Threat assessment technology has become commonly available on the market in recent years, from drone technology and computer analysis software to other technical tools.

This is due to the wide variety of suppliers that created competition market pricing according to Alan Saquella, CPP, Professor of Security and Intelligence at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and former Security Director at Cox Communications.

Technologies aiding threat assessments

With these market shifts, corporate budgets can reach farther than in previous years due to virtual collaboration capability and the decrease in market prices of security technology.


Expanding the security manager resources by utilizing personal handheld tablets to take advantage of virtual report writing and note-taking through cloud-based services allows a team to communicate quicker when conducting assessments, surveys and audits. Tablets can be cross-utilized for operating drones, measuring distances, viewing maps, taking photos, writing assessment notes, creating presentations and reports, as well as communicating in real time with team members and clients.


Drones produced today have longer flight time, higher quality aerial imaging and mapping, and lower consumer costs for commercial and private drones than in previous years. These tools can be operated from smart devices and launch in minutes, stated Saquella. Many consumer drones have the capability to download video and photos directly to the device that is controlling it. The ability to quickly download footage to a smart device allows for the security professional to analyze and share images with members of team and contracted security integrators. Drones are a valuable night survey tool as they help show lapses in lighting on a large facility to a specific area of concern. Understanding and following local, state and federal laws is a requirement to using drones. Taking classes, earning certifications and obtaining licenses are highly recommended and is sometimes necessary to best utilize drones when conducting threat assessments, stated Saquella.

Light meters

Light meters can be implemented in threat assessments to complete night surveys. This tool helps show if a facility meets industry standard for lighting. They can be best utilized when paired with drones to look for exterior facility lighting vulnerabilities and saves an assessor time when conducting an assessment.

Radio frequency devices

Radio frequency (RF) devices allow for open-source physical penetration testing of access control systems. Understanding and using RF tools during the threat assessment process can help better protect their organization against readily available devices. These tools can be used for physical security penetration testing to show the ease of access and exploit potential vulnerabilities within access control systems. To better protect a facility and write a quality threat assessment, it is necessary to understand the ease of breaching access control systems with tools that are widely available to the public, Saquella stated.

Cloud software

Online cloud services allow for file sharing and editing in real time across desktop computers, phones and tablets. These file sharing services cut down the turnaround time that it takes to author a report and share results. Many of these cloud services also host video conferencing applications that help better connect with team members leadership.

GIS mapping

Desktop geographic information system (GIS) mapping software can allow threat assessors to generate maps using open-source and user-provided data. User data can be in the form of drone mapping/imagery or location data provided by the surveyor. For example, lighting maps of a facility can help show what lights need to be replaces or added. Understanding, reading and creating maps is a useful skillset to have when conducting facility threat assessments.

Crime mapping

Crime mapping webpages are a great collection source for open-source intelligence (OSINT). Understanding the crime in the area surrounding a facility can help tailor the threat report and recommendations. Analyzing local crime trends helps the assessor and the client gain a greater understanding of a facilities’ security needs.


Protecting cyber equipment physically and virtually while securing a building’s wireless infrastructure is a valuable part of a physical threat assessment. Many access control devices and camera systems operate within facilities’ wireless networks. Protecting physical security equipment from virtual threats makes the facility more secure. Understanding basic cybersecurity procedures and being up-to-date on cybersecurity resources is vital in recommending security improvements to organizations.

The advancements in security technology reduce the time of the threat assessment and report writing process and can lower the cost of the assessment. There is no substitute for up-to-date industry knowledge of technical security products that are available to end-users.

Saquella says, “Security leaders should always look for opportunities to test new security devices to enhance the security posture and thwart emerging threats.” Bad actors will look to exploit weaknesses, and it is our duty to stay ahead of their bad intentions, said Saquella.