By Col Deepak Kajla (Retd), CPP, PMP

What is Tradeoff?  A tradeoff is a situation that involves losing one quality or aspect of something in return for gaining another quality or aspect. It often implies a decision to be made with full comprehension of both the upside and downside of a particular choice. It is an exchange of one thing in return for another, especially relinquishment of one benefit or advantage for another regarded as more desirable. It is a technique of reducing or forgoing one or more desirable outcomes in exchange for increasing or obtaining other desirable outcomes in order to maximize the total return or effectiveness under given circumstances. Aspects with Linkages to Security Design. The design of any facility is a complex process involving harmonizing the interplay of diverse aspects. In the current article, we will restrict ourselves to major aspects with linkages to security design. These are operational efficiency, landscape, convenience and privacy. Operational Efficiency. The operations team prefers processes which are time efficient. In a steel plant, it is desirable to have a facility entry process which takes minimum time. However from the security perspective, the entry process would include security checks and these would cause queuing up and reduce the throughput leading to an increase in time for the personnel to report to work. Landscape. Initial landscaping can help reduce both electronic and physical components lowering the total cost of ownership.  It can assist in creating choke points or high visible areas deterring or displacing would be adversaries. Incorporating aspects of security in the landscape design often creates a conflict in terms of aesthetics as what may look beautiful may not necessarily be secure. For a hotel, the landscape consultant would prefer a wall based on the concept of the hotel, ensuring good visibility from the outside. However from the security perspective, a solid wall may be preferable to mitigate the risk of an explosive device being ignited beyond the boundaries of the facility. Convenience. We all visit malls. Which kind of mall would you prefer to visit. One in which first your vehicle is checked and then you also undergo personal frisking before entering the mall or one in which there are no security checks. Most people would choose the convenient option. However heightened security is a acceptable reality today and so there is the need to optimize security and convenience for such public facilities. Privacy. Surveillance is the most common form of security being put to effect nowadays. However, at all such locations there is a need to address issues of privacy. From the security perspective, it would be preferable to cover all public areas by CCTVs. However this reduces the privacy of individuals and needs to fine tuned to address both the concerns. Conclusion. Apart from the major tradeoffs listed above, the issue of cost of security is also always paramount. In order to optimize the expenditure on security, it is essential to base the security controls on risk assessment and needs analysis to ensure that correct decisions are taken with respect to the major tradeoffs.

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