One thing that my experience in the military and later working government contracts taught me was that the best security plans are those using a “Defense in Depth” approach.  Simply put, “Defense in Depth” is an approach where the final security and protection of the items of value are not left to just one thing.  In the IT world we call a single layer of protection the “Keys to the kingdom”.  When it comes to your home and your valuables, you do not want to give would be thieves the keys to your kingdom.

I am sure you have seen many examples of the Defense in Depth approach in our everyday world.  Take a cash handling bank for example, the building doors are locked and the doors and windows are alarmed. Some have motion detector in certain sections of the building leading to the safe.  Speaking of safes, an often time the safe is also encased within an alarmed cell, and the safe itself is alarmed as well.  Any would be thief would need to get past each one of those ever increasingly more difficult obstacles in order access the vault.

As a home owner, we can obtain a number of those things in our own home as well, however the cost of high quality security that is not easily defeated in a common burglary if often price prohibitive for the average home owner.  Fortunately a home owner does have one advantage over a cash handling bank.  In the case of cash handling banks everyone is aware that there is a vault present.  However, with common home owners, that may not always be the case.  This obscurity of certainty about high dollar valuables in a home can be leveraged as an additional layer of protection in the “Defense in Depth” approach for a home owner.

Obscurity has a number of different meanings.  The first and most effective is that no one needs to know your business.  Let me place it into an example that may make it clear.  Let us suppose that I somehow ended up with say a Million dollars in cash, something no one would expect that I could possibly have.  Now I went further and hide this money is some secret location with my home.  A location that would not be easy to accidentally discover.  In the first example, I never tell anyone about the money.  So if I am a victim of a burglary, it is unlikely, but not impossible, that the thief’s would never discover the money.  Now suppose that I won the lottery and took home a million dollar cash payout.  Additionally a local newspaper gets wind of the story and so it becomes common knowledge that it is possible or even likely that I may have a great deal of cash at the house.  Just like the bank, I have now lost my obscurity.  This is often the situation home owners of high value homes find themselves in.  Since folks expect to find cash at the house, a burglar is going to keep on looking until they find it.

Fortunately obscurity can work at different levels.  One of my favorite’s points of obscurity is misdirection.  Consider the second scenario above; imagine if the burglar, having knowledge of the possibility of cash in your home was to find a smaller, cheaper, “Decoy” safe.  In this example we leave a hidden but easy to locate “shelf” safe, that the size and weight lends itself to be easily carried.  In fact you ensure you leave some cash, about a few hundred dollars in the safe.  If they are sensible, the burglar will carry the safe off and open it in at a later time.  The few hundred dollars will convince them of their disappointingly small success.

The next aspect of security through obscurity is location and existence of the actual real physical security, the real safe.   I go into this into detail on my website which can be accessed by the link below.  I cannot stress enough the importance of not discussing your business with anyone who does not need to know, this includes family.