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The concept of security risk assessment
November 2012, Security Services & Risk Management

People do not understand the concept of security risk assessment.

Why did the concept of security risk assessment start?

Security risk assessments started because of the fact that security in South Africa was approached the wrong way from the start. People are still seeing security the same as people did in the 1980s, even though we have 2012 methods of crime. It creates the impression that home owners and business owners have become stagnant in the area of security.

The security risk assessment is the new way of handling security, as criminals have long ago started using technology to their advantage, whereas most home and business owners still cling to security measures and procedures of decades ago. And that is why there is so much crime in homes and businesses. Nobody wants to listen. People think their security is 100% sufficient, but when you look at the available crime-statistics, it proves the opposite.

If having a security risk assessment done is so important, why do so few people do it?

I interviewed 245 units (commercial and residential) who admitted sharing this fatalistic outlook, who confided that they did not mind the thought of being robbed. When asked how that was possible, they expressed confidence that any losses they suffered would simply be covered by insurance. Needless to say, this unacceptable attitude will eventually lead to erosion of personal and commercial wealth over the long term. Something needs to change.

As security professionals, our job is to not give up. We have to keep educating and convincing those in leadership positions; CEOs, MDs, home owners and business owners of the importance of commissioning regular security risk assessments. If a person has the right security in place, it is a life empowerment. It is difficult to change existing perceptions, but this is the challenge we need to face.

If everyone’s security is sufficient, why is there still so much crime in South Africa?

There is a difference between selling a link to armed response or selling a guard, and providing customers with a solution. Although it is good to have that armed response link or a guard, it is not where security ends, as it is only a small part of an intricate security solution. This is where the security risk assessment comes into play as it provides you with that complete security solution as we take all the relevant aspects into consideration.

Can my security service provider do a security risk assessment?

No, security companies would love to do security risk assessments, and they tell the public that they can do it, but unfortunately they cannot. The reason is that they are not independent and unaffiliated. An independent company, unaffiliated to any security service provider or supplier can be objective in their assessments, and also write an objective security plan, giving you the best solution to eliminate your security risks.

The focus is firstly to find that home or business’s security vulnerabilities, secondly to then address those risks, and thirdly to put that home or business owner in control of their security.

When should I have a security risk assessment done?

When having plans drawn up for your new home or business premises, it is advisable to first have a security risk assessment done which will allow you to incorporate those suggested measures into the plans, so then your security can be built into the structure from the start. I respect architects but they do not have any security training, so they will just draw the plans for you without ever considering your security risks.

Aside from being common practice among organisations to periodically re-assess on-site security measures, a recent security breach, a desire to reduce costs without compromising safety, or the need to evaluate the security measures offered by the organisation are all excellent reasons to authorise a professional, independent security risk assessment. The same applies when you move into a new building or just prior to moving in.

What is the purpose of having a security risk assessment?

Our goal is to put everyone back in control of their own security, hence the name of our company: Alwinco, which stands for Always In Control. You must make the choices regarding your security; you must have the necessary information regarding your security system, and based on that information make decisions.

A security risk assessment also brings the whole family together under a ‘security umbrella’. Each family member must know what to do and what is expected of them when a perpetrator enters the property. As part of a security risk assessment, this is what we call ‘awareness training’, during which we tell you certain things that each family member must be aware of, and make you attend to certain things that must become a habit etc. This is important because each member of the family’s focus on security must be in line with each other in the event of danger.

How often must I have a security risk assessment done?

It is important that you read that security risk assessment every three to six months to ensure that you have addressed all the risks that were identified and stay with security plan. When your assessment is older than two years, you need to have another one done, to ensure that your security is up-to-date and sufficient to protect you against crime, because you must always keep in mind that crime and crime tactics evolve.

A security risk assessment also gives you information on the current status of your security and based on that information you will know whether to improve your security or not.

For more information contact Alwinco, +27 (0)71 319 4735, aviljoen@alwinco.co.za, www.alwinco.co.za


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Further reading:

  • Awareness and trust in context
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    With the common denominator of IP networks as their backbone, building automation, security and, in particular, access control systems are increasingly providing opportunities to both security integrators and building managers.
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