Keeping CFATS Costs Under Control

March 24, 2011

One of the things I get asked most often is how much it will cost for a facility to meet the CFATS mandates and how those costs can be kept down. It's an important question for facilities trying to get CFATS authorization and become more secure while at the same time keeping an eye on costs and profitability.

One of the things I get asked most often is how much it will cost for a facility to meet the CFATS mandates and how those costs can be kept down. It's an important question for facilities trying to get CFATS authorization and become more secure while at the same time keeping an eye on costs and profitability.


Protection Strategy
Advanced planning is really the key to getting the most out of your technology investment. Facilities need to first develop a protection strategy. Management needs to look at what is/are the asset(s) that need to be protected. In some cases, the asset is the facility itself and the physical security costs may be greater because you have to protect the facility to the lowest CFATS tier identified in the facility's Final Tier Notification Letter. This usually involves securing a larger area or perimeter which ups the costs. But, the entire facility is not always the asset. Depending on the type, quantity and location of Chemicals of Interest (COI) some facilities will have individual assets to protect within the site's operating boundaries. This asset-based approach shrinks the perimeter, targeting the specific assets which can lower the cost and save money. In one scenario, where the facility is the asset you may have to secure acres of perimeter to Tier 1 standards. In an asset-based example there may just be two or three buildings in the entire facility that have to be secured.


Cost - Capital vs. Operating
Another thing that can affect the cost of meeting the CFATS mandates is the type of costs you incur. One time purchases of equipment or services are less costly than ongoing or reoccurring expenditures. So, your equipment purchase, installation and infrastructure costs along with one-time project commission costs can be less expensive than meeting Risked-Based Performance Standard (RBPS 10) which entails ongoing monitoring and maintenance. Third-party monitoring or guard services would also fall under reoccurring expenditures. You need to prepare for ongoing cost and budget for them. Determine which costs are best handled in house and where it is more cost effective to outsource. Remotely monitored video may work well for certain sites including those that do not have a security command or control center onsite or sites that are not manned 24/7. It may also work well for remote facilities that need monitoring.


Other Cost Considerations
There are a number of other things that factor into the costs for CFATS. Facilities need to plan for delays and other project surprises along the way. Also, I believe in the importance of value engineering. It is an essential part of getting the most out of your security technology dollars in the CFATS process.


You might want to listen in on a recent Webinar we just had where I went into a little more detail about costs for CFATS. Also if you have any questions, feel free to ask me here.

 

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