Why Regular Security Assessments Are Essential for Maximizing Safety
The Value of a Security Assessment
Security assessments are an important line of defense in organizations’ ever-evolving landscape of threats. At their core, a high-quality security assessment allows an organization to be proactive in doing business. This creates a safe work environment for employees, protects the business’s most valuable assets, and helps the organization reach its goals.
Different types of assessments—be it physical, digital, or procedural—will involve different elements, but all security assessments will utilize the same best practices in their development.
Throughout this article, we will explore these essential elements and how they can be used in security planning.
When is a Security Assessment Needed?
Sometimes, a security assessment is triggered by an external or internal incident that exposes gaps in the existing security plan. This incident could happen to the organization itself or within the wider industry.
In other cases, leadership may determine a security assessment is needed because of identified inefficiencies, a need for new technology, or to achieve industry compliance.
Whenever the organizational needs and goals do not align with the current security plans, it is time to assess or reassess.
Preliminary Guidance for Effective Security Assessments
Engaging in the assessment process before you even begin properly is important. What does this look like in practice?
- Leadership alignment – does leadership understand the need and is committed to success?
- Identifying objectives – are you beginning with the end in mind? Are there clear objectives?
- Strong project governance – is there a process in place for effective execution? Have you identified the stakeholders and scope? Who are the decision-makers at each phase?
This framework is important to have in place before even starting the security assessment. If you are working with a professional team, they can help you with this preliminary process.
3-Phases of a Security Assessment
There are three phases of a security assessment; current state discovery, gap analysis, and future state recommendations. Each of these parts is important to creating a final plan. The final security assessment will provide a roadmap for leaders to implement in a strategic and proactive way.
Current State Discovery
When diving into a current state assessment, it’s vital to thoroughly explore the existing environment. The review should include the people, processes, and technology involved at each step. Engage with stakeholders at every level of the organization. Include time for individual conversations to gain diverse perspectives, including those from the day-to-day workers all the way up to leadership.
Collect and document the data meticulously. Whenever you can, evaluate the physical spaces and technology in action—there’s no substitute for observing firsthand the realities of the environment you’re evaluating. Also, review existing documentation and the organization’s history, as they can shed light on the how and why behind the current state, helping guide your assessment toward actionable insights.
Begin the gap analysis once your current state analysis is complete. Measure the current state against:
- Industry/market standards
- Best practices
- Existing organizational concerns
- End goals
Additionally, evaluate the risks associated with each of the discovered gaps. Are these gaps resulting in higher overhead, added risk, inefficiency, additional cost, or something else?
In some cases, the policies and procedures exist, but there is no governance structure for implementation.
Future State Recommendations
Using the current state and gap assessment, the final phase of the security assessment is creating future state recommendations. These recommendations will work to close the gaps, so the organization can achieve its goals. It should identify the technology, policies and procedures, governance changes, and organizational measures to help the organization reduce its overall risk. It will also include a summary of the current state and gap analysis and a detailed roadmap for implementation. An organization may prioritize according to the highest risk level, easiest to implement, quickest gains, or another metric. When completed, it will show a cost analysis and connect to the long-term strategic vision.
Roles and responsibilities must be identified to connect it to the existing infrastructure and determine where additional support needs to be hired – either through internal employees or outside consultants.
Connecting all of this to the organization’s long-term strategy vision is an important part of a high-quality plan, and understanding the leadership goals and objectives from the beginning is so important.
Security assessments are an important proactive step for every organization. High-quality security assessments empower organizations to be proactive, ensuring a safe working environment, safeguarding business interests, and facilitating the achievement of organizational goals.
Whether physical, digital, or procedural, each type of assessment taps into the same pool of best practices, adapting them to fit specific contexts. By following best practices and the 3-phases process of current state analysis, gap analysis, and future state planning, organizations can be more ready to adjust to a changing future.
Atriade has worked on over 500+ projects in 60+ industries in 30+ countries. If you are looking for support in crafting your full spectrum security plans that will set you apart in a competitive marketplace, we are here to help. Our management team carries a lifetime of experience in all areas of Physical Security and Electronic Security that we are ready to put to work for your unique business and team.
Our client portfolio includes Fortune 50 companies, Ivy League universities, and leading technology firms in Silicon Valley.
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