What is Security Risk Management?  And how can it help create safer spaces?

October 17th, 2018
facility security

In a world of ever evolving risk, security is constantly in the headlines and top of mind. Beyond security guards and access control, how does security help create safer spaces?  How can security support your organization in meeting its long-term goals and plan for the future?

For insight into these and other security related questions, we turned to AE Work-er Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP.  Herb brings a diverse security background spanning Anti-terrorism, Operations, Emergency Management, Physical Security and IT.  He maintains board certification as a Physical Security Professional (PSP) with ASIS International. As the Security Risk Manager at AE Works, Herb is focused on analyzing and uncovering opportunities to reduce risk.

In this Q&A, Herb shares more about what Security Risk Management involves and how this service helps deliver functional, beautiful and safer spaces..


Q:  What is Security Risk Management?  And how does it support development of safer spaces?

A. We complete risk-informed facility analysis to reduce opportunities for crime and protect what’s important.   Our solutions are rooted in a real understanding of the threats and risks that a specific client faces at a specific location.  An organization with a state-wide or nation-wide presence will have varying levels of risk at each location. So whether in support of a real estate acquisition, building construction project, in efforts to achieve compliance with regulations, or simply to better understand your risk, we can help integrate security measures into buildings, processes and planning.  


Q. Beyond safety, when most people hear the word security, they think of added time and hassle.  How can security measures be implemented to support how an organization operates?

A. It’s important to understand that it is entirely possible to secure your organization into near non-functionality. Think about it.  How long would your retail operation last if customers had to go through a full TSA screening before coming in or going out? Yes, you’d have a secure environment, but it wouldn’t last and even if it did, what’s your overhead look like?   It’s a delicate balance between operations and security. Security needs are circumstantially dependent. One size does not fit all. Security is a supporting function which must be balanced with operational needs and organizational culture.

I encountered this firsthand in during my command time in the Army and then again in the private sector.  My organizations had missions that weren’t security. In fact, security requirements sometimes could almost be an obstacle.  In the end, I had to make risk-based decisions and balance security and safety with mission accomplishment.


Q. What are AE Works’ Security Risk Management services?

A. Security Risk Management includes four key services:  Facility and Campus Security Assessments, Security Compliance Audits, Building Design and Assessment, and Security System Design.

  • Facility and Campus Security Assessments involve onsite assessments along with analysis of data such as crime statistics and other indicators to develop a comprehensive threat-risk picture for a specific organization, location and facility type so appropriate risk mitigation measures can be developed. 
  • Security Compliance Audits are an independent evaluation of how well your organization meets a given set of requirements (legal, regulatory, etc).  Basically, we test and evaluate how effectively your organization’s security procedures and resources are put into action.  The best written procedures are useless if staff don’t follow them. The best camera system in the world won’t help you if the person tasked with monitoring it is also distracted with other duties that keep him or her away from the monitors. 
  • Building Design and Assessment focuses on assessing and reducing vulnerabilities in design so that seamless, unobtrusive security solutions can be incorporated into your building.  This is about preserving aesthetics, maintaining functionality while also providing safer spaces. AE Works Security Risk Management Team has expertise in application of CPTED concept designs.  We also provide Advisory Services for Architects, Engineers and Builders. 
  • Security System Design includes planning and design of access control, monitoring and intrusion systems.  At AE Works, we have Registered Communications Distribution Designers (RCDD) with specialized expertise in integrating these systems into your building’s overall engineering plans.  

Q. Why is Security Risk Management important?
A. Security Risk Management is about creating safer spaces and protecting people and assets that are important.  What’s unique at AE Works is that because of our full-service integrated building design and consulting offering, we are focused on delivering highly functional, stunningly beautiful spaces that are inherently secure.


Q. At what project phase(s), do SRM services add value?
A. There are so many areas we can support and add value.  The earlier security is involved, the better it is. During Pre-project planning, we can provide facility and campus security assessments to guide scope development and long-term planning.  We can also support site analysis and section. Our team has experience analyzing threats that have bearing on site selection and how to mitigate the effects of those potential risks strategically.

During design, in addition to security system design, we can provide building design and assessment to reduce vulnerabilities in the design and provide security solutions that are woven in more naturally.

With an existing space or simply to test your existing security protocols, we can provide insight with security compliance audits and facility and campus security assessments to support long-term planning.

Q. Key skills for a Security Specialist?

A. As Security Professionals, we deal in probability to shape appropriate mitigation measures. Data and analytical skills are a must.  While completing an on-site assessment or conducting an audit of existing security measures, attention to details is critical. Those with malicious intent are adept at exposing even the smallest vulnerability.  Proactively thinking of options to reduce crime and understanding where vulnerabilities exist is important to developing a comprehensive security response.


Q. Why is Security Risk Management different at AE Works?
A. What sets AE Works apart is that we’re an integrated building design and consulting firm that offers a holistic approach to security. In the event of a building vulnerability, we have an ability because of our in-house architecture and engineering capabilities to go further in our impact analysis.  As practicing architects, engineers and physical security professionals, we understand the domino effect of facility vulnerabilities. Our team has the knowledge and experience to support physical security surveys with facility and code requirement analysis. For example, if there is requirement for HVAC analysis or data center backup power, our engineers can look at a system and bring their understanding of air flow distribution, electrical requirements and other system needs to strengthen our physical security analysis.    


AE Works Manager of Planning + Strategy, Tiffany Haile, AICP and Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP, Security Risk Manager presented on this topic at the October 14-16th PA APA Conference in Erie, PA.  Their session entitled Creating Safe Environments–Integrating Planning, Design & Physical Security focused on how physical security and planning can be integrated to solve the challenges of today’s increasingly complex needs for built environments.

A recap from this session will be posted next week along with more on how Planning + Strategy and Security Risk Management can add value to your project.   Have questions or interested in learning more now? Reach out to our team at aeworksinfo@ae-works.com

Read more about how Security Risk Management and Planning + Strategy can support your project:



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