One of the Monday morning sessions at #ERC2014 covered various elements of security and risk management. Starting off with Trygve Lauritzen, the Head if Security and Operations at Munch Museet, Norway, followed by Simon Mears a Security  Consultant from Denmark and finishing with Pascal Matthey, from XL Group, Switzerland.

This was a extremely useful session. For many registrars these outlined threats and risk assessments are known, however, speaking to attendees after the session we all felt this was a useful refresher which reenforced to us how very real these threats are and the importance of why do things the way we do. Importantly we were also given glimpses into future possible risks to be aware of.

As experienced security professional and working at the Munch Museet Trygve gave a very practical and relevant talk on security for a museum registrars perspective. This talk was structured around  four main points – transport security, general threats, future threats and document security.

Transport Security: provided some good statistical information behind his case studies, including the points where art is at most risk which is while in road transit and in a stationary vehicle.  Art is 1000 times more at risk during road transport than it is in airfreight. Trygve also stressed the importance of  planning transport routes, overnight stops, back up plans if your truck is running behind schedule and where breaks will be made. Also, stressed the importance of agents drivers to be fully briefed on contingency plans -i.e. if pulled over do they know what to do,  eg Trygve firmly suggests that in such instance drivers should not fully open their windows, even if pulled over by police, as there are cases of fake police hijacking. For these and other such instances there should be clearly set out communication for the drivers, including numbers of the the relevant police / security staff.  Munch Museet security for transit includes sealing the doors of trucks with unique numbered seals which are checked at point of departure and destination to show they have not been tampered.

General Threats:Following transit, organised crime is our biggest threat, whereby art can be used as payment. We need to be vigilant to ensure insider information has mot been exposed, consistent routine instructions which all staff are instructed on.

Future Threats:Our future threats include the continuation of organised crime which may become more violent, infiltration via insiders, tampering of GPS and surveillance systems.

Document Security: stressed the importance of document security as part of our overall security strategy. The following should, as we know as registrars be treated as confidential and be protected – values of art, names of the owners of art in your possession, transportation times. At Munch Muset document security is part of IT security and strategy, whereby protected documents are encrypted through a strong password.

Simon Mears presentation was based around Grasp, which is a standard or risk management to further safeguard collections and artefacts for the future. It is a standard used by Lloyds European Insurers but is also now widely used by institutions. Grasp came about following the Momart warehouse fire and Munch Museet theft and was started in 2005, at which point 24 unwritters supported this standard.

Grasp itself works through a detailed tailored assessment of over 1,200 questions and takes approximately 3 hours to complete. It is in a yes or no format. Grasp uses a holistic approach to risk assessment, looking at natural environment, buildings, political environment and management. The latter should include disaster planning, training of staff on what to do in the event of an alarm, access and key controls. For museums this assessment would also specifically look at admissions policies and procedures, private functions, event staffing and food service whereby fire is an element of risk. In developing its work with institutions, Mear informed us that through Grasp they are working with various government indeminity schemes, and looking at common bench marks.
An underlining concern that Grasp has identified are the growing number of loans and shortage of secure suitable storage facilities.

The final part of this section on security was presented by Pascal Matthey. This section concerned itself with holistic risk management specifically for museums. Simular to that of Grasp assessment, through an holistic approach, the risk families identified as part of a risk register were – natural hazards, internal and external ie transport and stragical.

When undertaking this assessment Matthey told us first to consider the context, then assess the threats (risk drivers), audit your existing profile, determine extent if the risk and then respond to mitigate risks through moreover treatment of these risks. Worse case loss should be considerd when undertaking this risk assessment, the Maximum Foreseeable Loss or the MFL, is the largest monetary loss that may be expected from a single incident at any given point. So it is best to look at points of maximum exposure.

When undertaking a risk analysis of internal and external threats using brainstorming top risks are theft and robbery, then fire. When undertaking the assessment think about what that individual or persons would need to do to get physically into the building , what skills, knowledge and equipment would they need.

When however undertaking a risk assessment of natural perils, the threats a less predictable. 90% of incidents are caused by electrical or technical failure, in such cases the MFL can reach 100% loss. The final threat Matthey briefly mentioned was terrorism, but this now an unlikely risk.

Matthey also showed ERC audience other risk assessment models, including one based on probability, whereby the idea is to slice risk down into separate, manageable parts. Here the main risk elements are fire, water and theft. With this risk model, the areas where these risks are likely are mapped out onto a plan of the institution. For instance with water risk is most likely in the basement or roof from leaking or flooding, with fire, consider what would burn first and where would it start and how easily would it travel? For theft it would be the most attractive work. Using this model allows a more likely MFL model.

Samantha Cox
UKRG web officer
Registrar, Tate St Ives