitor, located nearby. It allows multiple camera feeds to be monitored simultaneously, most likely by on-duty security personnel.
  • Internet Protocol (IP) Security Cameras: One of the more advanced options on the market. These cameras offer sharper, higher resolution images, in addition to basic recording and storage functionality. Plus, they often come equipped with additional technology features such as being able to zoom and reposition cameras from a remote access location.
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Alarm Systems Can Detect Physical Security Intrusions

Alarm systems that are used to detect physical security breaches, often rely on sensors to detect activity. There are many different types of sensors that can be incorporated into an alarm system and they can be used to detect various types of activities. Motion sensors are one of the most commonly used sensors that can detect physical security breaches. And they work by activating an alarm when movement or motion is detected within a specific area. In most cases, this alarm will send a signal to trigger an audible alarm to potentially scare the intruder away, while simultaneously alerting security personnel to a potential intrusion, triggering a response.

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Responding to Physical Security Intrusions

Putting event communication triggers and intrusion response plans into place is the third layer of protection, and one of the most important.

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Event Communication Triggers

Event communication triggers are system responses that are put into place to relay a message(s) to the control panel that a specific event has taken place. So, if a sensor is triggered, event communication triggers can prompt a specific set of pre-programmed actions to take place. The system may sound an audible alarm in response to detecting motion while simultaneously alerting a designated security monitoring center.

And event communication triggers can be programmed to do so much more than just sound an alarm or send an alert. Depending on system components and capabilities, event communication triggers can be designed to communicate additional pertinent information. This may include additional data such as the specific location of the event, the type of event detected, the exact time of detection, or even include images from security footage in the area.

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Intrusion Response Plans

Event communication triggers are designed to trigger a response(s). They can trigger automatic responses that are pre-programmed responses, that automatically prompt a specific system action, such as sending an alert to a security monitoring center. They can also trigger manual response(s), prompting specific action protocols to take place. And, these protocols should consist of a set of pre-determined actions security personnel are instructed to perform in response to a specific event communication trigger. These protocols are referred to as Security Response Plans. They should be well documented, easy to access, and security personnel should be trained to respond appropriately.

Engineering PLUS Security Experts Can Design the Ideal Physical Security System to Protect Your Business

Our security experts at Engineering PLUS will work with you to identify potential physical security risks and to design a system to protect against potential damage, theft, and/or harm. Systems are designed to be easy to use. And they can be modified to meet your specific requirements. Plus, our systems are designed to be able to easily adapt to your growing and changing needs as your business grows over time.

Contact Engineering PLUS to learn more about our physical security options and how we can help you best protect your business.