Drawing on the Antwerp Diamond heist case

Discuss (argue) what a systems approach to physical security is and why security degradation can impair the effectiveness of a well-designed PPS using the Antwerp Diamond robbery as an example.

To begin, keep in mind that physical security generally refers to the protection of data, networks, software, hardware, and individuals from unfavorable events and acts that would undoubtedly result in significant loss or simply damage to an institution, agency, or organization (Morris, & Thompson, 2016). Natural disasters, vandalism, theft, burglary, fire, encroachment, or flood can all be protected against. Due to the severity of the impact of any of these attacks, there is a dire need for protection or counteracting mechanism and thus the concept of a systems approach to physical security (Zakariya, & Kahn, 2015). Since most of the times, risks do not only arise from a single threat but rather from a combination of threats exploiting certain vulnerabilities lead to various damages to assets. Coole, & Brooks (2013) add that the commander must also contribute by seeing to it that the right physical security measures are put in place to help to minimize possible loss of the personnel, material, supplies, and equipment through both natural and human threats.

In that regard, it is important to acknowledge that according to Antwerp Diamond heist case, a systems approach to physical security originated from biology back in 1992s as pursued by Kohler in elaborating the most common nature of inorganic as would be compared to the organic systems (So, & Lee, 2012). In addition, the issue of physical security is perceived as a whole and is both designed and operated as single entities or systems whereby the systems is a set of interrelated components or parts that work together within certain set constraints to achieve a common purpose (Mukhopadhyay, 2009). According to Antwerp Diamond heist case, systems approach to physical security is, therefore, compost of four main components including security guidelines, security management, security concept design, security management plans, and engineering, procurement and construction (Sarma, Weis, & Engels, 2012). Drawing on the Antwerp Diamond heist case, this case study, therefore, presents an argument about what entails a systems approach to physical security as well as exploring the reason as per why the decay of the security could contribute to the reduction of the effectiveness of well designed physical protection system (PPS).

As one of the key areas of scientific generalization, the idea of a systems approach to physical security was initially introduced by Zakariya, & Kahn (2015). Darby et al. (2007), claimed that the systems approach should be regarded as a very critical regulative aspect of the science and technology which would effectively help to guard against certain superficial analogies which according to still has no substantial scientific basis.

In regard to security guidelines as a major aspect of a system approach to physical security, regards the protection of various assets or enterprise for security as a discipline domain collectively embracing a steady strategy towards preventing destruction or loss of properties, protection of information and personnel which in other words known as defense in depth (Coole, & Brooks, 2013). A systems approach to physical security is underpinned mostly by a core sequential functionality which includes detection or deterrence, response, delay and recovery of the property. According to Hitchings (2016), a systems approach to physical security in its olden from has mostly been used in the protection of assets or enterprises for several centuries, based on the reasoning that any protected facility or asset should be completely enclosed by a succession of barriers so as too restrained and restrict any penetration of unauthorized entry (Smith, 2014). This is aimed towards ascertaining period for the right response as well as recovery. Thus, this case study reasons that a systems approach is a very sound theory since it is anchored theoretically by both the rational choice and routine activities from the natural paradigm of prevention of crime (Sasse, Brostoff, & Weirich, 2014). This is exhaustively addressed in the five main processes of security guidelines including the security and protection philosophy, enterprise or facility protection objectives, security system design process, the definition of various levels of security and the expected outcome from the security initiative.

According to Fischer (2014), a systems approach to physical security tends to focus on the intensity of guardian especially where an action will occur whenever a suitable point of a target is properly identified or where there is overall lack of the right guardian which would be perceived as a motivated perpetrator. In addition, the approach also argues that potential offender normally focuses on the exact target based on the perception of the possibility of being detected, the extent of challenge in achieving the main aim, and the opportunity of being apprehended with respect to their prevention of violence. Larosiliere, Skoch, & Prahst (2012) further argues that a systems approach to physical security a logical mathematical field the key subject issue being on the development and formulation of the principles which are universally valid for the system in entirety. Hitchings (2016) added that, there certain specific principles which apply to the systems approach to physical security in general regardless of the characteristics of their aspect components or perhaps the force or relationship existing between them. Finstein et al. (2003) argued that the systems approach to physical security should always be addressed methodologically which indeed a critical means of investigating and controlling principle transfer from one area to another (Coole, & Brooks, 2013). It should no longer be necessary to replicate or duplicate the unveiling similar principles in various areas separated from one another.

A systems approach to physical security according to Lake (2013), is more of a meta-discipline such that in contrast to other theories such as defense in depth and routine activity approaches. Nonetheless, the underlying basic backing the systems approach to physical security originates from the common argument that majority of general viewpoint and aspect in the various field of security are much alike (Lee, & Seshia, 2016). Additionally, a systems approach to physical security is said to be a product of the security concept design characterized with elaborate building registered security, activity flow chart, concept chart and clear plans of concept integrating procedures, equipment, people and personnel into a barrier system. The approach, therefore, offers for the application of security system thinking which is capable of recognizing that different events also forms the part of the events’ patterns (Lake, 2013). This implies that, in the systems approach to physical security, the analysis of the security system must come before the process of synthesis whereby each of the analysis needs subsequent synthesis for the purpose of understanding the entirety of the evaluation process (Macedo, 2007). For instance, a security door can be perceived as a subsystem of the entire building fabric in the case where the intruder is to be resisted. Moreover, the systems approach can also be supplemented to offer a better physical security like in this scenario, the sensor technologies may be used to boost the process of detecting any attempt by the intruder to bypass the door.

