Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Neighborhood Watch for Your Enterprise

I don't know how many neighborhoods have watch programs. However, it is a known fact that they are effective in fighting crime. Not just robberies, watch programs help protect neighbors during times of need. In my opinion, a nosy neighbor is more effective than an alarm system because currently most police will not even respond to an unverified house alarm. How is a watch program setup?
1. A police representative is identified to answer questions from the neighborhood. This doesn't have to be a police officer and they are generally not someone to call during an emergency.
2. Information is propagated to everyone involved about current crimes and suspicious activities that relates to the area and crimes that could impact the residents.
3. Identify a neighborhood representative to help organize and motivate people to pay attention.
4. Develop a process of reporting strange information amongst the neighbors without immediate notification of police. This establishes an ability for neighbors to feel like they are self sufficient.
5. Post signage and reminders to keep up the watch organization.
6. Reward the positive behavior. This doesn't have to be anything expensive. It could be a gift certificate or a simple certificate recognizing someone for stopping a crime.
7. Hold one or two meetings a year where everyone is invited to get together.
Simple. Right?
Well how does this apply to a company?
In my opinion, companies today rely too much on technology to keep tabs on workers. I know, nobody likes to think they are being watched at work. Don't freak out. I am not advocating a secret internal police force and having to worry that your co-worker will get you fired if you say the wrong thing. I am saying that the same problems exist for the Chief Security Officer as the Chief of Police. Both positions exist to protect people, assets, and everyone's ability to be as productive as they choose to be. Neither of these people or representatives can be everywhere at once, but with the proper education residence and employees can help themselves by
providing the infrastructure and processes for people to recognize strange behavior, an ability to raise suspicion without feeling guilty about asking questions.
Does your company do a good job with education of security internally?
Would an employee know what to do if a strange person was walking the halls without an id badge visible? Maybe.
What if an employee knew that a co-worker was using their a boss's userid and password to access a restricted application? Where would a co-worker discuss this behavior?
If you can't answer these questions there is not a software or hardware solution that is going to prevent the problem. Education and a company watch program should be your first step.
There are strong lessons that apply to companies and employees learned from real world police and their techniques. Too often difficult problems are answered with high tech solutions when the low cost most effective way is relying on your own people.

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