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How security assessments can help mitigate complex threats

By David C. Burroughs, vice president of Lemire LLC

In the aftermath of 9/11, property owners throughout New York City smartly invested millions to secure their tenants and facilities against terror threats. But a lot has changed in the ensuing 15 years and some of that security infrastructure is no longer adequate or complete.

Ask law enforcement agents today what sort of potential threat keeps them up at night and they’re likely to describe a lone wolf scenario – an active shooter trying to inflict maximum casualties in a short period of time.

It’s a sad reality we have seen play out in city after city across the country and around the world. But how well do current security protocols address this new and specific type of threat?

For individual companies, building owners and property managers in New York City, the possibility of an active shooter is a nightmare, but it represents just one among many ever evolving challenges to protecting the people and assets that occupy their spaces. Consider also other acts of workplace violence, cyber attacks, data breeches, corporate espionage (the list goes on) – all complicated by rapidly changing technology – the difficulties of maintaining secure facilities in today’s world can be daunting.

There are, however, proven models of keeping people and places safe even in today’s complex environment that can be designed and implemented through holistic security assessments specifically tailored to your company and your property. Here’s how these types of assessments work and why they are beneficial.

Typically, an assessment will begin with a complete review of your existing security apparatus followed by a needs assessment tailored to your facilities and assets.

Professionals then conduct a gap analysis to identify where the vulnerabilities lie in your physical security, electronic infrastructure, protocols, internal controls and more.

Once all the gaps are identified, improvements should be implemented and tested on a regular basis to make sure they are working properly.

Obvious examples are closed circuit cameras. How old are the cameras (analog or digital); are they all working; and are they positioned effectively?

Higher on the spectrum of concerns are security personnel, do you routinely conduct penetration testing to keep them on their toes; are they rotated with enough frequency; and are they stationed correctly?

Even more complex is whether your data is secure from a physical or cyber breach. A thorough top-to-bottom security assessment will account for these questions and many more.

Perhaps most important, any thoughtful security review should include the ability to adapt to future threats that may be unforeseen today, requiring that regular testing should be built into your program.

That means making sure there are processes in place to identify new risks and having the ability to push that information to staff and retrain for new protocols.

No matter what your level of risk, regular and ongoing security assessments form the basic measure of any effective security apparatus.

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