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Physical Security Risk Assessments for Small and Medium Businesses

Lance Guillory
October 10, 2023

There's no denying the importance of digital security in the modern world. However, in the pursuit of securing our online business spaces and platforms, physical security often gets overlooked. This is where Physical Security Risk Assessments come into play, acting as a dependable tool to protect your business' tangible assets.

What exposes your assets as a small business owner?

  • Weak access control systems which allow for unauthorized entrance and exit of your physical location.
  • Unmonitored areas such as parking lots, garages, and back inventory/store rooms.
  • Outdated emergency action plans and security systems not regularly tested for flaws.

Your organization, your employees (to whom you have a duty to protect), and you, can all fall into serious danger when these elements of your physical security are weak. The good news is that by conducting a Physical Security Risk Assessment, you identify these vulnerabilities and formulate plans to minimize them. 

The Importance of Physical Security Risk Assessments for Small Businesses

For small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), these assessments are not just a good-to-have, but rather a necessity. SMBs often lack the extensive resources larger corporations have to invest in security. This leaves them more vulnerable to threats, making Physical Security Risk Assessments all the more critical to identify potential vulnerabilities, threats, and associated risks. 

Imagine this scenario: You operate a successful local business housing high-value items in your store, when a seemingly harmless individual tailgates an employee through your access-controlled entrance. Despite having your key card system in place, he is an armed intruder that initiates violence and chaos. The aftermath of the incident leaves your business reeling with substantial losses, damages, and a shaken workforce that takes months to recover. 

If a Physical Security Risk Assessment had been conducted, this vulnerability in your access control system (ID cards, key cards, front door security) could have been detected and addressed, averting such distressing incidents from unfolding in the first place.

As such, Physical Security Risk Assessments study the potential outcome of: 

  • A successful adversary attack. (Active shooter incidents, acts of workplace violence, burglary and theft, etc.)
  • The likelihood that said attack will occur.
  • How an attack on your business might unfold.
  • How you and your people will be affected.

By answering those questions, your security professional at Safe Haven can properly identify, measure, quantify, and evaluate your organization’s security vulnerabilities and risks.

Conducting a Successful Physical Security Risk Assessment

A successful Physical Security Risk Assessment consists of three fundamental steps:

  1. Identifying Threats: This involves identifying the various threats that your business may face. Threats range from loss of life due to workplace violence and active shooters to severe monetary losses from burglaries/theft and natural or man-made disasters. All of these hold significant implications for your business. We consider factors such as your business location, type of business, and existing security measures.
  1. Analyzing Threats: Once your potential threats have been identified, the next step is to analyze these threats. This involves determining the likelihood that they will occur and the potential impact they could have on your business, such as loss of reputation, assets, or even life.
  1. Developing Protective Measures: Once threats are carefully analyzed, your security professional will develop strategies to reduce the risk of their occurrence. This could involve implementing new security measures, such as access control or alarms, improving existing security features, or changing operational/emergency procedures.

Picture this alternative scenario: You operate a local small business that manufactures art supplies like paint, for customers. One day, an unnoticed chemical container in your storage area starts to leak, causing a hazardous chemical spill. Despite having some safety measures in place, the spill goes unnoticed until it's too late. The aftermath of the incident leaves your business grappling with severe damages due to loss of supplies, potential health risks to employees and customers from harmful chemicals, and costly clean-up operations. It takes you weeks to reopen your store and now you’re facing lawsuits from some of your most valued patrons. 

Had a Physical Security Risk Assessment been conducted, the hazard of improper chemical storage would have been identified. The likelihood and impact of spills would have been evaluated, leading to recommendations like improved storage, regular checks, and staff training on hazardous materials. Consequently, the spill, damages, health risks, and recovery time could have been prevented.

Safeguard Your Business With Safe Haven Risk Management

To conclude, Physical Security Risk Assessments are crucial for SMBs, acting as the first line of defense against potential security threats. By evaluating those threats, then developing appropriate protective measures, these assessments protect your organization, giving you peace of mind to focus on what you do best: running your business.

Remember that conducting an assessment is a proactive step towards safeguarding your business. If you need professional assistance, Safe Haven Risk Management offers comprehensive Physical Security Risk Assessments tailored to your unique needs. Reach out to us today to take that first step.

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