How Businesses can Prepare for the Worst - Even a Zombie Apocalypse!
By: Nik Williams, MD at information management company Shredall SDS Group
Businesses of all shapes and sizes face adversity, whether it’s securing investment, employing highly skilled staff or navigating competitive industries. While working in different sectors can also bring additional challenges, one thing that all SMEs can agree on is that having secure premises is a business priority. However, physical security, which comprises everything that would stop unwanted visitors from getting their hands on your company’s equipment or private information, is increasingly being neglected in favour of cybersecurity measures. This is clearly a very important security measure, given that UK businesses are attacked online every 2.5 minutes; nevertheless, defending your business from break-ins and thefts should always be a consideration, even for small businesses, because of the potentially disastrous consequences of losing sensitive information kept on paper, hard drives and computers.
At Shredall SDS Group we have a range of measures to protect our facilities and client data - and this got us thinking, what would happen in the event of a zombie attack? It’s something that we’ve all imagined - whether it could actually happen is another matter! While we are unlikely to ever experience the reality of an outbreak of the undead, preparing for the worst has always been a valuable business exercise - and so we decided it would be interesting to look into which locations would be the most secure during a fully-fledged assault by the walking dead. With such tight security measures in place, these sites should serve as inspiration for any business looking to prevent anyone - living or dead - from getting in. Here are the three sites in the world that would give people inside the best chances of surviving an attack by hordes of the undead.
The Pentagon, US
As the home of the USA’s Department of Defence, the Pentagon is where some of the country’s most secretive plans are drawn up. It is therefore imperative that it remains secure in the event of any form of attack and is already ahead of the curve when it comes to preparing for zombies having had a plan in place since 2011!
Known as CONPLAN 8888-11, the strategy aims to provide a contingency plan in the event of attack by an outbreak of flesh-eating undead. It includes ideas of how to deal with vegetarian zombies (think graaaainsss rather than braaaiiinnnss) and alien zombies brought to Earth by an extraterrestrial life form.
While this plan was written as a training exercise for young recruits, the military’s motto of ‘always be prepared’ is certainly not lost on those working at the Pentagon. It is one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the world, with measures in place to guard against chemical and nuclear attacks. Armed guards are present around every corner and security cameras are installed throughout the complex, ensuring anyone trying to get in - living or dead - is kept under watch.
Bahnhof Underground Data Centre, Stockholm, Sweden
This underground facility is a world leader in physical security. Known as the Bahnhof Underground Data Centre, this state-of-the-art facility situated 100 ft underground inside a Swedish bunker was built to prepare for Cold War nuclear annihilation. While this fortunately never occurred, it’s physical defences would be just as effective in a zombie apocalypse, or even simply an attempted physical breach.
For example, the building can only be accessed in one way- a tunnel which leads to a 16-inch thick armoured door which is effectively impenetrable. Not only would zombies hordes be kept at bay by its thorough defences, anyone trying to steal valuable equipment or information would also be out of luck.
Secondly, the data centre would allow anyone inside to communicate with the outside world at ease, potentially negotiating a rescue or for resources to be brought in. The site is kept cool by a cooling system powered by the chilly mountain air and local water systems, meaning the servers could be maintained and utilised for many years.
Both of these measures are applicable to a range of industries. Investing in suitable defences is best practice, whether it’s fencing, gates or locks. Likewise, having a plan B if systems go down is always a good idea. Looking into servers and backup generators will help your business keep its most valuable information safe in the event of foul-play.
Svalbard seed vault, Norway
One of the stranger locations on the list, the Svalbard seed vault is located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago. Although not as heavily defended as other buildings, its remoteness gives it an advantage over other sites affected by hordes of the undead.
Located about 1,300 kilometres from the North Pole, it would be extremely difficult to reach on foot. Moreover, the extremely cold weather would slow down any zombie trying to reach it, giving you enough time to escape if need be (unless they’re white walkers, in which case your chances would be slim).
The Svalbard seed vault also has the advantage of having been designed with the worst case scenario in mind. Scientists from around the world have sent a range of crop seeds that would enable the planet to reboot in the event of a global disaster. With over 930,000 samples of different seeds and the right equipment, anyone inside could grow the necessary crops to survive a zombie apocalypse. The added bonus is that if the cooling system fails, the seeds could still remain viable for hundreds of years, allowing anyone inside to repopulate the Earth and eventually fight back.
