Businesses across South Africa face massive internal and external security threats daily. While each has its own unique risks associated to its industry, location and assets, the reality is that adequate protection is required. The key to implementing suitable protection lies in the systems, control and parameters put in place. According to experts in the field, the first step in achieving this is a physical security audit.

“The purpose of a security audit or survey is to create a blueprint on which all future security plans and procedures can be built. This entails evaluating and addressing the business’ current risk profile. Based on this information, accurate and cost-effective security measures can be put in place to counter the organisation’s unique risks. This would includecritical information on location crime and area risk related factors,” confirms Jacki Condon, Managing Director of Apache Security Services.

To be effective, it is vital that security audits are conducted on site, by professionals. During the assessment, a step-by-step approach should be followed to determine what the business’ critical assets are, and how vulnerable they are. “Once this has been established, the auditor will identify potential threats (both internal and external), and rank them from improbable to potential, or imminent,” adds Condon.

Once assets and threats have been identified, a strategic plan is developed to determine how best to protect the business, its people and its assets – both adequately and cost-effectively. “During the formulation of the strategy, the security auditor should consider current plans and policies and their efficacy – highlighting both strengths and weaknesses,” advises Condon. “With this approach, a holistic plan is developed, ensuring the business can react timeously in the case of an incident, and that ineffective measures are weeded out and replaced.”

When handled correctly and impartially, a physical security audit offers a thorough physical inspection and evaluation of all security systems, controls, and their parameters.When handled incorrectly, a security audit could result in major security shortfalls. “Unless the audit – and the resultant strategy – offers a comprehensive view of the business’ weaknesses, threats, and risks and how to control them, the business will be lulled into a false sense of security. This makes it even more vulnerable than before,” warns Condon.

To avoid this, corporates must consider the security audit team carefully before making a hiring decision. Condon concludes with these tips to follow when seeking a security company to conduct an audit: “Ask for their references and referrals – and then check them. Ask to see their proof of membership to industry related bodies. Do they have a quality control policy and how is it enforced? What are the qualifications of the security auditor to be assigned to the job? If they have a reputation for excellence in the market, they’re most likely going to maintain that level of excellence in service to you.”

Issued by Perfect Word Consulting (Pty) Ltd

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