What Makes You Feel Secure?

October 16, 2007 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

A man and a woman had gotten stranded on a lonely road.   As they were leaving the car, the woman wanted to lock the doors, and the man didn’t.   He argued that you get the security you expect.   If you think you’re in a dangerous place and lock the doors and such, then people around you become distrustful.   The area is as unsafe as you believe it to be.   But if you believe you’re in a safe place and trust strangers as much as you trust your neighbors at home, then people will share that trust and leave your car and your person alone.  

This scene is from a short story I read years ago.   I don’t remember the title.   I can’t even remember anything else about the plot, but the scene has repeatedly popped into my mind through the years as I leave my car or my house.     

Obviously, as Vendormate is out and about meeting customers and prospects, how secure is “secure enough” is a major topic of conversation.   It’s revealing to hear how people define security, but even more telling is how they act about security.

One materials manager related this story to us.   Their wireless network provider was coming in to check signal strength throughout the facility.   The technician would be walking throughout the facility carrying a signal detector that looks like a bullhorn as well as a laptop-looking recording box.   As a security test, she asked the technician to walk about the building without any badge or other visible identification and tell her what happened throughout the day.  

Eight hours later, he reported back.   No one had acknowledged him.   He had walked past three security guards as well as countless hospital employees.   No one had asked for identification.  No one had questioned his presence.  

Was that facility secure?   Was the entire hospital behaving like the man in the short story?   Assuming they would get the safety they expected?  

I don’t really think so.   I believe they thought security was handled by a system or by someone else.   They had answered “yes” to the questions a prospect once asked us, “Can you protect me against the threats I haven’t thought about?   What about the ones you haven’t thought about?”

No matter what badging, verification or credentialing process you have in place, it’s incomplete without reinforcement by the people in your facility.   It’s the Neighborhood Watch concept.   Systems and security officers can’t be everywhere.   Couple your vendor management program with education that everyone has a part.   You have to continually reinforce to your colleagues and staff that all play a role in maintaining a secure environment.  

And yes, even though part of me believes you get the safety you expect, even though it makes me a little sad each time, I lock the doors every time I leave the house or the car.  

Entry filed under: materials management, security, vendor management.

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