How would your business fare in the event of a zombie attack?
We asked a number of UK businesses about what physical security measures they have that would keep them safe in a zombie apocalypse. Here’s what they said:
Jack Robson, Partnership Executive at Last Night of Freedom
“Our security protocol in the event of a Zombie Outbreak is something we take VERY seriously here at Last Night of Freedom. We have a precisely coordinated plan which is ready to go once the inevitable outbreak does happen and we have to act quickly.
Our office layout is our greatest strength as we only have two entry points (not including fire exits) which are our main entrance and warehouse door. We also have roller shutters on our windows and cameras positions both internally and externally. As for protection, we have a warehouse full of willy-shaped products which can be doubled up as blunt force weapons.
We dare any horde of the undead to try and get us.”
Nicholas Harding, CEO at Lending Works
The physical security of our systems is something we place enormous value on at Lending Works, and there were some essential boxes to tick when choosing our present location. In this regard, we’ve planned for every eventuality and worst-case scenario – even a zombie apocalypse! Imagine a world where civilisation and the human race are under threat from these evil reincarnations, and pockets of survivors are desperately seeking a place to hide. Well, look no further than 60 Gray’s Inn Road.
Good luck to these zombie folks if they try to get through the building’s robust, double front doors, which are equipped with state-of-the-art fingerprint technology. Even if they do manage that, let’s hope for their sake that they have the intelligence to cobble together the right key fob to get through the second entrance to the building (assuming Security hasn’t sent them on their way already). And even if they do manage this seemingly-impossible feat, well, next in wait is the protection afforded to the Lending Works office itself – better known as Fort Knox. Unless they’ve made friends with a locksmith, they won’t be getting through our front door (which is always locked when unoccupied) in a hurry, and they’ll need good medical insurance if they try and barge through our reinforced windows. So we suggest you make yourself comfortable in our office alongside our safe-as-houses IT systems, put the kettle on, and wait for all that zombie kerfuffle to run its course.
Michael Barker, Chief Brand Officer at Garment Quarter
First things first, you think we’re getting caught out like that? Get real. Grow up. At the first hint of zombies, the faintest whiff of the apocalypse, it’s computers off at the wall, lights out, straight to the Outer Hebrides. See ya later.
For the sake of this, let’s say that somehow we get caught out. Here’s how it’s going to go down. Food-wise, we’re not in the strongest position. I’ve just checked the fridge and we’ve got half a tub of Greek yogurt and 5 Heineken’s in there. Absolutely no non-perishable goods. Not a borlotti bean between us. So on that front, I guess we’re catching stray pigeons in a net and hoping that they aren’t infected with the deadly zombie virus. A real roll of the dice.
I’ll tell you what we have got though. Moxie. Reams of the stuff. An embarrassment of moxie. And thousands of luxury designer garments and accessories at great prices. And passcodes. Incredibly secure passcodes. Just this morning we tried to get into the office, couldn’t get the doors open. Too secure for their own good. An actual locksmith had to be called. So unless the zombies who make their way to our office doors were cobblers or carpenters before they got large chunks of their flesh eaten and turned feral, we should be alright.
Tom Craig, Owner of Impression Digital
While a zombie apocalypse is, it’s fair to say, pretty unlikely, we do believe safety is an important consideration for all businesses and have ourselves invested in training and equipment to keep our colleagues safe. For example, a number of our colleagues are first aid trained, fire safety trained and our building has been assessed against risks to ensure it's as safe as possible.
Sharing out responsibility for our business’ physical security measures has been really beneficial. We're fortunate to have a team of colleagues who all want to progress and thrive, so we provide a lot of opportunities for training and things like first aid and fire safety were really popular. Plus, it never hurts to have staff with first aid training during a zombie apocalypse!
Seb Burchell, Outreach and PR Manager at Assured Pharmacy
“When the Winchester is not at hand, where will be safe....At my 5th story office in Wilsmlow, Cheshire you have to have a fob to get in the building - if the zombies develop some sort of Oceans Eleven style of intelligence then a concierge is at hand to fend them over...Alan's stacked so that should give us some time. Thankfully multiple CCTV cameras are present which should give us some insight in tracking their movements. When it comes to quick escape routes if they break through two heavy duty doors, the office is parallel to a car park a few metres jump down through 5 spacious windows. Alternatively, we could give them the slip and scale down a relatively unused fire escape and wait for all of this to blow over…”