That phrase has always presented problems to grammar nerds. It’s redundant at best and oxymoronic in its worst light. The point is, if an item is a gift, it is then by nature and definition…free. It has no need of further description. No one has ever opened gifts during the holidays or at a birthday party and then proceeded to hand over money in exchange for those gifts, because, well a gift is a gift. To remind hearers that it’s free is wasted words.

Andy Warhol once said (in words even more oxymoronic than his paintings), “I am deeply superficial.”  The security world has its fair share of oxymoronic descriptions and phrases. They too are deeply superficial, but one phrase above all others represents graver concerns than grammatical irritation.

“Completely secure” is perhaps the most dangerous oxymoron in the security world. It leads to complacency because the person or company thinks they have everything covered. Alarms, check. Guards, check. Security fence, check. Yet, the very next week, their property experiences a B/E. Yes, this issue can turn on being a matter of money, but often it manifests itself as a problem with ensuring systems are up to date or still relevant. Yes, a security consulting firm can devise a plan that takes your property fairly close to being “completely secure,” but that make-believe world would involve caves and underground bunkers.  The more appropriate goal is relevant security. Overwatch Security Advisors (OSA) has always taken into account cost, client goals, and appropriate responses to achieve those goals. Relevant security and complete awareness. Those are the watchwords.

If the goal is relevant security, it is fair to ask the question, what is security that is irrelevant? OSA once encountered a situation where a client had decided to take their property closer to that elusive goal of being completely secure by erecting a security fence around their complex, especially in the back of the property where it was darker and bordered a mall parking lot. The first things OSA discovered upon arrival for a site visit were rolls and rolls of fencing six feet high.  An admirable effort but totally irrelevant from a security standpoint – anyone intent on wrongdoing could climb a six-foot fence with ease.

Attempts at securing an area or property become irrelevant if they are not monitored for cost-effectiveness and mission results.  OSA once discovered that a client had paid premium fees for on-site guard service when in fact, those guards spent the majority of their time riding around in a golf cart and making runs to the local doughnut shop. How much more secure could a property be than to have live, on-site security. As it turned out, a lot more. Ever vigilant. Those are the watchwords.

Completely secure is a fantasy. 9/11 proved that. But a good security consulting firm can move your firm closer to that goal by checking current security postures to ensure their relevance and effectiveness.