Physical Security Assessment: Know Your Current Infrastructure (Part 1)

Physical Security Assessment Part 1

Physical Security Assessment: Know Your Current Infrastructure (Part 1)

7 Physical Security Assessment Strategies To Maximize Your ROI

I’m going to walk through seven physical security considerations, taking the collective experience from the 1.5 million+ installs I’ve had the opportunity to witness, and surface my key findings from those experiences for you as an overall physical security assessment. Before the read, learn more about our physical security solutions here.

Over the upcoming weeks, I will be releasing these seven considerations as a series of blogs covering each area you should strategize around to ensure maximum physical security ROI for your business.

  1. Know Your Current Infrastructure (Part 1)
  2. Take Advantage of Hybrid Technology (Part 2)
  3. Look Beyond Recorded Video (Part 3)
  4. Hosted Solutions (Part 4)
  5. Select an Innovative and Scalable Solution(Part 5)
  6. Access Control(Part 6)
  7. Video Verification (Part 7)

Some of them are good, some are bad, but they are things that if you watch out for and strategize around can save considerable time, money, and increase your value to your organization.

Know Your Current Infrastructure

Generally, when there is a problem, we solve that problem based on the information we have at hand. However, do you know what’s in all of your stores, all of your branches, and all of your locations? It sounds simple; at least on the surface. You may ask “Well, we’re just replacing an NVR, what’s the big deal?”

I’m going to give you a quick example, and I’ll walk you through why knowing what technology you have across your locations is essential. Three years ago, we joined into a project with a global clothing retailer, and this global clothing retailer had a bunch of NVRs that no longer met their PCI requirements. They had to get these NVRs out of these locations as fast as they could and upgrade with something that met those new requirements. So it was a pretty high-level business initiative.

They reviewed several manufacturers and decided to work directly with the manufacturers themselves to help facilitate and expedite the product selection process.

The customer chose a device, and we tested that device in about 15 domestic locations. We put the box in, and everything worked perfectly. We installed the device the way it was supposed to be installed, and the results were great.

Everybody liked what they saw, and they decided to roll it out chainwide. So about 15% of the way through the project, what do you think started happening? We started running into variations with how stores were configured, and differences with what hardware was being used at these locations, especially when you got into regions outside of the US.

No one knew the infrastructure for all of the locations and this created all kinds of problems. Devices weren’t functioning the way they had when they were tested in the 15 US sites. We were putting in devices that didn’t meet the regional loss prevention individual’s requirements for how they were using the system, and it put the manufacturer and us in a bit of a tailspin.

Now we’ve got to run back to the drawing board in the middle of a three-year deployment, pull engineers off the bench, put people on airplanes and go back and assess these locations to figure out why the devices were not functioning correctly. This all could have been avoided if everyone knew what the infrastructure was at all of their sites.



The project overall was a success. We met the initiative, but it came with a cost that could have been avoided. There was a 20% overrun financially and about a 30% overage on timelines.

What I like to point out is that we could have avoided all of that if a thorough site survey had been done at all locations to understand the existing infrastructure before a solution had been chosen.

Site surveys are inexpensive for a few hundred dollars we can get an engineer in and out of a store, take the proper photographs, and ask questions like “how is the system being used?” Then bring that stuff back to the drawing table to make sure that the design from a hardware perspective aligns with how the end user wants to use that product. If we skip this step, we take a significant risk, and this is a simple example of what happens and how we could have avoided it.

The Physical Security Assessment Your Organization Needs

If you are unsure of your current physical security infrastructure, it is time to survey your locations, so you know what you have across your network.

Comm-Works’ strategy around areas such as our Video Surveillance Solutions, Intrusion Alarm System IT Services, and Access Control Solutions will ensure your organization takes your physical security solutions to the next level.