What does Security mean?

Mar 6, 2016

A short look at what security can mean.

What does Security mean?

The term security can mean many different things to many people and there are many Companies claiming that they are selling security, but what is it they are selling?  Security can mean many things to individuals, organisations and States here are some examples:

•          Emotional security

•          Financial security

•          Economic security

•          Personal security

•          Health security

•          Household security

•          Housing security

•          Resource security

•          National security

•          Environmental security

•          Internet security

From personal experience the term security is normally used to indicate physical guarding, information security or technical systems, such as CCTV or intruder alarms.  This type of security interpretation rarely appears to address other areas indicated in the list above, yet security crosses all aspects of our personal and business lives and if applied correctly could address many of the concerns people have.

The Sage Dictionary of Criminology provides a definition of security, ‘the state of being secure, specifically freedom of fear, danger, risk, care, poverty, anxiety’ therefore the opposite of security must be insecurity.  It is within this insecurity that the security market seeks to sell services, and through individuals or Companies purchasing security there is the assumption that insecurity has been reduced.

So the transaction appears to satisfy the emotional and economic security requirements, although by the very action of securing one group or entity another group will be excluded and may feel insecure.  An example of this is the spread of CCTV within urban environments aligned to the policies and procedures that actively seek to identify young persons in groups greater than three and then direct security personnel to disperse them or move them out of the area.  This example shows that there is a fine line between providing security for one group but at the expense of others.

As a practitioner of security, my role is to understand where my clients ‘needs’ for security lay, help them define their insecurity and then determine what security means to them at the personal and organisational level whilst developing ways in which security mitigations can be measured.  There is a famous saying, I am not sure who it is attributed too, and ‘If you can’t measure it then you can’t manage it’.

The purpose of measurement is to show that the client’s insecurity can and has been reduced therefore attributing some meaning to it, whilst indicating what residual security related issues are still evident or may emerge, such as disaffected young people.

It needs to be remembered that the Clients interpretation of security as is mine, will be influenced by personal and professional viewpoints, which have been constructed by organisational and social structures.  Local, National and International Governments influence these structures through the implementation of policies.

So in order to prove the value and meaning of security, we need to be clear on the insecurity being addressed and the mitigations should be developed along lines that can attribute a value and ideally show a reduction of the insecurity.  Client and security provider should also ensure they understand and record where they see future insecurity developing due to the proposed or implemented security mitigation measures.  This should allow for future planning and who knows, it could be another area in which the business of security could expand.

If your Company would like advice or assistance on security measures then please contact Design Security Ltd at enquiry@designsecurityltd.com


Chris Aldous BSc (Hons), CPP, PSP,

Director – Design Security Ltd

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