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Security Systems: Preventive or Responsive?

Despite the common use of the term, security is often perceived in different ways. Often, the depth of people’s concern on security is based on perceived threats and how vulnerable they or their assets are against these threats. A family that has never experienced a burglary, for example, may not see security as an urgent concern. However, a business that has been broken into would surely do something to heighten the security of its assets.

There are several types of security systems, some for prevention and others for responding to crimes when they occur. More than one system is often practical, but what’s important is that whichever system or combination of systems an organization chooses, its choice must be based on defined security needs.

Defining Security Needs

Most business or commercial security systems constitute CCTV surveillance, access control, and alarm systems to deter burglars. Homes, on the other hand, often consider CCTV cameras or safes as sufficient protection against theft. However, security must never be based only on what security equipment supplies or systems are commonly used. Rather, security needs must be defined based on context-specific factors.

When deciding what systems you must put in place, it is necessary to think through several considerations. These include what assets you want to protect, what threats surround these assets, and how severe these threats are. Threats of low severity may be addressed with some protective systems, but those with great severity and are highly likely to happen demand a better detection and response system.

You may define your security needs on your own, with a group, or with a team of security experts. 

Preventive vs. Responsive Security Systems

Both preventive and responsive security systems play important roles in protecting one’s assets, be that material, human, or information. But before we delve deeper between these two, it’s important to note some paradigm shifts related to the concepts of prevention and response. 

In the context of safety and emergency management, prevention and response are just two of the four thematic areas that complete the system. Dealing with natural and human hazards, this field puts special emphasis on prevention--often done in tandem with mitigation efforts--as proper preventive interventions potentially lessen the likelihood of a big emergency or disaster, hence decreasing costs related to response and rehabilitation. Prevention and mitigation measures include, among others, choosing a low-risk location for a home or business, ensuring sound structural engineering, and imposing safety equipment on workers doing jobs at hazardous areas.

On the other hand, the case is somewhat different when it comes to cybersecurity. With the technologies that hackers can easily access and misuse today, preventive measures have proved to have fallen short in protecting information against a security breach. As a result, cybersecurity experts now recognize the prime importance of having incident response procedures apart from preventive and detection systems. 

As such, determining whether you should prioritize a preventive or responsive security system depends largely on what assets you need to protect and how serious the threats are.

Are They Mutually Exclusive?

Another important thing to understand is that prevention and response systems aren’t always mutually exclusive--in fact, they rarely are.

For instance, a CCTV surveillance camera helps in both preventing crimes and responding to them if they occur. Being under the watch of a camera may deter some people from misbehaving. If it doesn’t, people can use the camera recording to identify the offender and from there execute what can be done to address the crime. 

When Preventive and Responsive Go Together

So yes, there are systems that provide both preventive and responsive benefits. 

The same way that a surveillance system can potentially deter crimes, setting up an alarm system can also do the same.  If people are aware that such a system is set-up, the likelihood that someone would attempt to breach decreases. This is true not only for outsiders but also for people from the inside, such as a business owner’s employees.

Another example is an access control system. Usually done by assigning keys or key cards to selected individuals, this system limits who gets access to important areas in a company and lowers the risk of unauthorized access. If a malicious break-in occurs, identifying the few people who have access can provide a starting point for an investigation.

How to Improve Security?

Given the difference between and the tie-up of preventive and responsive security systems, both homes and businesses, big and small, are faced with an important decision to provide adequate security to their places, assets, and--for the case of companies--personnel and customers. We see here that none is necessarily above another, and choosing which security system to prioritize depends largely on your context.  

To improve security, begin by identifying the situations that raise threats against your property or assets. Have a tandem of both preventive and responsive measures, and from here provide the best security system that your home or business deserves.

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