Consider the consequences of not doing a threat and vulnerability analysis before establishing security standards

By Mike Fitzpatrick and Ken Goldstein, Ph.D.

It's February already and precious few of our New Year's resolutions lived to see Groundhog Day. In fact, we could have saved a lot of time and effort by simply recycling our resolutions from 2002—including the one about taking our cleanroom security seriously.

The terrible events of September 11, 2001, seem to have faded from our minds. Sure, we sent our environmental health and safety (EH&S) person off to a security seminar early last year, but all we gained were some ideas on developing a “threat and vulnerability analysis.” To do this properly, we would need to hire an outside consultant and spend a bunch of money. Try explaining that cost to the guys in the front office.

Well, the bottom line is that the EH&S person got caught in last July's “reassignment to home” and nobody knows where all the seminar materials are.

While most cleanroom owners fully realize the need to upgrade security, a threat and vulnerability assessment is, in fact, required to truly understand security requirements. Yes, you can attempt to perform this assessment in-house, but in view of the consequences of failure, it might be best to hire an outside consultant.

Pending the results of a comprehensive threat and vulnerability assessment, here are some of the obvious improvements that will enhance the security of your facility.

Policies and Procedures: Reviewing and revising current policies and procedures is a good place to start. This is the least expensive way to improve security and is the quickest to implement.

Employee Training: Employee security awareness is a crucial element of any security plan and will significantly increase the effectiveness of your security force. Employee security training can be combined with safety training for both new and existing employees. Provide additional training for maintenance staff and custodians who have daily routines that take them to most areas of your facility. These individuals will notice changes and report anything suspicious back to security by radio.

Ensure that all employees have a badge and an assigned area. Employees should challenge strangers in their areas. Comprehensive background searches are beneficial.

Plant Security: The effectiveness of a plant security force can always be improved with additional training and resources. Backup response from local law enforcement is vital. Develop mutual support plans early and don't wait until an incident occurs to meet your local fire and law enforcement officials. Make routine inquiries of threats in your area and industry from your local and national law enforcement. Don't be caught unprepared. Have a plan in place and update existing emergency response plans with local authorities and fire departments.

Physical Barriers: Physical barriers are one of the most effective countermeasures. These passive countermeasures, if properly selected, can be an architectural enhancement to your facility. Install planters or dividers at entrances to force vehicles in a safe direction. Simple jogs in a drive can prevent a vehicle from obtaining ample speed to crash through a building or a storage vessel. A chain link fence will keep out the ordinary intruder; however, it will not stop a vehicle loaded with explosives. Consider integrating a snare cable interwoven with your fence and securely anchored at multiple points. Locate your most valuable assets near the center of your site to increase the amount of barrier an aggressor must compromise.

Bulk Gases: Gas storage tanks are often stored a fair distance from buildings and are frequently located adjacent to perimeter fences. The possibility of individuals tampering with bulk gas storage is a threat, and relocation or installation of barriers may be a consideration.

Chemical Storage: Consider the quantities of chemicals stored, security of storage, access, distance from the perimeter as well as how the chemical may be used as a weapon either by itself or by mixing with other chemicals. Relocate chemical off-loading to a secure location. Avoid non-company-owned trucks inside your plant and train chemical receivers to alert you of any suspicious drivers or deliveries. Require “call-ahead” verification before accepting deliveries.

Outside Air Intakes: These are easily accessible from public areas such as visitor parking lots. If they are not in a remote location, such as a roof, perimeter barriers and/or surveillance may be required. Simply detecting motion around the air intake can help. An analysis of your plant's HVAC system is strongly recommended to reduce the risk of dispersing biological and chemical agents throughout the facility.

Surveillance and Access Control: Electronic access control, closed circuit television (CCTV) assessment and intrusion detection can be very cost effective. Although badge readers are still the most common method used to control access, biometric systems are becoming more affordable. Typically, biometrics scanners will be reserved for the most secure areas.

CCTV assessment can be used to monitor safety as well as security. Video motion detection is cost effective for many applications, while the new intelligent peripheral (IP)-based video systems enable easy transport of video signals from remote facilities to a central command center. This ability to assess most alarms by video will significantly leverage what a single officer can manage.

Perimeter intrusion detection can provide the maximum response time prior to an aggressor reaching an asset. Consider installing multiple layers of perimeter detection. Interior intrusion detection provides the final layer of detection.

A threat and vulnerability analysis will identify these and other areas of potential risk and allow for a planned and structured response to mitigate your vulnerabilities. Don't even think about putting it off until next January—you might be too late. lll

Michael A. Fitzpatrick is program director of microelectronics for Lockwood Greene. A senior member of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST), he is chairman for WG012 (Considerations in Cleanroom Design) and WG028 (Minienvironments). He can be reached at mfitzpatrick@lg.com. Ken Goldstein is principal of Cleanroom Consultants Inc. in Phoenix, Ariz., and is a member of the CleanRooms Editorial Advisory Board. He can be reached at Drkgzone@aol.com.

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