Security System, any of various means or devices designed to guard persons and property against a broad range of hazards, including crime, fire, accidents, espionage, sabotage, subversion, and attack.
Most Security System emphasize certain hazards. The principal security concerns are shoplifting and employee dishonesty. A typical set of categories to be protected includes the personal safety of people in the organization, such as employees, customers, or residents; tangible property, such as the plant, equipment, finished products, cash, and securities, such as highly classified national-security information or “proprietary” information (e.g., trade secrets) of private organizations. An important distinction between a security and protection system and public services such as police and fire departments is that the former employs means that emphasize passive and preventive measures.
Security systems are found in a wide variety of organizations, ranging from government agencies and industrial plants to apartment buildings and schools. Sufficiently large organizations may have their own proprietary security systems or may purchase security services by contract from specialized security organizations.
The origins of security systems are obscure, but techniques for protecting the household, such as the use of locks and barred windows, are very ancient. As civilizations developed, the distinction between passive and active security was recognized, and responsibility for active security measures was vested in police and fire-fighting agencies.
By the mid-19th century, private organizations such as those of Philip Sorensen in Sweden and Allan Pinkerton in the United States had also begun to build efficient large-scale security services. Pinkerton’s organization offered intelligence, counterintelligence, internal security, investigative, and law enforcement services to private business and government. Until the advent of collective...