Personnel Security: What Is Your Security Posture?

Written By: Felix P. Nater

1. The Security Consultants Perspective

With Workplace Violence becoming an emerging concern, the
employee dimension becomes a critical factor in conducting
Vulnerability Threat Assessments against capabilities and
weaknesses, similar to the way we conduct a business SWOT
(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). I wonder
how much thought a disgruntled employee, angry customer, an
armed robber or a specific act of terrorism, has given to
the real business threat of a violent act. Within each
business or type of employment, there exists an intriguing
combination of potential threats to the safety and security
of the workplace. If you recall in recent incidents over the
past month on the topic of workplace violence, that while
critical structures are key targets, no type of business was

The ideologues and the imbedded terrorists have now become
objects of concern for those of us engaged in conducting
threat assessments; evaluating risks and recommending risk
abatement measures. Key to these concerns is the free access
of these employees, their familiarity with the operations
and their knowledge of the company secrets. To combat this
threat and to reduce the risk, it would behoove decision
makers to become creative in their approach to these
potential threats. Just implementing technological resources
may be insufficient. Taking proactive measures during the
hiring and screening process might identity a potential
threat, implementing security guidelines might serve to
deter or minimize the threat and educating employees will
increase security awareness. Key to this creative approach
however, is the collaboration of resources in a synchronized
team fashion. The Threat Assessment Team is my recommended
creative strategy to minimize the threat while managing the

2. Workplace Security Concerns: People, Premises and

In preventing Workplace Violence in todays volatile
workplace nothing can be taken for granted. While it is the
employers responsibility to protect the workforce, a
predisposed individual is a companys worst nightmare. The
acts of a disgruntled employee can be predictive, while the
threat of a robbers motives cannot anymore than the
motivations of the professional ideologue with external
grievances that might target a business to emphasize an
opposing position. Verifiably evident is the catastrophic
capability of the politically motivated threat whose
methodical planning may take years. With access and
familiarity critical factors in measuring risks, decision
makes are encouraged to reconcile the security impact to
business disruption and business recovery in the aftermath
in terms of proactive and preventive measures during the
Threat Assessment Phase. Every business is a target of
opportunity and value regardless of type:

Production Plants Power & Light Utilities Dam & Water
Purifications Sewer Treatment Telephone and Heating Food
& Beverages Sports Facilities Entertainment Centers
Suburban Strip & Shopping Malls Hospitals and Treatment
Centers High Rise Building Complexes Unprotected

3. Ask the Tough Questions. Has Our Company Done a Critical
Assessment of Our Business Practices?

Are the functional needs of security and safety decided by a
team; or are they relegated the responsibility of a Security
Director, Human Resource Manager, Safety Manager or even
Facility Manager? How much thought goes into arriving at a
business matrix that factors the security needs against the
type of business? Are security budgets based on the
offerings of technology devoid of the unique aspects of
personnel security as part of the security posture or is
there justification for one or the other or both? I pose
these additional questions for your consideration.

-Are the Security Plans, Policies and Programs adequate?
-Are Threat and Crisis Plans incorporated in training
-Do I have an Emergency Evacuation Plan and do employees
know their roles?
-Are the Homeland Security Protective Measures
integrated in the Security Plans?
-Do I have knowledge or familiarity with the police and
hospital response plans?
-Is the company prepared to handle a Bomb Threat?
-Are my mailroom and mail handling procedures adequate?
-Does the Personnel Security Plan address the myriad
of concerns including travel and VIP Security?
-Is Counter-terrorism factored into my Workplace Violence
Prevention Plan?
-Whose responsibility is it to coordinate Security
Awareness Training?
-How do I organize a Threat Assessment Team?
-Am I relying on the police and the response time
or do I have a plan?
-Is Workplace Violence a threat to your business in the
event of business disruption and continuity?

4. Security the Business Matrix

Merely appointing a security chief and purchasing security
technology without the essential critical assessment or
evaluation of your business situation is not employing the
best security strategy. Collaborating of resources and
synchronizing the plans are positive steps to take in
developing a business matrix that drives the security
strategy. No longer can the decision maker delegate the
security function as a separate and apart responsibility
without having any input into the strategy, philosophy and
objective of the security plans. The assumption we make
about the investment against intangible benefits of a
proactive or preventive security policy having no immediate
impact on the Return on the Investment (ROI) must die a
quick death. A critical assessment of your business
practices will clearly provide an appreciable and measurable
business matrix to motivate application of this philosophy
in the Threat Assessment Phase.

About the Author

Felix P. Nater is the President of Nater Associates, Ltd. a security management consulting practice offering security solutions in Workplace Violence Interdiction and General Security Consulting.

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