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Why and How to Do a New Security Risk Assessment

Posted by Eric Nauta on Nov 11, 2022

Business risks are complex and continue to evolve with no end in sight. Think of it as a journey rather than a destination. Have you done a risk assessment? If not, go create one. Don’t pass go until it’s done. If yes, have you done a review or reassessment? If not, read on.

The purpose of a risk assessment is to document strengths and weaknesses in your security and risk. The assessment is part of your safety planning process as well as ensuring you have the right security systems in place to keep your workers and business safe. It’s highly recommended that companies work with a security consultant who has experience in conducting risk assessments as well as the industry you’re in.

A security consultant is your best resource for an accurate detailed risk assessment. While working with the consultant during the risk assessment and identifying potential security solutions, ask the consultant to prioritize those solutions. You may not have the budget to do it all at once.

A risk assessment takes an inventory of all your business assets to determine what needs protecting. One of its goals is to close any security holes. It also informs decisions on what security systems you need and where they belong.

For example, if you need remote video surveillance or have security cameras but need to add monitoring, you’ll want the risk assessment to create a map of the business property and perimeter. The security consultant uses this map to determine the best places to put up security cameras.

Why You Need to Do a Risk Reassessment … Now

Every business must do a risk reassessment. How often depends on various factors. Ideally, you’d want to review it at least once a year. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, every company is due to a risk assessment — unless, of course, you just completed one.

The biggest factors affecting everyone are inflation and supply chain problems. They greatly affect operations. A tanking economy leads to an increase in crime. A Reuters article shows that crime climbs every time there’s a recession. This has happened consistently since the 1950s.

How to Do a Risk Assessment

Businesses are all different. Industries have their own requirements. However, all risk assessments have one thing in common: to verify you comply with applicable laws or fix problems. Doing so protects your employees, customers, and vendors.

Here are the five major steps for completing a risk assessment or reassessment. Preferably, you’d work with a security consultant who does the risk assessment. This isn’t for someone who doesn’t know the process. Still, it’s good to understand what’s involved in a risk assessment as you work with a security consultant who has experience in your industry.

1. Identify security risks

Typically, a risk assessment evaluates physical security risks. It does not look at health and safety risks. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of overlap and many of the recommendations that come from the assessment may reduce health and safety risks.

A risk assessment looks at who comes and goes onto the business property. Is it only employees? Customers? Delivery? Vendors? How do they enter and exit the property? Review every possibility and create processes for allowing authorized people into the business. Of course, if you’re a retail business, anyone can enter. That’s why it’s important to work with a security expert with experience in your industry.

The consultant will study crime reports to see how many and what kind of crimes occur in your neighborhood. Check out the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The system has an interactive map based on data from local police departments. The map shows the crime rate and the types of crime happening based on location.

You also want to consider the area’s weather patterns and history. This determines your risk for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and other nature-made disasters. These can affect the business because they could cause cameras and access control systems to stop working or potentially flood the property.

2. Prioritize security risks

The risk assessment may reveal many risks requiring solutions that cost more than your budget can manage. This is why you want to list the risk levels and prioritize them. The security consultant can tell you which will give you the biggest bang for your buck and close the biggest gaps.

3. Define your risk metrics

Creating risk metrics helps you prioritize and determine how well (or not) your risk mitigation strategies are working. Prioritizing looks at the likelihood of the risk occurring, and the severity of the risk has on the business. Severity takes safety, security, and business continuity into consideration.

4. Develop a mitigation plan

Now that you’ve identified and prioritized the gaps in your risk and security, the next step is to create a mitigation plan to close the gaps. The purpose of the mitigation plan is to list the steps to take to eliminate or reduce security risk.

For example, a risk assessment may find that your property is at high risk for theft, vandalism, and trespassing. A mitigation plan provides options and steps to lower this risk. This could be implementing video surveillance, adding an access control system, or improving the lighting around the property.

5. Review the risk assessment

A risk assessment document is never final. It’s a living document that requires consistent review. Risks are always changing. Next time you do a reassessment, take a look at whether you experienced any injuries or business disruptions. What were the consequences? Did it lead to new inefficiencies in operations? The answers will inform the revisions.

If the risk assessment is done incorrectly, it could hurt your business more in the long run. You may implement the wrong security solutions, which will be costly in time, money, and safety.

Security Technology That Lowers Risk

Thanks to technology advancements, there are more cost-effective security solutions that offer more protection. One that’s proactive and gives you a lot for your money is live video monitoring. Security cameras with monitoring can see more of your property than security guards can. Besides, there are areas where security guards can’t patrol. Video surveillance can watch these spaces without putting anyone’s life at risk.

Video surveillance offers greater coverage 24/7 for the fraction of the cost of hiring security guards. Unlike many traditional security technologies that are reactive, live video surveillance is proactive in helping to deter crime and damage. The key element is monitoring. Not having video analytics or trained monitoring operators turns the technology into a passive one. Passive tech often only catches problems after they happen rather than before or during.

Additionally, security cameras can give people a false sense of security if video analytics and monitoring operators don’t watch the cameras in real time. An effective video surveillance system can monitor for suspicious activity while showing people you care about their safety.

Security guards could increase liability. Video surveillance helps lower liability. This doesn’t apply to just any video security technology. It needs to be video surveillance that partners human intelligence with video analytics. This combination involves analytics taking care of the monotonous part of monitoring. It analyzes and helps catch potential problems in real time before a crime happens.

As soon as the video analytics technology uncovers a possible problem, it alerts the monitoring operator who can act on the information. This could be issuing an audible warning to the intruder and calling the police. Or it may be reaching out to the point of contact at the business.

Remote Video Surveillance Does More Than Help Prevent Crime

Video surveillance not only helps deter crime, but it could also benefit your business in other ways. Video surveillance solves many problems. The appearance of security cameras alone can cause potential trespassers to turn around and leave. Unfortunately, thieves are growing brazen and may not scare easily. For these, the monitoring operator can issue a warning over an on-site speaker without ever stepping foot on the property.

Unlike security guards, video surveillance can save and store all recordings securely for later review and analysis. This comes in handy if you have a problem days later. Law enforcement and insurance companies can use it in their investigations.

Recordings also help with cases relating to fraud and liability. If a customer claims something happened on the business property, analysts can search and review the recordings for evidence of what really happened. The recordings can help stop an expensive liability lawsuit from happening if it shows the company is not at fault.

Some companies use video recordings for training. They create short clips from video recordings of the right and wrong ways to complete tasks and interact with customers. They also use the footage to identify the best way to organize a business property to optimize traffic flow management and identify sales opportunities. It depends on your industry. Every industry can benefit in different ways.

Managers work with video surveillance companies to spot operational bottlenecks. The high-resolution camera views of the property can make it easy to identify areas for improvement. It can also help eliminate redundancy.

The video recordings can help market your business. They’re a great resource for creating short videos of your business in action. As you can see, you can get the biggest bang for your money and see a fast ROI with video surveillance. To learn more about video surveillance security technology, pick up your video monitoring guide to learn how it does more than catch criminals. If you’d like to learn more now or after reading the guide, please contact us.