Risk, Responsibility, and Readiness: The Role of Security Assessments in Business


In today’s dynamic business landscape, security extends far beyond the simple act of locking doors. It involves understanding and mitigating risks that businesses face daily. This is where the role of security assessment becomes crucial.

Decoding Security Assessments

A security assessment, conducted by an Independent Security Consultant, is an exhaustive evaluation of your business’s security posture. It goes beyond surface-level observations and dives deep into identifying potential threats to your personnel and property. Here’s how it works:

1. Risk Identification: The assessment identifies vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and blind spots in your existing security measures. It considers physical security, cybersecurity, and procedural aspects.

2. Gap Analysis: By comparing your current security practices against industry standards and best practices, the assessment reveals overlooked gaps. These gaps may include outdated technology, inadequate training, or insufficient emergency response plans.

3. Prioritization: Not all security issues are equal. The assessment pinpoints priority items that require immediate attention. This information enables you to allocate budget effectively and implement the most suitable security solutions.

The Human Element: Safeguarding People and Property

One of the most significant threats to any business is harm to its people or property. Consider this scenario: A hold-up in your parking lot results in an employee getting hurt or killed. Apart from the tragic human loss, such incidents expose business owners to civil liability. In case of litigation, you, as the property owner, will need to provide evidence of having appropriate physical security plans, protocols, and equipment in place. Demonstrating due diligence to protect your employees, customers, or guests becomes critical.

Foreseeability: A Key Factor in Security and Liability

Foreseeability has emerged as a critical aspect in discussions around business, corporate, or school security and liability. It essentially boils down to two fundamental questions:

1. Could a reasonable person have foreseen the occurrence of this event? As a business owner, you must anticipate potential risks and take preventive measures.

2. What measures did the organization take to mitigate or prevent it? Having robust security protocols and documented risk assessments demonstrates your commitment to safety.

In the event of an incident at your business, you’ll need to be prepared to answer these questions. Your security assessment plays a pivotal role in providing evidence of your proactive approach.

Legal Implications of Foreseeability

The legal implications associated with foreseeability are significant:

1. Duty of Care: Property owners and occupiers have a duty of care to provide reasonable security measures to protect individuals on their premises. Foreseeability plays a role in defining what is “reasonable” in this context.

2. Negligent Security Claims: If an incident occurs and it is determined that the property owner could have reasonably foreseen the risk of such an incident, they may be held liable for damages resulting from inadequate security measures.

3. Premises Liability: In cases where a third party’s actions were reasonably foreseeable, and the property owner failed to take appropriate security measures, the injured party may recover damages for negligent or inadequate security.

4. Evidence in Litigation: During litigation, the history of similar incidents, crime rates in the area, and other relevant factors are examined to assess whether a criminal act was foreseeable.

5. Impact on Verdicts and Settlements: The concept of foreseeability can significantly impact the outcomes of lawsuits, influencing jury verdicts and the amount of damages awarded.

6. Security as an Amenity: Classifying security measures as amenities or courtesies may backfire when defending against negligence lawsuits, as courts may find that foreseeable risks should have been addressed.

In summary, foreseeability is a crucial element in security-related legal cases. It affects the assessment of duty of care, the establishment of liability, and the potential recovery of damages. Property owners must be proactive in assessing risks and implementing adequate security measures to mitigate foreseeable threats. Failure to do so can result in significant legal and financial consequences.

Remember, protecting your people and property goes beyond just physical security measures. It’s about foreseeability and being prepared to answer crucial questions in the event of an incident. Your security consultant plays a pivotal role in this process, providing evidence of a security assessment and your response to their recommendations.

In essence, a security assessment is a proactive step towards safeguarding your business assets, reducing liability, preventing incidents of workplace violence and ensuring peace of mind. Stay secure, stay safe!

About the Author:

Joseph “Paul” Manley is the founder of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC, where he offers expertise in security, crisis management, and preventing workplace violence. He collaborates with organizations to create custom security solutions through comprehensive assessments, employee training, and consulting. As a retired Police Lieutenant from Massachusetts, an Adjunct Lecturer, and a certified specialist in workplace violence and crisis intervention, he brings a wealth of knowledge to his role. He has also written a practical guide titled “How to Stay Calm and Aware in Any Situation: A Practical Guide to Situational Awareness and De-escalation Strategies.”


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