Security Surveys

How can a security executive prove to the C-suite that all facets of the business that are susceptible to risk are covered adequately by the company’s security program? How can that same executive hold his or her employees accountable for assessing those programs and implementing improvements?

One way to answer these questions is through a comprehensive security survey, a long-time staple in the security manager’s toolbox. In general, the purpose of a security survey is to determine if a company’s security measures and programs are adequate to counter the risks that business confronts.

Confirming that security programs are adequate not only assures executives, customers, visitors, and employees, but also provides protection against claims of inadequate security, or negligence. In this case, the survey provides proof that the company foresaw the risks and implemented appropriate countermeasures.

Many versions of a security survey have been published through the years. The examples here provide an array of choices that can be tailored to specific businesses, industries, and institutions.

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Risk Assessment, Office Building Physical
Security Survey
Sample Office Building Physical Security Survey Checklist
Selections from the book High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety

Pre-Survey Action;
Conducting the Survey;
Security Survey Manufacturing Checklist (Quantitative)
Selections from the book Security Surveys

 ASIS Members Only

Content requires ASIS Membership

Security Management Standard: Physical Asset Protection [ANSI/ASIS PAP.1-2012]

Security Survey Work Sheets
BONUS Security Survey: An Overview
Selections from Risk Analysis and the Security Survey

Resource Guide on Security Surveys
ASIS IRC Reference Guide

​Free Resources

Buy this book!High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety, Third Edition
By Geoff Craighead (Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier, 2012)
Chapter 4: Risk Assessment, Office Building Physical Security Survey
Appendix 4-1: Sample Office Building Physical Security Survey Checklist

In Chapter 4 of his book, Geoff Craighead asserts that a physical security survey will involve two major tasks: conducting a fact-finding investigation and preparing a written report of the results. Before embarking on these tasks, Craighead advises identifying the scope of the survey, setting a timeframe for its completion, and identifying who has the authority to implement the survey’s findings.

During the investigation, the following tasks are among those that should be completed:

  • Review applicable codes, standards, and ordinances.
  • Examine reports of incidents that have occurred on the property in at least the past three years.
  • Collect crime statistics for the property’s neighborhood.
  • Visit the site at various times of the day.

The written report should be a formal document with a cover letter and a summary of the survey’s methodology, tangible and intangible assets, site description, threats, recommendations, and an executive summary. The author cautions that opinions on the state of the overall security program should be reserved until the fact-finding and report is complete.

Appendix 4-1 is a detailed survey template with questions to gauge the current state of security operations on everything from the building’s perimeter, to its parking areas, utility closets, cafeteria, and janitorial operation.

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Security Surveys
By William Floyd (ASIS International, 2008)
Chapter 2: Pre-Survey Action
Chapter 3: Conducting the Survey
Appendix C: Security Survey Manufacturing Checklist (Quantitative)

Following an exhaustive Table of Content, William Floyd sets the stage for gathering data that must be accumulated to be intimately familiar with the site to be surveyed and the risks it faces.

In this first phase, Floyd lists eleven points to be considered, including the following:

  • Classify losses by category, including embezzlement, employee theft, and inventory shortages.
  • Review the budgets for loss prevention and asset protection.
  • Review results from the company’s audit department.
  • Review the company’s compliance with local, state, and federal environmental guidelines.

Floyd follows this discussion with a chapter on how to conduct the actual survey of the site’s physical security, internal controls, employee controls, warehousing and distribution processes, and recommends specific tests of the various controls and procedures.

Appendix C is an actual survey instrument with numerical scores for 30 major security topics. Each topic is assigned a weighted factor between 1 and 3, representing the relative importance of that topic to the facility’s overall security.​

Members Only Resources

Security Management Standard: Physical Asset Protection [ANSI/ASIS PAP.1-2012]
(ASIS International, 2012)

This standard represents a comprehensive management approach for applying security measures for physical asset protection (PAP). Its eight sections provide a framework for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining, and improving physical protection systems. In its Introduction, the standard acknowledges that all organizations face a certain amount of risk. The challenge is to determine how much risk is acceptable and how to cost-effectively manage the risk while meeting the organization’s strategic and operational objectives. To meet those objectives, choices must be made. This standard assists organization in achieving a balance between acceptable risk and the investments required to manage those risks.

Following sections on leadership, governance, and organizational resilience management, the standard’s Annex B sets a framework for a security survey, which involves an examination and evaluation of a facility and its policies, procedures, and operations to ascertain its present PAP status. The survey should achieve the following:

  • A comprehensive and integrated security risk analysis and assessment across the organization.
  • A range of potential solutions and their consequences.
  • The development of security risk management, continuity, response, and recovery programs.

Buy this book!Risk Analysis and the Security Survey, Fourth Edition
By James Broder, CPP, and Eugene Tucker, CPP (Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier, 2012)
Appendix A: “Security Survey Work Sheets.”

This appendix can be used to assist in performing physical security surveys in most industrial settings. Using a question format, the authors’ intent is to reduce the possibility of neglecting a review areas of importance and to assist in gathering material for the survey report. Before starting a detailed examination and study of a facility, they suggest conducting interviews on eight topics, including the cafeteria, the credit union, the company store, and classified operations. Answers collected in these interviews will help develop the degree of control required for various areas.

Next, answers to detailed questions grouped into 12 categories can be obtained by touring the facility. Categories and sample questions include the following:

  • Shipping and Receiving: How are truck drivers controlled? Do they have a designated waiting room?
  • Locking Devices: What type of security containers are used to protect money? Securities? High-value metals? Government classified information?
  • Perimeter Security: Are small buildings near the fencing? If so, is the height of the fencing increased?

BONUS! Download Chapter 7 - The Security Survey: An Overview

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Resource Guide on Security Surveys
ASIS IRC Reference Guide

This guide offers a comprehensive review of quotes from authoritative resources in answer to the following questions:

  • Why conduct a security survey?
  • Are there different kinds of security surveys?
  • How extensive is a security survey?
  • What goes into a security survey?

In addition, resources offer sample surveys and sample outlines of survey reports from the Security Management Standard: Physical Asset Protection, and a range of books available through ASIS International and other publishers. These resources provide guidance on how to conduct a security survey and checklists to assess the current status of security operations.