If you are planning to construct a new facility, it's important to consider all of the threats that were previously discussed. The last thing you want is to build a facility in an area where your employees fear for their personal safety. At the same time, you don't want the facility to feel like a bank vault or be designed like a prison. You need a facility that employees can be comfortable in. Well-designed facilities can be built as both comfortable and secure. Finding the right location is one of the first things you should consider when planning a new facility. The following items list some of the key points to consider:
Location of the facility is an important issue. A good example is the NSA museum outside Baltimore. It's the kind of place every computer geek dreams of going. It's actually behind the main NSA facility in what was a hotel. Rumor has it that this was a favorite hangout of the KGB before the NSA bought the hotel. I use this example to drive home the importance of location. Before construction begins, an organization should be thinking about how the location fits with the organization's tasks and goals. If you're running a covert spy agency next to a hotel that could be used for monitoring and surveillance, there might be a problem. Just as if you manufacture rockets for space shuttles, you might want to be near fire stations and hospitals, in case there's an accident. Just keep in mind that it's about more than just the cost of the property: Cheap property doesn't necessarily mean a good deal.
After you have chosen a location, your next big task is to determine how the facility will be constructed. In many ways, this is driven by what the facility will be used for and by federal, state, and local laws. Buildings that are used to store the groundskeeper's equipment have different requirements than those used as a clean room for the manufacturer of microchips. Although some things will be locked in and will be out of your control, you must determine others up front. As an example, you'll need to know how various parts of the facility will be used. I once saw a facilities crew trying to install an EMI chamber on the third floor of a building. No one had checked to verify the load-bearing weight of the floor. Concrete floor slabs typically have a rating of 150 pounds per square foot. Had the project continued, there was a good chance that the floor could have collapsed or been damaged. Make sure that the facility is built to support whatever equipment you plan to put in it.
The load is how much weight the walls, floor, and ceiling can support.
Doors, Walls, Windows, and Ceilings
Have you ever wondered why most doors on homes open in, while almost all doors on businesses open out? This design is rooted in security. The door on your home is hinged to the inside. This makes it harder for thieves to remove your door to break in, but it also gives you an easy way to remove the door to bring in that big new leather couch. Years ago, the individuals who designed business facilities had the same thought. Open-in design doesn't work well when people panic. It's a sad fact that the United States has a long and tragic history of workplace fires. In 1911, nearly 150 women and young girls died when they couldn't exit the poultry plant they were working in when it caught fire. Because of this and other tragic losses of life, modern businesses are required to maintain exits that open out. These doors are more expensive because they are harder to install and remove. Special care must be taken to protect the hinges so that they cannot be easily removed. Most are installed with a panic bar that would allow a large crowd to rush through the doorjust push, and you're out.
Doors aren't the only thing you need to consider. Most buildings have raised floors, so they need to be constructed in such a way that they are grounded. Walls must be designed to slow the spread of fires, and emergency lighting should be in place to light the way for anyone trying to escape in case of emergency. Other considerations include these:
Fail-safe locks are designed to protect employees in case of power loss because they allow employees to exit the facility.
The terms fail safe and fail secure have very different meanings when discussed in physical security versus logical security. During the exam, read the question carefully to determine in what context the term is being used.
Air intakes should be properly protected to protect people from toxin being introduced into an environment. The anthrax threat of 2001 drove home this critical concern.
The safety of your employees should always be your first concern.
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