Whether in the military, business or protective services, good strategies begin with good understanding of the current situation. Only clear insight into the factors that impact the eventual success of our plans can provide the basis for effective decisions.
In our line of business, we like to begin any new security task with a risk, threat and vulnerability analysis (RTVA). While the scope of an RTVA always faces constraints, expertise and experience can go a long way to compensate for limitations. In this case AS Solution’s consultants provided a basic but essential RTVA – and security awareness training – against a very tight timeline.
Improve security for 5 local offices on a tight timeline.
Our client, a US-based NGO with activities in many developing countries, approached us because they were concerned for the safety and security of their employees in office locations around Africa. The organization had experienced friction around some of its activities and local
staff travelled frequently around the continent, including places that presented significant security risks.
The concerns raised many questions for the international security manager, who had never visited the African offices, about the wellbeing of its Africa-based staff. How did the five offices in four countries actually look? How secure were their physical locations and layouts? What could the organization do to mitigate risk in terms of technology, physical security and staff
The security manager needed the information fast: a previous vendor had not delivered as promised, and there was no time for delay answers to these vital questions.
RTVAs and security awareness training.
OAS Solution proposed a two-pronged approach: Basic RTVAs for the five office locations and security awareness training for local staff.
Given the time constraints set by the client, the RTVAs focused primarily on location security, assessing client’s offices against the four pillars of security:
1. Physical security: Access control, gates, doors, burglar bars, etc.
2. Technology: CCTV, biometrics and backup power, a necessary capability in many developing countries
3. People: Evaluation of guards and their qualifications; availability of local first-response resources – police, fire and medical
4. Procedures: Routine and emergency practices; what to do if confronted with hostiles; aggressive groups, etc.
Our report provided extensive documentation – in pictures and words – of all critical factors, and focused on actionable improvement recommendations to mitigate perceived risks in all areas. The report also provided detailed GPS routes to nearest hospitals and police stations, as well as exact GPS coordinates for the offices themselves. Many street addresses don’t appear
on GPS systems in these countries, so even something as straightforward as locating the offices on a GPS map – a critical piece of information in emergencies – had not been possible previously.
The personal security awareness training included modules on understanding and assessing threats, suspicious indicators, emergency response, security at the office, and travel security best practices. Participants gained real-world expertise in improving their personal security through a series of lectures, discussions and exercises based on actual CCTV footage.
Peace of mind for continuing operations.
The NGO’s security manager now has a clear picture of all African offices’ security situation – and the picture is good.
Local staff gave our experts’ security awareness training high marks and feel much more confident as they do their jobs at home and abroad.
After mitigating the risks uncovered in the five-city RTVA, the organization’s management is quite confident that the security level for its employees is at a suitably high level.