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What Is a Security Risk Assessment?

What Is a Security Risk Assessment?
What Is a Security Risk Assessment?

Security risk assessments follow a similar process to conducting a fire risk assessment for your building or business – but focus on every aspect of your security, from locks to alarm systems, CCTV surveillance to access controls.

The primary goal of a security risk assessment is to assess how well your security provisions meet your expectations and to identify areas where you may have gaps in your defences or vulnerabilities that you may not have been aware of.

As a regular part of maintaining a robust level of security, a risk assessment is essential to appraise whether controls remain effective and proportionate and to demonstrate your commitment to outstanding security standards, which can, in turn, affect your risk profile and insurance coverage premiums.

What Happens During a Security Risk Assessment?

The process will differ for every organisation, depending on the size of the business or property, the proximity of public access land or entry points, and the complexity of your risks and business-critical threats. For example, a security risk assessment for an airport or research facility working on highly sensitive projects will differ considerably from that of a small office.

Professional security consultants often start by compiling a log of all the security assets currently in place. This audit means they have clarity about what controls you already have and can then measure how appropriate they are to mitigate the risks present.

As an overview, the end-to-end assessment will normally work through these steps:

  • Auditing security assets and risks – a surveyor or consultant will gain a firm idea of your security infrastructure and site, covering physical, external and internal security risks alongside environmental hazards such as potential fire, gas or flooding safety risks.
  • Risk measurement – some minor risks are inevitable and would be inordinately costly to prevent. The measurement process looks at the potential severity of a threat and its likelihood, allowing your risk assessor to assign a priority rating or value that dictates the level of protection necessary.
  • Evaluating controls – they will then look at how the tech, guarding or surveillance you have in place removes or reduces those risks and how well it lowers the possible outcomes and cost of an incident while making it less likely.
  • Risk control recommendations – the final step is formulating a risk management or risk mitigation plan, which suggests the right controls you need, in which parts of your premise or business, and why.

Although there may not be a mandatory requirement to comply with every recommendation, many will be essential to reducing your organisational risk profile and, in some cases, to comply with sector-specific or regulatory rules.

Once you have implemented the right tools, assets, policies and processes to remove or reduce high-risk threats, you should revisit your security risk assessment periodically or whenever a circumstance or setting changes that may have affected the original outcomes.

Why Do Businesses Need to Have Repeat Security Risk Assessments?

Like any risk assessment, your security appraisal considers only the threats, hazards and safeguards you have in place at that point in time. These can change dramatically in a short period of time if anything changes, such as:

  • Expanding your workforce
  • Anticipating greater visitor footfall
  • Introducing a new product or service
  • Acquiring a new or additional premise or storage bay
  • Purchasing new assets, vehicles or equipment

Businesses generally grow over time, which necessitates an updated security risk assessment since the risk profile of the company will also change with it – meaning that the controls in place, the financial implications of a threat occurring, and the impacts on business viability will equally evolve.

Do I Need to Organise a Security Risk Assessment for My Premises or Organisation?

Security risk assessments are commissioned for a wide variety of reasons. As always, the goal should be preventative and proactive security rather than responding to a break-in, theft or other incident. However, business and property owners also commonly recognise the value of a security risk assessment to prevent further attacks.

While the Clearway security team would advise any business owner or property manager to carry out regular security risk assessments at least once a year, there are a few circumstances where we would suggest this should be a priority:

  • Increasing threats: that could be because a new road or entrance route has been constructed, there has been a higher number of break-ins within your local area, or you have invested in new high-value equipment.
  • Operational changes: any adjustments to how you verify visitors or allow access to your site or property can impact your security.
  • Preventing future incidents: if your business has been the target of theft, vandalism or other criminal activity, you may need to revisit your security approach and ensure you are fully protected from repeat occurrences.
  • Responding to alerts: should your CCTV network, alarm systems or security guards raise the alarm or flag a concern, you may need to respond promptly to identify the underlying nature of the threat and reinforce your security protection.

It may also be wise to schedule a security risk assessment following any relocation or expansion to your facilities, when a year or more has passed since your last review, or if you are unsure whether your security controls remain suitable.

Some businesses must also provide a copy of an independent security risk appraisal when renewing or extending their commercial insurance coverage or when applying for renewals of quality or safety accreditation standards.

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Which Sectors and Industries Most Benefit From a Security Risk Assessment?

There are some sectors which need to take a more assertive stance around their security. Common examples include storage facilities such as warehouses, businesses that store cash, valuables and antiques on site, and those engaged in construction and development, where tools, equipment and machinery are often targets for opportunistic thieves.

However, a security appraisal can be beneficial even for smaller businesses in less high-risk industries, whether to protect the value of their assets, ensure their workforce feels safe during each working day, or for the peace of mind they have excellent security controls in place.

If you’re looking for an experienced security provider to assess the risks of your property or site, get in touch with Clearway today by filling out this form. 


Scott Bowers

Scott Bowers

Insurance Director

Scott is an experienced, results driven director, used to managing client relationships at senior/board level, both UK and internationally.
He’s a successful, self-motivated commercially-focused individual with a track record of surpassing challenging goals. Scott has worked within the Legal Services, Insurtech, Insurance, Utility, Counter Fraud and in Investigations for the past 25 years.
As a seasoned Sales Director, Scott has over 20 years’ executive-level experience in B2B & B2C SaaS sales solutions and is passionate about technology & innovation and delivering an excellent experience to customers.

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