The site survey is generally considered the foundation for setting up a new security effort at a facility or residence. Through a site survey, we are able to identify security vulnerabilities as well as the follow-on security recommendations to help mitigate those vulnerabilities. In fact, a site survey is often synonymous with the term vulnerability assessment. When surveying executive residences, there are several things that must be taken into account in order to balance safety and security with the comfort and convenience of the executives, their families, guests, and staff.
In the initial stages of setting up a new security program at an executive residence, the effort put into the site survey should be exhaustive. The majority of the findings will shape the follow-on security operation and therefore needs to be thorough. However, once the survey has been completed and the security effort is up and running, the surveys are often not readdressed.
While the new security program settles into day to day operations, years can go by without a security-related incident. The only disadvantage of remaining incident free is that the security team does not have a catalyst for reexamining not only the effectiveness of the existing security protocols but also a changing environment or changing threats to the client. Unless the security team takes the opportunity to reassess the overall operation without an unplanned event, the years tick off along with the inevitable changes.
All environments change over time; crime statistics in the area of the residence change, neighbors living in close proximity to the residence can change, physical features of the property can change (oftentimes high-net-worth [HNW] residences are in more or less a constant state of remodeling), a technology initially leveraged can become outdated, and the profile of the executive or their family members can increase. Without taking the initiative to update the site survey, program managers are running the risk of having an otherwise detectable vulnerability exploited, possibly to the detriment of their client, or at an absolute minimum, to the embarrassment of the security team.
As the persons charged with an executive’s security, the primary task is keeping the client safe, especially at their residence. Through successfully accomplishing this task, we also build and maintain the trust the client has in their security personnel. Having a security breach at a residence can shake a client to their core, especially considering that the executive’s family members may have been put at risk. An event like this has the potential to set back the entire security operation as well as erode the trust the client has put into the people that are working hard to keep them safe.
As with all security procedures, it is important to continuously measure the effectiveness of current practices against updated threats, and the executive residential site survey is no different. An update to an existing site survey could also help security managers quantify the need for security upgrades that may be long overdue.
Updating the site survey for your executive’s residence can be done internally, by the existing team, or can be subcontracted out to companies that specialize in these services. While both approaches have benefits, a combined approach will often bring the best results. Having an outsider that will be seeing the property for the first time working with someone that has not only institutional and historic knowledge of the property but also a thorough understanding of the client’s preferences will help balance out recommendations. Depending on the nature of the overall security operation, bringing in an outside consultant, who may also be more knowledgeable on current technology, may offer solutions that would have otherwise been unfamiliar to the existing team.
It is also important to note that updating an existing site survey is not about finding fault in the initial effort. Keeping in mind the ever-changing environment already discussed, the new survey should be undertaken with the understanding that the property and the environment being assessed have changed and that the ultimate goal is to ensure that any new vulnerabilities are identified as well as recommendations for practical and effective solutions.
One of the potential complications to updating the survey is that the original survey is many years out of date and the follow-on recommended changes can be significant. In this circumstance, implementing all the recommendations at once can not only be cost-prohibitive but also too disruptive to the ongoing security operation. Breaking the recommendations into stages that will be addressed over a given time period can make the cost more palatable to the client and more manageable overall. The initial stages would address the most critical vulnerabilities first and then would work backward from there on an agreed-upon time schedule.
At PFC Safeguards we have assisted many clients with both initial site surveys for new security programs as well as updating surveys that need to be reassessed. Derived through the extensive experience working with HNW clients, their executive protection teams, and their corresponding residential security programs, PFC Safeguards experts bring a wealth of industry-specific knowledge to each survey. We also understand balancing safety and security recommendations that address the identified vulnerabilities and the comfort, convenience, and preferences of the client. PFC Safeguards has developed a reputation for understanding the client’s unique needs and the security programs that have been developed around those needs. With this understanding in mind, PFC Safeguards and PFC ESOC can provide tailormade, client-specific solutions including solutions from physical residential security technologies to a proactive protective intelligence approach.