According to Coole, & Brooks (2014), each of the constituents of the security in a systems approach to the physical security is normally assessed particularly for the viability the design of the facet and also the strength of the material particularly in offering difficulty level for the adversary where the measure of effectiveness is joined to offer a difficulty level.

Systems approach physical protection system

The key application the measure of security or simply control is clearly defined by Funk, Bryant, & Heckman (2017) as the procedural, psychological, physical, technical or other systems that can perfectly perform triplicate or more security functions. According to Fischer (2014), in a system, approach physical protection systems (PPS) better security is usually obtained through division or demarcation of the actual physical space which is commonly known as the zones or simply protection rings. However, Lee, & Seshia (2016) argue that the protection in a systems approach to physical security involves quite a number of definite measures which the adversary has to overcome in sequence and also regard the avoidance of every point of failure in any given plan of physical protection system (PPS). The protection provided by the systems approach is known to potentially integrate a number of detection components, a system for measuring multiple delays, and also the capability for multiple responses (Sridhar, Hahn, & Govindarasu, 2012). Nonetheless, it has been always argued that physical protection using a system approach is only possible to be implemented particularly for guarding or controlling the movement of any unauthorized or illegal activity within a single zone of security or perhaps many security zones. The concept is obvious and applicable more precisely where according to the sequence of potential, exist the urge to disrupt or if possible cancel any illegal attempt of incursion across different physical security zones. Coole, & Brooks (2014) vividly narrate the principles of zoning in physical protection system (PPS) by stating that some of the physical zones in an enterprise or facility should utterly be declared not restricted especially during the moments of designated application (Macedo, 2007). However, within the systems approach to zoning system of physical protection, there is usually smaller controlled or restricted zone whereby the entry or access is only authorized with a valid reason but not mere desire (Hitchings, 2016). Last but more importantly, the sections lying within the restrained regions or zones of the facility most often require more control or authorizations of access (Williams, 2015). Since the role of security is managing of threats which present certain severe risks, thus according to Antwerp Diamond heist case, the protection system of the systems approach to physical security undoubtedly provides mean of detection, delay and response to any threat to security within every restricted zone (Darby et al., 2007). This should be achieved regardless of the actual context in a systems approach to the physical security.

Security in a systems approach to physical security

According to Tiako (2015), Security in a systems approach is always confused with the security in other theories of security especially security in depth. A systems approach to physical security, according to Woods-Ballard et al. ( 2013, is claimed to be a theory articulating that for any system of security to effectively control authorization or access to a facility, region, areas or perhaps a security zone, then there must be a system for detection, delaying and response (Funk, Bryant, & Heckman (2017). While the systems approach to physical security offers a substantial articulation to capture multiple and individual physical security zones within the enterprise or the facility, currently, the element is referred to as the physical protection systems (PPS) (Weis et al, 2014). Nevertheless, apart from the systems approach to physical security other contemporary approaches to security as well as proper security zoning should also acknowledge the threat exists, which most times shows up against the infrastructure of information technology immediately the physical access has been guaranteed within the security zones.

Why security decay can reduce the effectiveness of a well- designed PPS

Generally, the discipline of physical security usually suffers the deficiency of formal conceptual tools which can always be applied by the security managers, consultants, and advisers particular when trying to ensure the effectiveness of security of a well-designed physical protective system (PPS). Security decay as highlighted in the larger theory is basically concerned with a net impact which apathy has on the effectiveness of a well-designed PPS which is primarily a gross reduction. In addition, it is also commonly known that the effective security is usually provided more so when a synergy elements and functions are properly implemented (Darby et al., 2007). The conception of security decay is completely embedded and reliance on the effectiveness of any well designed PPS and thus any deterioration or decaying process in the security structure of any facility or enterprise. According to (), security risk or security decay bond to minimize, with regard to any kind of threat, by maximizing the effectiveness of any of the security layers and the vice versa is true (Weingart, 2014). This implies that the process of security decay subjects the functionality of well-designed PSS, thus reduce the effectiveness and functionality of such system (Finstein et al., 2003). However, the scenario is most common in areas where the multiple security functions are attached or connected to obtain a given layer of security.

Secondly, security decay is known as the second function of any physical protective system (PPS) as it one of the main factors or elements for slowing down of the adversary progress of the system, thus causing the reduction in the effectiveness of PPS whether properly designed. Since security decay can also be accomplished by the actions of the personnel, locks, barriers as well as activated delays, thus reducing the effectiveness of any well-designed PPS (Fischer, 2014). In addition, any design system entails criteria upon which the PPS elements would be finally evaluated before any decay process begins. This clearly indicates that security decays rapidly disintegrates the structure and components of the physical protective system, a process which ultimately compromises the effectiveness of the whole system. Besides, the process of design using effectiveness criteria usually selects procedures and elements based on the contribution each makes towards the overall effectiveness and performance of PPS and thus any reduction or decay of the security with reducing this effectiveness (Funk, Bryant, & Heckman (2017). In fact, it is important to note that the measured effectiveness determines the overall performance of physical security system and thus security decay greatly impacts negatively on the effectiveness. Security decay disintegrates and wastes away key aspects and components of any security system and thus causing the reduction of the effectiveness.


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