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A Risk Assessment Ensures Good Building Security

Key topics for facility professionals. Keywords for this topic: Risk Assessments

Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff

Buying additional security equipment without doing a complete risk assessment is one wrong turn a facility manager can make when trying to make a building more secure.

It's easy to get dazzled by security technology and lose sight of the larger mission. But the risk assessment is the most important thing facility managers can do to improve building security, because it ensures that the security system installed protects against the most concerning threats.

The first step in a building risk assessment is identifying the nature and operations of the building. For example, consider the business impacts if a building suddenly isn't operational anymore. Then develop appropriate safeguards.

Also consider incorporating data from government sources, such as the Department of Homeland Security. Working with local agencies and police is also a key step.

The risk assessment can lead to a building being assigned a score. That score can then drive the selection of security applications used in the building — whether the building requires access control, video, intrusion alarms or other equipment.

Other organizations rate buildings based on major, moderate and lesser risks depending on a building's operation and what is stored in the building. For example, a building that houses chemicals or gas that would be hazardous to health would be a major-risk building.

Remember that a risk assessment is never complete — it’s an ongoing, sometimes reactive task. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, many facility managers revisited their security plans and implemented new procedures and technologies.

Responding to an escalated threat level — as indicated by the national color coded system — became a key consideration for many facility managers. But beyond the threat of World Trade Center-like tragedies, the post-9/11 culture of heightened alert for terror threats got facility managers thinking more about their security situations as a whole.

Security: Think Strategically to Plan for Myriad Threats by Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor

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The Importance of Risk Assessments