Doug Bedell — July 9, 2007, 9:47 am

Watch Those Checklists

Municipal water systems – and other sensitive public facilities, including schools and sports arenas – are being advised to make vulnerability assessments with a security specialist on hand – not simply to use a self-assessment checklist.

There are a number of such checklists available. But managers can miss key insights by using them on their own. Nothing beats having a detective on hand (so to speak) as you go down a security list.

Frank Pisciotta, CSC, an independent security consultant, writes about the hazards of checklists on SecurityInfoWatch’s Utilities & Public Works blog.

One water system checked off “key control and accountability policy” on a such a list, then was dismayed to have a consultant point out it was “using low-grade keys with the potential for unauthorized duplicates to be made at any local hardware store” and “had no tracking or accountability system to be assured of how many keys were in circulation or whether the location of all assigned keys was known…”

Vulnerability checklists can be helpful in raising awareness, but are flawed Pisciotta feels, in not being specific to given facilities or locales. In security, specifics of locality, facility and solutions can make all the difference. Pisciotta’s piece highlights the need for professional security guidance in protecting public facilities. PRO Barrier Engineering provides such consultations for perimeter security, including vehicle access control.

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