Asset protection is the basis for everything that a protection officer
does. It is the core function of the protection officer’s job.
Asset protection can have different meanings and functions depending
on the approach to protecting the asset, its location, and even the
type of asset.
Asset protection has been practiced for millennia, whether it
was protecting the Roman city with night sentries patrolling the
streets, to placing valuables into a modern safe.
The most visible and easily recognizable form of asset protection was
the medieval castle.
The castle was built to protect an asset, be it the king or ruler, a
precious metal such as gold, or as a point from which to help protect
Castles initially were quite basic, but as the risks escalated, they came
to employ additional layers of protection such as a moat, drawbridge,
or defensive positions.
1- Asset protection begins with defining what the asset is.
2- There may be one asset or many assets.
3- An asset can be a person or people; a physical entity such as a
building or plant; an object such as a painting or a gold bar; or a
concept such as a formula or design.
The ASIS International General Security Risk Assessment Guideline
defines an asset as:
"Any real or personal property, tangible or intangible, that a company
or individual owns that can be given or assigned a monetary value.
Intangible property includes things such as goodwill, proprietary
information, and related property. People are included as assets."
The asset must have some type of value.
The value of the asset could be a real value, such as a gold bar being
worth a set amount of money based on the weight of the bar and the
current price of gold.
The value of the asset could be based on what it would cost the
company to replace it.
The most intangible valuation of an asset would be in what is referred to as “reputational
damage” — the loss of the image of a company or consumer confidence in a company.
Reputational damage can occur through major theft of customer information, a
senior executive being injured or killed, or the brand name of a company being
tainted through inferior “knock-off” products.
The loss of reputation is difficult to calculate because things such as unrealized
sales are nearly impossible to determine.
While it is not necessary to have the actual value of an asset on hand at any one
time, the value of the asset must be known prior to the implementation of
any protection program and reevaluated periodically thereafter.