People often hear in the news how a public event’s security went sideways. From time to time, we even read that protective agents did something wrong while on an assignment. However, we rarely get a chance to see in the media how risk and security management (sometimes known as security and risk management) measures helped protect a person, property, or company. As a result, the public seldom gains insight into the process behind ensuring safety for high-net-worth families and business executives.
No wonder then that some people tend to look upon risk and security management as something they could do without. Psychologists call this phenomenon the negativity bias. Negativity bias is the notion that “something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.”
We can find the negativity bias everywhere around us, in decision-making, attention, learning, memory ― and as part of risk considerations.
For instance, if media audiences are fervently exposed to proof of how some politicians are corrupt, they will become rooted in their belief that all politicians are corrupt all the time. They will, however, miss contrary information that refutes this belief because it is positive and not readily available.
Interestingly for the topic of risk and security management, some enterprise leaders could mistakenly conclude that their company does not need security measures just because they have read countless media reports of how numerous corporations have been successfully targeted by disgruntled workers, bad actors, protesters, or any number of malicious individuals.
Notably, these same companies have been boasting about their risk and security management safeguards for years. Thus, some sceptics would inquire: Why even bother?
So, how should you go about risk and security management in Australia? Do you genuinely need it, and why?
Planning and Assessment: The Cornerstones of Actioning
Worryingly for corporations, as many as 41% of Australians feel unsafe at some point at work. This fear is present chiefly among females. Yet, high-level executives are not immune to this trend, while fear of violence has been linked to decreased productivity in companies. Fortunately, there is a way ― one of many ― for businesses to address this matter.
First and foremost, risk and security management serves to identify security weaknesses and shortfalls. Consequently, this enables the security provider to deliver mitigation measures and strategies.
But before doing anything, protective agents need to have a plan and assessment. However, if reliable information is not available, this affects the quality of both items. For instance, to enhance risk and security management measures, a security company or protective staff need to know everything there is to know about:
- Locations, timings, and meetings,
- Available assets,
- Principal profile, and
- Staffing strength, involving the number, roles, capabilities, and training background of the protective staff in charge of the operation.
Speaking of responsibilities, the team leader usually collects and consolidates information. Secondly, this person creates a solid plan and transforms it into an efficacious practical operation. By this, we mean that every member of the security team becomes clearly aware of their roles and responsibilities before the assignment starts.
Levels of Protection
Plans exist to anticipate worst-case scenarios, not prevent them permanently. In other words, Mike Tyson famously remarked that “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Likewise, in the world of close protection, planning and assessment foresees the “punching in the mouth” and acts to forestall and mitigate the outcomes.
In terms of assessments, the security team decides on the levels of protection that they will afford to the protectees. For instance, this could entail:
- Technical surveillance countermeasures,
- Electronic countermeasures,
- Armoured vehicles,
- Dedicated medical assistance (such as remote medical support), and
- Protection of residences and places of work.
Similarly, some high-ranking officials and executives may require a more strategic approach, such as concentric circles of protection. This safeguarding method entails multiple physical layers of obstacles and security rings. In fact, concentric circles of protection are best known for their objective to dissuade, deter, and delay the assault on the client.
At any rate, thorough planning and assessment prior to implementing or actioning the plan are critical to a well-executed operation.
Training and Qualifications for Risk and Security Management
In Australia, as in most Western nations, it is necessary to attend training and obtain qualifications to provide this service. In fact, Certificate 4 is the minimum qualification for the provision of risk and security management services. However, more widely, hiring companies accept a diploma in security and risk management.
As for the corporate area and multinational sectors, tertiary qualifications are helpful and result in providing state-of-the-art services. These may include bachelor’s or master’s degrees in risk and security management. For context, to obtain these qualifications, a protective agent must first attend courses and learn about:
- Coordinating security operations,
- Assessing security and risk management options,
- Managing quality customer services, people performance, and personal work priorities,
- Planning professional development, and
- Ensuring team effectiveness.
The primary considerations concerning risk and security management in Australia stem from the country’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism. Apart from being familiar with this landmark document, a security risk specialist must maintain a high level of autonomy while evaluating the changing threat environment.
For example, a high-net-worth individual may have been trapped in a corporate building due to protesters blocking the entrance and exits. We call this a “changing threat environment,” something that a plan and assessment must have considered ahead of the business meeting.
Interestingly, however, risk and security management in the corporate environment does not solely depend on traditional hard security skills. In fact, commercial skills and experience are slowly starting to take the lead.
According to some security authors, risk and security management has now begun incorporating areas such as disaster planning, business continuity, corporate and social responsibility, but also brand and reputation risk management — a reason more to get the team leader and other protection staff members involved.
Risk and security management comprises the ongoing process of identifying security risks. That is only the first step, while the second entails implementing plans to address them.
According to different reports, it is evident that there is a need for increased safety in Australia due to a myriad of concerns.
Reading the ASIAL Security Industry Licensing Report 2021, we may notice an increase of almost 4% in licensed security personnel for the past 12 months. Conversely, an Australian-based security index concluded that 36% of Australians feel unsafe during daylight hours. But even more worryingly, this number rises to 53% after dark.
As expected, the citizens of Australia fear robbery, physical and sexual assaults, as well as terrorist attacks. These make up their biggest concerns.
But moreover, as high-level members of society, enterprise directors and business executives may be frequently targeted by malicious actors inside and outside their organisations.
Overall, chief executive officers are in charge of running companies, while security managers protect their immediate environment. But allow us to ask the obvious question here. What CEO would not wish for a trusted security expert skilled in operational resiliency by their side at critical moments?
Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched risk and security management services.