How To Conduct A Security Risk Assessment For Your Business
Throughout the history of business, there has never been a time when security just wasn’t a concern. From the simplicity of early cash registers and bells on shop doors to the sophistication of modern commercial security systems, entire industries have sprung up around the need for business owners to protect what’s rightfully theirs.
However, the rather frustrating truth is that every advancement in commercial security triggers an equal and opposite response from bad actors. Door locks inspired lockpicking tools and techniques, cybersecurity software inspired social engineering attacks like phishing, and you can guarantee that any other security measure you employ has inspired attempts at workarounds from criminal minds.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that your security measures are in vain. On the contrary, it demonstrates just how well they work, so long as you include regular reviews and upgrades in your business strategy. Central to this is the regular orchestration of security risk assessments.
What is a security risk assessment?
It is a process designed to identify your business assets, review your existing security system, and analyse the data found, with the purpose of identifying threats and vulnerabilities. A security risk assessment can be focused on your physical security, cybersecurity, or (ideally) both, and the final step should be the creation of a strategy that addresses all risks and weaknesses identified.
With the basics covered, let’s walk through everything you need to know about conducting a security risk assessment for your business.
Identifying your assets and priorities
This step is all about clearly defining what needs protecting. Though it may seem obvious, once you’ve delved into the details, you may discover that there are key assets you just haven’t been protecting. For example, if you have remote workers, you may find that the level of cybersecurity and physical security employed at their home office is nowhere near as robust as what you have in place at your business premises.
Taking the time to identify your assets and define your priorities will lay the groundwork for a security risk assessment that genuinely works to improve the protections you have in place. Keep in mind that this includes both physical assets (like hardware, stock, and equipment) and intangible assets (like sensitive data and files).
Reviewing your existing security system
Though it can help to have expert guidance when identifying your assets and priorities, when it comes to reviewing your existing security system, engaging the help of a security professional is essential. In general, you need to be asking yourself questions like:
- How easy would it be for someone to gain physical access to your property or network?
- What security measures do you have in place at the entry points of your building/s?
- Do you keep accurate visitor logs (and with what kind of system)?
- Do you have security cameras covering all the essential locations?
- Are you using biometric security to protect your most valuable assets?
- Is security at the same standard across all your locations (including home offices)?
- Do you have 24/7 alarm monitoring, or are there gaps in your coverage?
This is not an exhaustive list, but it does give you an idea of the approach you need to be taking when reviewing your current commercial security system. You’ll need to take a similar approach to assessing your cybersecurity.
Identifying security weaknesses and threats
When performing the security audit described above, a skilled security technician will be able to identify any problematic gaps and weaknesses. However, this isn’t the end of the threat assessment. In both the physical security and cybersecurity worlds, penetration testing methods are applied to further probe the protective measures a business has in place.
In each field, specialised tools and techniques are applied to thoroughly test the limits of your security system and identify all blind spots, weaknesses, and threats. As a business owner or senior manager, this is the security version of getting to have your cake and eat it too – usually, to gain the lessons learned from having someone dedicate themselves to busting through your security, you’d have to deal with the devastating fallout of having been robbed or hacked. With a skilled technician doing it, you get to learn your lessons the easy way.
Creating a strategy to address the security risks identified
Once your system has been thoroughly tested and the results analysed, your security technician should provide you with a comprehensive report detailing the risks identified and the ideal approach for addressing them. Here, those priorities you identified in the first step will come into play again, helping you set your strategy going forward.
For example, if one of your business priorities is to transition from outsourced logistics to operating your own warehouse, then your strategy will need to cover both physical security and cybersecurity measures for the new warehouse and its systems. You’ll likely also need to include training in your plan to ensure that your employees have the requisite knowledge to back up the systems you’re putting in place.
If you think you may be overdue for a security risk assessment, contact BPoint Security for professional advice from one of our expert technicians. Security is their favourite topic of conversation, and they’d be happy to help you develop a clear strategy.