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It’s just a gate!!

We have all wrestled with security issues, whether domestic or commercial, and I suspect we all have a similar view of our domestic solutions but the commercial world has always had to balance the cost against likely losses if something goes wrong.  The Government, on the other hand, has the task of taking a holistic view of security and is expected to look after all of our needs.

HVM gate impact tested

HVM gate impact tested

Looking at the any Government’s task, I believe the way to tackle this is to ask: “what is it which makes our citizens feel insecure”, because that is what must be tackled.  May I suggest that the reasons for our insecurity can vary widely across the world but I am sure any Bangladeshi seeing the tide rise is going to feel insecure; any businesses invested heavily in the stock market observing a market crash will feel insecure and any Afghan hearing the butt of an AK47 on his door is going to feel insecure.  And so, if our governments want to make us feel secure, they should tackle, in a holistic plan, physical, economic and environmental security with equal aggression.  In Switzerland, the focus will probably be on the economic first; in India it may be environmental, physical and then economic; in Pakistan and Afghanistan all three are of concern in equal measure as each will cause citizens to feel insecure.

Even if we (in UK) have less concern about our economy than our physical security, it is simple to understand that providing the physical protection costs many millions and cannot be afforded without money to feed it.  Similarly, if we are to protect our Country from flooding, we need to provide expensive flood defences, requiring cash.  Nevertheless, even if we have measures like the Thames Barrier we have to protect them from terrorist attack as the failure of this barrier during a high tide would result in London being flooded (one of the lowest points being Scotland Yard) and therefore commerce stopping, leading to a possible collapse in the economy.  There are many such examples.

Let’s now think about business security needs, or rather business continuity or resilience.  The current and forecast P&L is important to show how well we are doing now and in the near future.  If we live in California or Nepal, we may consider earthquake proofing our buildings and estate or in the UK create an environment that is warm, dry and well lighted for our staff to be comfortable in the office environment. If we live in any western city we need to think about how vulnerable we are to terrorist attack.  The more staff, the more iconic the building or business, the more likely we are to be a target, unless we prepare to make our businesses more difficult and less obvious/attractive targets for the terrorists.  Oh yes, it is just a crash gate or road blocker but if it stops a hostile vehicle from exploding a 400kg bomb which would kill your staff and disrupt your business for months, it is every bit as important as that P&L forecast and those flood defences; what’s more, it will last for many years and will make those who do not have HVM measures in place far easier targets.  “Just a gate” – I think not.