Standards Australia has been contributing to Australian life for nearly 100 years. The growing emphasis on a secure society is placing more and more of the organisation’s projects into the security sector. With this comes a focus on areas of traditional security standards as well as the need to be innovative in responding to the needs of the sector, including developing standards at an international level.
Standards in the Sector
A number of projects in the security sector are at different stages of development.
Building increased security
The physical security of buildings has been the focus of a recent proposal approved by Standards Australia, which will result in a handbook to guide those responsible for managing the security of a physical premises.
The handbook, Physical Protective Security Treatment for Buildings Handbook, is intended to collate resources and directions of existing guidance. Ideally, the handbook will provide advice to facility managers to proactively minimise the risk of security incidents and not just react to threats as they arise.
Examples of physical security threats considered in this handbook include vehicle attack, bombings and armed attack, among many others. Given the nature of these incidents, it is vital for those responsible for security and design to be proactive in keeping a facility and its occupants safe.
The handbook will serve as an expert guide for security professionals to use in assessing and determining risk mitigation activities. While impossible to completely eradicate risk, all available guidance being in one place is a step towards the security industry being provided a clear direction on as many challenges as possible, backed by experts.
Scaled up security
All of the complexities of security are intensified when it comes to managing a crowd. More large-scale events are taking place in Australia and, with recent deaths and major incidents, it is plain to see the industry need for guidance in all aspects of crowd management.
Standards Australia is working with industry stakeholders to develop a handbook, SA HB 183 Crowd Management for Crowded Places. The handbook intends to replace the common industry practice of using guidance not designed for the Australian context, including from Europe and particularly the United Kingdom, and give those responsible for managing crowds a one-stop document to help plan and respond to concerns relating to crowds.
The handbook aims to work with industry to address the key issues of crowd management, being:
- egress and dispersal
The proposal identified a lack of planning and implementation before events as a key factor in injuries and fatalities at previous incidents. This risk was made even more prominent in terms of risk assessment and emergency management procedures, which will feature in the handbook being developed. Some of the focal areas are:
- definitions and terminology
- purpose of a crowd management plan
- risk assessment and identification
- roles and responsibilities
- crowd demographics and behaviour
- site design
- communication and information
- emergency and incident management
The document will be structured in a way that gives the end-user clear guidance and practical steps to increase security when dealing with crowds. Industry and government representatives have already come together to form a committee and work with Standards Australia to push this handbook towards publication. As is common practice for Standards Australia, before it is published there will be a period of public comment to ensure the entire security industry, and the broader community, has a chance to influence what this handbook will look like in its final format.
Organisations of every size and across every industry are placing a growing emphasis on cybersecurity. A number of international projects have been undertaken to respond to this growing threat, resulting in the development of a series of International Standards, ISO 27000.
The ISO 27000 series provides best practice recommendations on information security management within the context of an overall information security management system. Standards Australia has been working at an international level to encourage more countries to adopt the use of this standard, meaning the global digital economy will be better protected against the risk of cyberattacks.
An International Perspective on Security Standards
Standards Australia has long been involved in the development of international standards, with security standards being a field of heightened activity of late. With a secretariat responsibility of a Technical Committee for the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), TC 292 Security and Resilience, Standards Australia played host to the international gathering of this committee earlier this year.
Sydney hosted 130 experts from more than 20 countries for meaningful dialogue on the international effort towards security standards. This was a particularly timely meeting for Australia with government and the private sector currently working towards enhanced security and resilience across a number of common areas.
A wide range of conversations took place, with some of the topics discussed being:
- continuity and organisational resilience
- protective securities architecture and framework
- emergency management
- community resilience
- security terminology
- fraud risk and countermeasures
Once the meetings came to an end, the delegates returned home to discuss what next for their respective countries. For Australia, forums are planned to bring industry together and discuss what is of highest importance to Australia; however, there was also one particular piece of international work allocated to some of the Australian delegates.
One of the resolutions of the meeting was to develop a project team based on Australian work to study the terms security and resilience. Two Australians will lead this work, following on from their initial research and presentation of a draft whitepaper to the Technical Committee. The document is to be presented at the next meeting in Norway at the end of 2018 and will be used to assist in defining and contextualising these terms in all ISO TC 292 documents. This group will also coordinate with the United Nations’ Cooperation Group to refine urban resilience.
While international work can often appear to be long conversations with little gains, it is a huge achievement to be able to have so many international experts in Australia developing guidance around best practice for the security industry.
With interest already shown by a number of government agencies and some of the largest security firms in the world, this meeting has a lot to deliver, but with some of the leading international experts involved there is little doubt it is all achievable.
Not your Traditional Security Standard
Despite working nationally and internationally to develop standards for traditional areas of security, there is also a project being pursued in a field adjacent to the security sector, but one which will directly impact a large number of security professionals across the industry.
The issue of employment screening was the centrepiece of a forum recently held in Melbourne. With a change in the nature of work in Australia, there is a clear need for the standards in this space to change with it. One of the early identified areas of change is the shift from a methodology approach to one based on principles. The need to ensure participants in an organisation’s entire workforce, not just those deemed as ‘employed’, was also an important discussion in moving the standard forward – taking account of Australia’s changing workplaces.
The increasing role of data security and privacy was also discussed as needing an update. This work is in very early stages, but it has drawn the attention of a number of key stakeholders from government and the private sector – all of whom are eager for the standard to be progressed quickly.
Having been around for over 96 years, Standards Australia has seen changes in every sector and the standards being published have changed as a result. The security industry is one of many arenas in which technology is drastically shaping its future, and Standards Australia remains committed to addressing the traditional areas of security practices as well as the new and exciting areas open to the industry.
Visit www.standards.org.au for more information on any of the standards mentioned in this article.