One of the most frequent challenges we deal with is “right-sizing” security: matching our security recommendations with a client’s needs. To do so, we have to overcome misconceptions and the “Hollywood” effect, which usually lead clients to seek a much higher level of security than they need.
We discuss their specific threat scenario and risks, educate them on the range of available security options, and propose options that actually address those risks.
New clients often request unnecessary (and expensive) security features that—considering their threat scenario—they simply don’t need. People have been conditioned by Hollywood and news media to associate things like bullet and blast resistance with security. However, those solutions tend to exceed client needs and overlook the far more common and realistic security risk we all face: forced entry and opportunistic crime.
The percentage of calls we receive for bullet-resistant doors is a reflection of this conditioning. Most of our clients, including millionaires and billionaires, are exponentially more likely to be robbed by an opportunistic criminal because they live in an exclusive neighborhood than be the subject of a credible death threat.
Another one of our favorite right-sizing examples is the RPG scenario:
Very few people have a need for a blast-resistant door to stop an RPG, but they like the idea because that’s what they’ve seen in movies.
Education: Forced Entry
Educating clients to help right-size security starts with an overview of our various forced entry door and window levels: 5-minute (FE5) and 15-minute (FE15), as well as the US State Department standard to which our doors and windows are tested.
Many clients reject the FE5 option because, in their minds, 5 minutes seems insufficient. It’s only after watching test footage that they realize an FE5 rating makes it more secure than virtually every other residential door on the market (with the exception of our FE15 door).
The State Department FE5 test consists of a highly skilled two-man team attacking three (3) distinct locations on the door for five minutes each (15 mins total) with a selection of axes, sledge hammers, wedges, and pry bars.
The State Department FE15 test consists of a highly skilled six-man team attacking three (3) distinct locations on the door for fifteen minutes each (45 mins total) with an expanded selection of axes, sledge hammers, wedges, pry bars, and 120lbs battering ram.
An example we use to help educate clients is from the Arab Spring. In September 2011, the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was overrun by a mob of several hundred protestors. The six Israeli guards on-duty that night took refuge in the embassy’s safe haven as the mob ransacked the Embassy, until Egyptian security forces arrived to assist them. For several hours, all that stood between the Israeli guards and probable death was an FE15 door.
If that’s what the Israelis are using in Egypt, maybe it’s overkill for your front entry.
We go through a similar process when discussing bullet resistance. We offer three options:
Right-sizing security to meet a client’s needs is a process that often leads to a smaller sale; however, it is the responsible and ethical course of action. Not only does it help build a relationship of trust with clients, but right-sizing should be a pillar of our code of ethics as security professionals.