Let’s face it: Security is a huge area and can be overwhelming to think about. We can do a quick inventory in our head of what we think is secure for our facility, but we’ll likely miss some items. That’s where formal self-assessments come in. They are a structured set of questions that we fill out, that can help identify any gaps in security. Then, once identified, gaps can be worked through to address.
One such tool is the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – Houses of Worship Security Self-Assessment. This tool is designed to guide personnel at houses of worship through a security-focused self-assessment to understand potential vulnerabilities and identify options for consideration in mitigating those vulnerabilities. This self-assessment is a first step in building an effective security program. It is not intended to be an in-depth security assessment. After completing this process and addressing preliminary findings, houses of worship personnel may consider pursuing more detailed security assessments to explore specific issues in greater detail.
Houses of worship can use the results of this process in many ways as they partner to improve their security and manage risk. These efforts include prioritizing potential security measures, reviewing best practices and available resources, and developing investment justifications for internal budgeting processes or external grant requests.
The assessment is located here: Houses of Worship | CISA. It can be filled out in a web browser. It’s intuitive and guides you through the process step-by-step. Areas covered by the assessment range from: Security/Emergency Management, Security Force, Perimeter Security/Delineation, Parking and Barriers, Access Control/Easy Control, and Video Surveillance Systems. It then takes your answers to the questions in each of these categories and lists potential vulnerabilities that you have along with options for consideration to address these.
This topic focuses mainly on Physical Security topics. You’ll also want to inventory your Cybersecurity practices and make sure those are up-to-date also which has been discussed in some of my past articles. In my experience, using these types of self-assessment tools has led to uncovering areas that weren’t necessarily obvious, but were important to address. And with security, you want to be thorough!