Traditional security measures for a modern world

Posted: 31 July 2019

An increasingly digital world has inevitably given rise to many new security risks, such as the threat of cyber attacks and data theft. Such events can have serious consequences for both large and small companies, including business interruption, financial loss and reputational damage. Any business needs to pay heed to such perils and take appropriate steps to mitigate these.

However, in focussing attention on online threats, businesses need also to ensure they are not taking fewer precautions when it comes to physical security measures, as mounting evidence suggest that these remain as important as ever.

The 2017 Commercial Victimisation Report (CVS)[1] from the Home Office showed that whilst there were approximately 38,000 incidents of online crime per 1,000 premises in the manufacturing sector, this compared to 18,299 instances of theft. The same report revealed incidents of assaults and threats in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector were almost five times more likely than online crime. It’s clear there’s still very much a need to think about security measures for the physical world.

As criminals continually develop new, innovative ways to overcome technological advances, many people are looking to more traditional security methods to keep lawbreakers at bay. For example, the motor fleet and trade sectors are seeing a return to customary measures, such as the use of mechanical steering and handbrake locks.

When it comes to controlling who can enter and exit your premises, simple steps such as installing security barriers or implementing an ID card system can be highly effective. For new premises, as a minimum, it’s recommended to replace locks using a professional commercial locksmith. Further, developing a security culture amongst employees is paramount, so that staff remain vigilant and can recognise and report suspicious activity. 
The good news is that employees are more trustworthy than ever, at least according to CVS statistics. In the wholesale and retail sector, thefts by employees had decreased by an average of 7 per 1,000 premises from 2012 to 2017. This may be partly attributed to increasingly standard company procedures, such as whistle-blowing schemes, and pre-employment checks. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could also have had a positive impact, since it’s required companies to develop processes for ensuring the safe handling and storing of data. It’s hoped this will continue to make it harder for criminals to obtain such information and use it for nefarious purposes.
Businesses can also look to enhance other physical and electronic systems using third party accredited products where available. The presence of physical devices, when combined with electronic, such as CCTV and intruder alarm systems remain highly effective deterrents for criminals. Since these devices are being designed ever smaller, it’s becoming harder for criminals to spot them. However the very knowledge that there may be a surreptitious device installed could unsettle a potential thief, and so a strategically placed sign about security cameras, whether genuine or not, could be sufficient warning.

Companies today face a tough job in protecting themselves against both physical and digital threats. Criminals will always persist in trying to outsmart both traditional and emerging security measures and businesses need to do their utmost to stay ahead. This should start with taking an all-encompassing view of the assets that need protection and the requisite measures needed. Such processes and methods should be regularly reviewed to ensure they remain fit for purpose and all employees throughout the organisation need to be engaged in a robust security culture. Such actions will help companies remain safe now and in the future.


Visit Allianz Risk Management to find a wealth of information on risk management to help customers stay open for business.


This article was originally published in a 'Navigating Risk', a within Modern Insurance Magazine (Issue 39). It may not be replicated in any other publications.

Stuart Daws
Head of Loss Control Engineering
Allianz Insurance PLC