Parking Lot Security Story

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When used properly, anecdotal evidence (i.e. true stories) can be a valuable tool for raising security awareness and lifting security’s image with employees and management. It is one of the most under-utilized tools available to a security practitioner for security education and awareness.

One security practitioner related this story to me when we were conducting a risk assessment.

The Parking Lot Story

(As told to me by the Security Director)

A few weeks ago, a chemist who works the midnight shift in one of our testing labs, sent me an email praising a night shift security officer. She had called to ask for an escort to her vehicle because it was dark and rainy outside, and visibility was low. The officer met her at the employee exit with a large umbrella and a large plastic shopping bag. He suggested she put her purse and the book she was carrying into the bag to keep them dry.

He then turned on his flashlight, escorted her to the car, using the flashlight to identify and avoid large puddles in the parking lot.

She didn’t know whether or not the shopping bag, flashlight and umbrella were the officer’s own idea or standard security escort practice. In either case, she wanted to express her appreciation as for once her feet did not get soaked, and her purse and book stayed dry.

It turns out that it was the officer’s own initiative to use the shopping bag and flashlight, and so the escort procedure was updated to make those actions standard for rainy nights. 

Later, in the next management meeting, I let all of the managers know of our upgraded escort practice for personnel working at night. I also explained that we regularly brainstorm about security improvements, especially the no cost/low cost kind, like the parking lot escort procedure improvement. I said that “We feel better asking for security improvement funding after we’ve already exhausted all of the no cost/low cost improvements we can find.”

I also let them know that one of our main security objectives is “a safe and secure workplace”, which contributes to the high ratings that our facility gets from our employees in the online employer rating websites.  I explained that HR had told me that having a reputation for strong security makes it easier to hire good people for the midnight shift, and at mid-market rates.

This Security Director takes a list of the latest talking points he has developed into each meeting he attends, in case the opportunity arises to share one or more of them.

It should be no surprise that this Security Director has an easier time than most security departments do when it comes to funding security improvements.