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Guide to Conducting a Physical Security Assessment

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When you choose Shergroup Security as your integrated security provider, you are choosing a company with heritage and integrity.

Facilities face a range of threats, including vandalism, theft, security breaches, and even terrorism. Whether you manage hotels, offices, or retail stores, securing your building is crucial in today’s world.

While cybercrime is on the rise, it’s important not to overlook the significance of physical security. Don’t underestimate the need for protecting your business from on-site incidents and the potential risks they pose.

As a business owner, you should not wait for a major threat to take place before conducting a physical risk assessment. Instead, a risk assessment should be the foundation of your security plan. If you ignore to evaluate safety procedures in the workplace you will not lose money, but it can also bring about a massive dent in reputation, and a resulting decrease in client trust.

When you decide to improve the physical security of your building, you may have a lot of questions: What are our main threats? Where are we most at risk? What should we take care of first? Physical security risk assessments can provide answers to these issues, putting facility owners and operators on the road to improved safety and peace of mind.

What is a Physical Security Risk Assessment?

A physical security risk assessment is an evaluation of every aspect of your security system. This evaluation is conducted by a security professional that includes an inventory of the assets to be protected, as well as recommendations on how best to protect them. This is done on a micro and macro level, providing you with the information you need to make better decisions about how to run your facility. In general, a physical security risk assessment is a procedure that involves conducting a thorough audit and assessing the results, and it applies to the complete physical security system of a structure. The physical security risk assessment is appropriate for nearly any organization from schools to corporates, banks to sporting arenas, manufacturing plants, and commercial properties.

Physical Security Risk Assessment

Use these suggestions to make sure you’re doing everything right and keeping your place secure from harm.

1. Identify Risk

The first step is to understand your risks. The level of risk varies depending on the type of business and location. While all business is vulnerable to crime, the chance of crime varies, and you should adjust your security measures accordingly. A bank in a high-crime area, for example, will necessarily require more stringent security measures than one in a peaceful rural town. Both should take steps to prevent crime, but the high-crime area may choose to add mantrap systems or raise the visibility of its security employees as a preventative strategy.

Potential risks might address:

  • Rate of crime in the neighbourhood
  • Types of crime most commonly committed
  • Number of people with access to your facility
  • Number of entrances and exits to your facility
  • Lack of monitoring systems
  • Lack of personnel

2. Assess Threats and Vulnerability |

After considering a list of risks to your business, your next step is risk analysis and threat identification. Consider which hazards are more likely to materialise than others. A threat can be defined as a highly probable risk.

Then think about any hazards that your security solutions don’t address or only handle in a limited way. Your company’s vulnerabilities are risks that lie within this overlap – very likely but not appropriately addressed. However, just studying risks will not reveal which sections of your firm are vulnerable. Steps three through five are required to get an accurate picture of your company’s vulnerabilities: assess your site and facilities, operating procedures, and physical security systems.

3. Review Current Site and Facility Security |

Examine your physical site and facilities as the initial step in determining weaknesses. The nearby area or communities surrounding your business are included in a site evaluation. Facility inspections seek for flaws in your physical structures, such as buildings or other structures. Start with functionality and upkeep when assessing the security of your physical location. Any components of your business that haven’t been kept up to date could be a security risk. Open loops, such as doors that no longer lock properly, gates that don’t latch, or even issues with a bathroom window, increase your risk. Basic upkeep can go a long way toward ensuring the safety of a facility.

However, there may be other elements of your physical security that need to be addressed. Is it too simple to get in and out of your facility? Is it too simple for customers or unauthorised staff to gain access to restricted areas? Consider how you may strengthen safety processes in your physical area, such as installing security doors or safety entrances.

4. Review Facility Operating Procedures |

You should review the measures in place for your workers after evaluating the physical security of your location. Do you have greeters at the front doors or security staff strategically placed throughout your facility?

During normal business hours, most institutions maintain a high level of security, but night staff, such as cleaning staff, become laxer. Do you have any procedures in place to ensure that no one enters the building after hours? If you don’t, you could be allowing burglars free access to your property. Janitors, for example, may leave doors unlocked or propped open for the sake of convenience.

Last but not least, go over your emergency plans and processes. Do you have a plan in place in case of a robbery or a bomb threat? Is your staff prepared to deal with these kinds of situations?

5. Review Physical Security Systems |

The final element of your evaluation should focus on your security systems. Are they up and running? Are there any voids? Consider camera blind spots, doors to secure areas that are too easily accessible, or a shortage of security personnel.

Examine how comprehensive your systems are. Theft, terrorism, and internal dangers are all possible threats. Set up not only safety processes but also physical security measures that cover a variety of threat levels.

Who Needs Physical Security Risk Assessments?

The answer is simple: any public building that houses employees or people and is available to the public. No matter what services you provide as a company, you must safeguard your employees. People naturally bring domestic troubles with them. These difficulties can flow over into the workplace, resulting in violence.

In reality, targeted violence is on the rise, posing a threat to any group. It’s becoming increasingly common. We used to concentrate on government and financial institution assessments. However, more businesses are contacting us because they are concerned about both internal and external risks to their facilities. This is the first step toward boosting safety.

A move of any type can also be a sign that it’s time for an evaluation. When a company relocates from the suburbs to the city, for example. Have a security professional check over the crime records and activity patterns in the surrounding neighbourhood area, and then plan for all possible scenarios. Moving is one example, but a security evaluation is beneficial at any time.

How Are Physical Security Risk Assessments Conducted?

Each consultant or organisation will use a different technique, but most security experts use a layered or 360-degree approach, beginning at the facility’s perimeter. This includes, but is not limited to, the fence line and the neighbouring community. The expert would then evaluate the middle perimeter layer, which includes aspects such as parking areas, lighting, cameras, windows, doors, and security systems. Finally, the inner perimeter, which includes access control points, scanners, inner rooms, stairwells, and hallways, is evaluated.

Your consultant should also look into local crime statistics, local law enforcement presence, and conduct interviews with building management and key personnel:

Inquire as to what they are concerned about. People will sometimes say things like, “I’m staying late at night alone in the building” or “I’m strolling to my car in the parking structure.” When the security consultants make recommendations, they take all of this into account.

What Is the Output?

Following the completion of your evaluation, you will receive an in-depth report with an executive summary that includes observations and specific recommendations for your facility. Your consultant should also have a strategy in place to assist you in putting the ideas into action.

Finally, the security consultant may make recommendations for employee training, such as active shooter response or workplace violence prevention, as well as future follow-up.

It’s always a good idea to follow up with the security professional to ensure that the implementation is going well and that your objectives are being reached. They may need to meet with your legal counsel, HR, or facilities management to update employee protocols so that everyone is on the same page.


When considering your physical security risk assessment, it’s always best to be proactive vs. reactive when it comes to keeping people safe. Risk Assessment gives you a fair chance to cover the gaps in your security, protect yourself, your employees, and your business before something happens.

When the people who work for you feel safe, they perform better this is a great incentive for your peace of mind.  Finally, ensure that your consultant is not just qualified but also knowledgeable about the most recent security threats, weaknesses, and remedies and has appropriate solutions to secure you against them.

Shergroup provides trained professionals to assess the risk factors and make a diagnosis to eliminate, avoid or minimize the risk associated with your business. We can even assist you in making the most of your risk assessments after they have occurred. Contact us to get started.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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