Assess your security risks

Business owners are being advised to examine security risks to their staff and business by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

With terrorism a major threat in this day and age, the CBI has made security a central issue to its annual conference, taking place in November. The organisation is advising all businesses to examine the security risks that could affect them and take steps to guard against them.

MI5, the Government organisation responsible for protecting the UK against threats to national security, provides advice on physical threats, protecting information, keeping staff safe and how to deal with emergency situations. Much of this advice can be applied to everyday security as well as to terrorist threats. See for detailed information and also the top ten tips below.

1. Take time to carry out a risk assessment. What kind of threats might you be facing and how likely are they? Where are your vulnerable points?

2. If you are building or acquiring new premises, try to plan your security measures from the outset to save time and money.

3. Make security awareness part of your organisation’s culture. Arrange regular briefings for staff on what they should be looking out for. Take your staff seriously if they identify potential threats and train them in emergency and evacuation procedures, and rehearse them regularly. Give more specific training to anyone you think might have to handle a bomb threat.

4. Ensure good basic housekeeping in and around your buildings – for example, keep public areas tidy and well-lit, remove any unnecessary furniture, keep garden areas free from dense shrubbery.

5. Look at the access points to your premises. Keep them to a minimum.

6. Consider the range of physical measures – locks on windows and doors, CCTV, alarms, lighting – and install them according to your circumstances. Ensure they are working and arrange regular checks.

7. Look at your mail-handling procedures. Consider setting up a mailroom away from your main premises, and train staff in emergency procedures.

8. When recruiting staff or hiring contractors, ensure that they are who they say they are by checking documentation. Follow up references.

9. Look at how you might protect your information. Ensure that those who supply, operate and maintain your IT systems are reputable and reliable.

10. Plan now for Business Continuity – how you will continue to function if something happens which means your premises or IT systems are out of action.

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