As someone who has worked in the security industry for more than two decades, I cannot emphasize enough the importance and value of conducting a thorough Threat, Vulnerability, and Risk Assessment (TVRA) for organizations of all sizes. Security professionals know all too well that security threats are becoming more sophisticated and diverse, and it's critical for organizations to stay ahead of these threats to protect their people, assets, and operations. Through my own experience, I have seen (and learned) first-hand how a well-executed TVRA can uncover previously unknown threats, vulnerabilities and risks and help organizations to prioritize their security resources effectively.
6 steps to help you create a thoughtful and effective TVRA
- Identify Assets
Identifying the assets that need to be protected is an important part of conducting a TVRA. Examples of assets that need to be protected include People, Property, Data, Information, Reputation and Operation. People are always the most important asset for any organization. Then, tangible, and intangible assets. The TVRA team should not neglect the increasing proportion of intangible assets when identifying assets.
- Identify Threats
Physical security threats can be broadly classified into three categories: criminal threats, environmental threats, and terrorist threats. Examples of common physical security threats include theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism. TVRA can help organizations gather and analyze data and modus operandi of criminals, data as well as characteristics of natural disasters, and data and maneuvers of terrorist attacks.
- Identify Vulnerabilities
Identifying vulnerabilities is a critical step in the TVRA process, as it helps organizations to understand the potential weaknesses in their physical security systems that could be exploited by a threat. Security vulnerabilities include weak security perimeter, inadequate access control, inadequate video surveillance, unqualified security personnel, lack of training and awareness, poor maintenance work, weakness of walls, floors, roofs, windows, locks, doors, and buildings themselves and so on.
- Evaluate Likelihood and Potential Impact
The likelihood of a threat occurring can be assessed by considering factors such as historical data, current trends, and the capabilities of threats. The potential impact of a threat can be assessed by considering factors such as the value of the assets at risk, the potential harm to employees, visitors and customers, and the potential cost of recovery.
- Prioritize Risks
Based on their likelihood and potential impact, the TVRA team can prioritize risks so that resources can be allocated effectively. Quantitative risk assessment method may be adopted for prioritizing a number of identified and calculated risks.
- Develop and Implement Strategies
To mitigate the identified risks, TVRA team must provide recommendations, and help organizations or clients to develop and implement strategies to mitigate the identified risks, such as physical security improvements, policies and procedures, and training and education programs.
If you haven't conducted a TVRA for your organization, I would highly recommend doing so as a critical step towards protecting your people, assets, and operations from security threats. By conducting regular assessments, organizations can continually improve their security posture and better protect themselves against potential risks.
Kevin Sun, CPP is Founder & CEO at SP Consulting & AB Security Service based in Asia.