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When a business decides it needs security measures there is usually an apparent risk which is the catalyst to start a security plan. It doesn’t always need to be a sinister event that kicks off a security risk assessment. In our experience, good companies, following business standards in their industry, will be addressing risk as part of their ongoing compliance. They are anticipating the risk rather than just responding to a threat.
We encourage business owners to approach the implementation of security measures, whether it be full-time guards, or the installation of CCTV, in the same way. What risks are there to your business and how can you reduce, or even eliminate those risks from turning into a negative experience.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for security solutions, should include a risk assessment of a new site, as well as an ongoing review of security arrangements. The tasking of updating and reviewing security measures can be outsourced to a security integrator with more than one solution. We say this, as it can be very easy to be fixed on providing security patrols when in fact the installation of 24-hour CCTV could do just as good a job of maintaining a security presence and recording events.
Buyers of security services should also see this activity as part of their task list in developing a plan to appoint a private security vendor. Security can be a huge chunk of any business budget so when it comes to “sharpening the pencil” on these costs, it’s vital to use all the tech and systems available to get a proportionate outcome at a sensible price.
Too many times we have been to a site where a previous vendor has pitched a guarding rate which is overkill, has failed to look at cameras and access controls, and hasn’t even prepared a risk assessment. The customer has been clutching at straws to get the right security solution, which is based on experience but is not based on the risks for that site.
In Florida, we have seen a number of instances where customers are buying armed security for a site that doesn’t need this type of guarding. Armed security rates are more expensive than unarmed, and so the customer is far too much to protect a site which doesn’t need it. Even putting armed security on to a site needs careful analysis. The presence of weapons heightens the risk in certain areas. So careful evaluation is needed of what is the risk and how can this be managed to maintain security, save a life, and protect assets. Armed security is a very heavy and expense response on many occasions.
Risks that may increase the need for security include the history of the site, the actual location where the site is located, and the future use of the site. For example, in London, we are often moving protestor/trespassers on from sites which are due for development. We can anticipate the protest coming up and take steps to secure the site BEFORE the protestors arrived. Cutting down trees and maintaining security teams on vulnerable sites is a way of staving off a much more expensive eviction operation.
Your broker may also have advice on what sort of security controls can help reduce the cost of premiums.
The aim of the risk assessment exercise is to understand YOUR organization’s risk profile BEFORE you approach a security vendor. Defining your particular requirements and the objectives helps ensure you are not oversold or undersold the security service you need.
Defining those requirements needs careful management and ideally should be a cross-functional team task. If your organization has a number of sites and buildings needing coverage, then each site or particular building should have its own “mini risk assessment”.
To get started on thinking and planning for assessing risk here are a few tips |
When starting the exercise, start with a compliance questionnaire in front of you. If you don’t have one to fall back on start with the blank sheet of paper especially if you have just had an intrusion or incident and it has made you sit up and think about how you want to stop that event from happening again.
Walk the building or site. Checkpoints of access and egress. Check obvious risks such as elevators, escalators, fire precautions, hazardous materials and other risks such as the location of electrical cabinets, data rooms, fire hydrants and particular in Florida – deep water.
Develop a site map – easy to do using Google and start and to visualize where risks have happened or COULD happen.
Capture all the controls you do have in place including access controls, cameras, fire extinguishers, alarm buttons, guard stations and your current post orders – and use your experience and knowledge to see how you would like to improve the systems you already have in place.
From these 5 steps, you will create a blueprint of your risk assessment. If you can get the text into a spreadsheet, or table then you have a checklist. From this document, you can look at creating the specification for your integrated security plan.
Unfortunately, we see too many prospective customers telling us that the “incumbent” is not doing a good job and they want to replace them with us to do the same job. Our response is to help our people change the way they look at security to ensure they have all their bases covered. The risk assessment process becomes a logical way to take the right steps forward.
At the end of the day, the security service in any organization should be an integral part of the successful operation of the business. We encourage our customers to take a risk assessment before launching into the type of guards needed. This helps customers achieve a logical and cost-effective security plan, along with a consistent and improving picture of security for future development.
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Last updated | 19 July 2023
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