Advice-01a - General advice of security issues / risk assessment, etc

The following practical guidelines have evolved from years of loss analysis experience. Some may seem elementary and obvious, all however are easily overlooked when pressure situations demand instant action. The list is in no particular order and is not exhaustive however it represents the basic principles upon which a sound and effective security strategy and implementation can be formed:

Education Every organisation should ideally publish its security policy guidelines to its employees and provide staff training in security matters as appropriate.

Don't advertise to people outside of the organisation that there are assets to steal! Many PC thefts for instance are theft to order, with intelligence on the type and location of equipment within the company having been pre-gathered. The company sign of the Print & Design company displayed proudly on their building is more likely to attract thieves who will undoubtedly identify the business as heavy users of "State of the Art Computing" equipment than it is to attract passing trade. A helpful secretary telling a would be computer maintenance company that there are only 10 PCs on site could be providing invaluable information to a bogus company who are in reality organised thieves. Packaging from new equipment left in a skip outside of the premises could alert thieves to the fact that new PCs have been delivered!

Keep it simple- the more complex the security measure the more there is to go wrong.

Improve your security at its weakest points.

Ensure your choice of solutions are interchangeable and upgradable wherever possible.

A layered approach to security which introduces a number of obstacles to be overcome sequentially by the criminal rather than relying on a single security measure will normally prove more effective in operation and cheaper to implement.

Security is an interactive part of Risk Management. - the outcome of any review however is a matter of best opinion at that particular moment in time, based upon the expertise and collective knowledge of the advisers and the technical solutions currently available. Security measures should therefore be kept under continuous review and upgraded as new risks are perceived or new solutions become available.

There are no absolute guarantees that the security measures introduced to combat known incidences experienced personally or by others will foil all or other forms of 'attack'.

A balanced mix of physical security measures, together with intruder detection, simple internal access denial or localised / area tracking that does not interfere with day to day business operations is usually best. This is the area of expertise where your consultant or technical adviser is best placed to guide on achieving that balance within a viable budget.

The ultimate success of any security measure depends on the commitment of individuals to make it work. Measures should be documented, must be practical in day to day operation and be understood as appropriate by security and other staff.

When selecting a security solution it is important to understand its limitations as well as its strengths and also to understand the full implications and cost of implementing it. For example, installing a simple CCTV monitoring / recording system could cost less than £2,000 and be achieved in just a few hours. In some circumstances however employees may view such a system as "Big Brotherish" and employee / management relations could be suffer unless the implementation is properly and sensitively managed. Financially, whilst initially the £2,000 price tag may seem attractive, the real cost of the system must also take into account maintenance and running costs which may include staff costs to monitor the camera images and react to suspect events, etc.

Good design and tactile feel are often good indicators to follow when impulse buying or shopping for an adequate emergency solution..

Remember - Time is the thief's worst enemy - that is once he has been detected and the alarm triggered! Undetected time is however invaluable to him, allowing him to work upon how to overcome the security measures protecting your property and business.

Business interruption is a serious issue for any company and is an essential consideration for any risk analysis programme. It can occur as a result of Fire, Theft (e.g. PC theft), Computer failure, etc. and statistically over 60% of companies that suffer interruption (from whatever cause) for more than a week or so fail within 18 months of the event

Insurance is essential to any business and should cover all perceived risks (including consequential loss) adequately to ensure the continued survival of the company. Careful attention must be paid to meeting insurers specifications where special requirements are stipulated, e.g. door locks may need to conform to a particular specification, PC equipment of over a certain value may need to be physically secured to a desk or floor to be insured against theft, etc. - Uninsured Losses are another major reason that many companies fail.

Goods in transit or items such as Laptop PCs which are frequently used by staff whilst offsite, should also be considered for risk analysis purposes.

Malicious damage is a major threat to your business and another area for consideration. The damage could result from various activities such as arson, general vandalism or even an attack on your computer system such as the introduction of a virus.

We hope that the above information will help in your fight against crime and assist you to make the most of your security budget. The friendly Insight-Security Help Desk team will be pleased to discuss your security issues & requirements and offer advice and information on the many security options available - we look forward to being of assistance.

Help Desk tel: 01273 475500


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