What You Don’t Know About Area-Based Assessments

April 21, 2021 | 3 min read
Area based assessments

If a stranger walks into a conference room at your site during a meeting, you’d probably have some serious concerns about your building's security. The same goes for other restricted areas, like laboratories, or your CEO’s office. By the same token, you might not mind at all if a stranger walked off the street and into your lobby — that’s where the public is supposed to be, after all.

But what about the less obvious areas? Hallways, for example, or loading docks? Do you know exactly who is allowed in each of those areas, and do you have security measures in place to make sure that people without clearance aren’t walking into areas they should not be?

If not, you should learn more about area-based assessments.

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What are area-based security assessments?

An area-based assessment is a location-based approach to security that takes into account the zones of a site, their uses, and who has access to each zone, or area. By using definable areas, you can better pinpoint the security needs of each zone.

Whether you know it or not, your site is made up of concentric rings of defense. Think of an office building, for example. Anyone might be able to walk onto the grounds, but they might need to pass a guard to get into the lobby, and to get beyond the lobby, they’ll need someone to come downstairs and escort them to an office or conference room.

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What are the layers of defense at a site?

The layers of defense exist, in one form or another, at nearly every site. Most industries set them up without even thinking about them. However, the security industry breaks them down according to the criteria below.

The exterior rings are the layers between the border of the property and the building’s exterior walls. These include:

The perimeter: The perimeter is the border of the site, which should be clearly defined with roads, lighting, fences, or other barriers

Public exterior access: These are the public parts of your grounds, like visitor entrances and parking lots

Restricted exterior access: These areas are outdoor areas where the public is not allowed, such as employee parking, loading docks and other employee-only areas.

Building envelope: Literally where your building’s external walls end, the building envelope is the last exterior ring. Different industries treat this ring differently. For example, In healthcare, the public can drive right up to the building envelope, but a military base may keep the public miles away from the building.

The interior rings are defined by their function rather than by their physical location:

Public access only: Interior areas open to the public. In a hospital, for example, this might include the lobby, gift shop, and cafeteria

Restricted access only: Restricted areas, as you might expect, are the areas only employees can access, like inner hallways, break rooms, offices, and conference rooms.

Asset area: An asset area is a location where your organization’s most valued assets are located, such as a data center, a vault, a laboratory, or even the executive offices. If the idea of an outside walking into this area is greatly concerning to you, it’s an asset area.

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The importance of defining a site’s areas

Knowing what zone each area of your site falls into helps you think more clearly about who is allowed to be in an area, and how to protect the people and assets in those areas from specific threats.

Take active shooters, for example. These incidents are often difficult to prevent because they are often internal threats, such as employees and the relatives of employees. How can you protect a cafeteria, which may be a public area, from an active shooter, who might be an insider. You can do this by making it hard for someone to get to the cafeteria with a weapon, by having weapons detection all the entrances to the building, cameras in the hallways, and security officers on site.

If you’re trying to secure a staff locker room, you might not be able to have cameras in the locker room itself, but you can have cameras at the entrances so you know who is in the locker room at all times, as well as call boxes or other safety measures within the locker room.

Area-based assessment is a way in which you can improve your risk analysis of your site and create better countermeasures and plans.

Need help defining and evaluating the areas of your site? Schedule your personalized demo today

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