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People, Places & Systems: Security in Architecture

As an Architect, owner of a Security Company and Head of Global Corporate Defence & Security Training at both Personal Safety London and Five Rings Training & Research Institute I programme the integration of security protocols, systems and practices into my clients' buildings with particular fascination as we Architects know there is no divide in well designed built environment between people, places and systems. Or at least there shouldn't be.

There are 3 main aspects to every organisations' security: People, Places and Systems. How we train our people, build our places and write our systems all weaves together to paint the landscape of our organisations' security culture and success. Integration is key.

Security once was a wrap around care of services provided by those who know to those who need them.

Security now also is the building of internal models of human behaviours, thinking and skills; the construction of carefully designed buildings which embody seamless relationships between technology and architecture (defensive architecture at best); integrated cyber systems and programmes written to serve the people, the places and the functions of the organisation's vision; ideally orchestrated together in one perfectly coordinated whole.

A unified approach to Security enables an organisations security to become a well-developed way of daily life, not an add-on, risk management or retro fit solution.

So how can Corporate Organisations achieve this?

I've talked before about the benefits of in-house Security Departments which don't just outsource but build internal teams to construct company wide elevation of security mindset and practices. However we're still seeing segregation instead of unification so here are some key points organisations can adopt. Your People, Places & Systems are key to your culture, brand and productivity. They are also your areas of key vulnerability so it pays to have a cohesive strategy for all:

1. People

Train, upskill and instil positive daily behaviours across your workforce. See previous posts and articles here for how to do that and the benefits of staff training.

2. Places

When we think about the security of places Building Risk Assessments and Surveys spring to mind, but its more than that, its about Design. When designing your organisation's buildings think of security at the outset, early on in RIBA Stage 1 and early concept design. Architecture and Security must now go hand in hand and whether you are installing cameras, ballistic materials or secure partitions, ensuring a secure site, establishing sight and movement lines or providing back up supplies your design team will thank you for providing that information or requirement early in the brief. Security thinking, secure building arrangement, detection and alarm systems and secure materials shouldn't be a third fit or retro-fit unless you are refurbishing an existing building.

Think also about the layout, materials, circulation flow, zones and lock down zones, access and egress, lines of site, and alternative escape and evacuation routes at first principles. We're not seeing enough of this at the moment, largely due to Architects who are not Security trained and Security Professionals who are not Architects so if you need help with your projects get in touch and we'll teach, advise and put in you in the right direction for best practices as well as order of works, suppliers, QA, routes for tenders and procurement.

3. Systems

Systems are not simply aspects of cyber security but how we use our people, our places and our tech. Protocols and behaviours of preparation, prevention and awareness heighten our security and reduce (but not mitigate) the need for responsive action. Prevention and detection are key.

A shift in mindset to a company universal strategy, and getting the right people on board to not just outsource supply but teach this knowledge into your organisation ensures a more informed workforce and heightened integrated prevention all round making your People, Places and Systems Security work for you.

To find out more, arrange advising and consulting, talks, training, and how to implement these strategies for both up-skilling your workforces and security in construction contact us via

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