Sunday, March 19, 2017

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or Credentialed Security Consultant, That Is the Question

My brother built his house.  He borrowed a back-hoe and dug the hole.  He set the foundation and built his house from the ground up.  I look at him and say, “why can’t I even drive a nail straight?”  Well, there are two reason, first he has the knowledge and secondly, he had the right tools.  I, on the other hand, don’t have the knowledge nor have I ever purchased any tools.  Oh sure, I can unplug the toilet or figure out that a fuse is blown but much more than that, I’m in the dark.  The pun was not intentional, I swear. 

This got me to thinking.  Whenever I have something around the house that needs more than my minimum skills I have to call someone.  They usually arrive and the first thing they ask is, “Who did this?” as they look at the thousand mile-an-hour tape or screwdriver wedged against the window or the string hanging from where the handle should be on the screen door.  Then they go about fixing it and charging me the equivalent of a mortgage payment.  They leave with a smile on their face and say, “Call us before you try to FIX IT again.  You’ll save money in the long run”. 

I asked my brother, where he got his knowledge and he told me that he asked lots of questions to people in the know and when he needed to, he bought or rented the tools.  If they had the skill set for roofing he asked roofing questions, same for plumbing and so on.  I was glad when he told me this because up to this point, I thought my Dad shared house building skills with him but not with me.  I was made at my Dad.  Forgive me Dad.

Well, the same holds true in security.  There are projects you can do on your own and there are things you really should get an expert to handle.  With the advancement in technologies in recent months you can basically, “plug and play” all types of electronic security systems.  This is a good thing.  I remember a day when programming the VCR was a disaster.  Even though my English is pretty good, I could never understand the instructions.  I had to get a friend to do it for me.  But back to security.  Electronic security systems have become sophisticated but you don’t have to be an “IT geek” to use them.  Most can be monitored on your phone with an App download.

But, if you’re going to assess your property and take a holistic approach you probably want someone with knowledge in vulnerability assessment/risk analysis or in developing mitigation strategies or someone with a Physical Security Engineering (PSE, SPSE or MPSE) designation.  If you have a very large project or are worried about cost overruns, you could also get someone with credentials from the Security Industry Association (SIA) in project management or a Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM®).  Another reputable organization is the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS), which provides a variety of designations.   The security consultant having one of these credentials or designation is your guarantee that the person doing the job has the right tools sets and the knowledge to use them.

DIY is okay but remember one thing; good advice has a cost but free advice may cost you more.

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