In the midst of Business Continuity Awareness Week 2012 (19th March – 23rd March), the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) – the trade body representing the private security industry in the UK – reminds business owners how security measures can help manage business continuity when faced with potential disruptions to services.
From student protests to heavy snowfalls, IT breaches and the August riots last year businesses in the UK have had to quickly come to terms with the importance of having business continuity plans in place. The interruption of activity caused by such incidents can in fact have damaging effects on businesses, which will suffer financial losses as well as loss of reputation if unable to deal with their effects quickly and effectively. However, what organisations often fail to realise is that such plans should not sit alone, but form part of an integrated strategy.
“Business continuity cannot exist as an independent function; we always advocate thinking about security, information management and business continuity as interdependent and requiring a fully integrated solution.” says Chris Lawrence, Chairman of the BSIA’s Security Consultancies section. “Certainly there are elements in all three that are unique to a single function but the majority of policies and plans in one functional area will have an impact in another if not in all three.
“In particular, said plans should focus primarily on preventing incidents from occurring, and diminishing their impact on business activity once they occur; security measures can play a crucial part in both cases.” he adds.
Providing his expert advice on how security should be incorporated in business continuity plans, Chris continues: “An effective business continuity plan require a number of security considerations:
1. Checking your security measures
“The robustness of the measures employed should be given attention, as should the fact that these security systems – which will include CCTV, access control systems, intruder alarms, physical security as well as IT security – must work within your specified requirements, depending on your business and the types of threats you are likely to incur. Doors and windows, for example, should be to a proper security rating, which can prevent unwanted entry or spread of fire.
2. Employee and client vetting
“It is important to ensure that all employees are security vetted – or at least reference checked – and that clients are credit checked, so as to flag up any issues early on. This is an important preventative measure against fraud and/or theft from a disreputable company or person.
3. Training your staff
“Staff training and making the most of the skills of your security workforce should also be included. Well-trained security staff can in fact act as marshals and wardens during an incident and help evacuate staff, liaise with blue light services and assist in coordinating a response. Also, they can prevent unwanted visitors and can inspect and report suspicious packages.
4. Planning for civil disorder
“The August riots – which cost UK retailers an estimated £18.3 million1 – have served as a harsh reminder to businesses that civil disorder and rioting policy and procedures should now be included in all business continuity plans. This must include having lockdown procedures in place, and defining roles and responsibilities for when the events occur.
5. Testing the plan
“A timetable to allow for these procedures to be exercised on a regular basis will make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, and increase the effectiveness of a business continuity plan.” concludes Chris.
Reliable security consultants will have a wealth of experience in providing advice on producing and implementing security considerations as part of business continuity plans, tailored to the requirements of each individual client. In particular, members of the BSIA Security Consultancies section provide independent professional support to ensure that measures required by clients correspond to both existing and emerging threats whilst complimenting the client’s business environment and operation.
To find out more about the work of the BSIA’s Security Consultancies section, visit www.bsia.co.uk/security-consultancies
To find a BSIA member near you, or for more information on any other security measure mentioned, visit www.bsia.co.uk
1British Retail Crime Survey 2011 – British Retail Consortium