Written By: Brittney Phillips | October 25, 2021
In general terms, a security threat assessment is a process used to determine the unique security risks and threat levels that a person, a business, or a property faces. There are various types of these evaluations, including cybersecurity risk assessments, physical security threat assessments, and more.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to be taking a look at physical threat assessments as they pertain to the security glazing (glass) industry. These are also known as fenestration security threat assessments.
In the security glass industry, we use this process to help determine a building’s most vulnerable potential entry points in order to upgrade its fenestration security by installing various types of security glazing.
Before we continue, let’s make sure you understand exactly what the term “fenestration security” means. The modern English word comes from the Latin word “fenestra,” for “opening.”
In broad terms, fenestration can mean any opening on a surface, such as a wall or a ceiling. When it comes to architecture, fenestration refers to the arrangement and design of the doors and windows in a building.
So, fenestration security just means the security of a building's openings, or its doors and windows.
Any building’s most vulnerable points are its glass doors and windows. Traditional window glass is incredibly fragile and vulnerable to threats including forced entry, vandalism, rioting, looting, active threat attacks, hurricanes, heavy windstorms, bomb blasts, and other impacts.
What a fenestration security threat assessment does is evaluate the vulnerability of your property’s doors and windows to all of the above threats and determine the best way to improve the building’s physical security by reinforcing its weakest points.
Of course, not everyone’s budget allows for the most expensive, state-of-the-art security upgrades. A threat assessment can help you find the most cost-effective solution that strikes the right balance between effectiveness and affordability.
Threat assessments are always carried out by security experts in the appropriate industry. In other words, if you were to get a cybersecurity risk assessment, a cybersecurity expert would conduct the assessment. When you get a fenestration security threat assessment, a fenestration security expert evaluates your property.
Besides physically inspecting your property for vulnerable openings, the security expert also sits down with you to discuss your security concerns and goals. This helps them formulate a more comprehensive security upgrade plan that is completely customized to suit the unique needs of you and your property.
All types of commercial buildings face security threats on a daily basis, so any commercial property owner can benefit from having a security threat assessment performed. Here are just a few examples of different types of buildings that can benefit from evaluating and upgrading their physical security:
Many of the above types of properties face common security threats, such as forced entry and burglary. However, there are unique risks to every type of property as well. For example, schools and universities may be more vulnerable to active threat scenarios, whereas retail stores might be more at risk of rioting and looting.
This is why it’s so important to get the threats to your unique property assessed by a professional. They can help you determine the probabilities of every risk and recommend the optimal security solutions to mitigate those risks, ultimately protecting your assets and people.
So, now that you understand more about what security threat assessments are and how they work, you might be wondering what types of solutions the security experts who conduct these risk evaluations are.
Well, in the fenestration security industry, there are a variety of products that can be used to reinforce vulnerable doors and windows against different threats. These include, but are not limited to, safety and security window film, security laminates, polycarbonate glazing shields, and security framing.
Traditional solutions include things like bars, grates, and shutters, but these are becoming less and less common as improving fenestration technology makes other more attractive and convenient options affordable and viable.
In almost all cases, we recommend using polycarbonate glazing shields to attain the highest level of security for any property. These glazing shields are not made from glass, but rather from glass-like polycarbonate, which is a type of plastic.
For security applications, polycarbonate offers a very similar surface hardness, appearance, and functionality to glass, but is virtually unbreakable. Because it’s so much lighter and stronger than comparably sized sheets of other types of security glass, polycarbonate security glazing can be retrofitted into or onto almost any existing framing system.
This makes polycarbonate an incredibly cost-effective solution for upgrading a building’s fenestration security because there’s no need to replace the existing glass. Polycarbonate glazing and its accompanying security framing fit right over your existing doors and windows to protect the existing panes of glass from shattering due to impacts.
Polycarbonate glazing shields are available in a wide range of thicknesses and strengths, from non-ballistic, containment-grade glazing (ideal for forced entry and smash-and-grab theft prevention), to ballistic-grade glazing with up to a UL 752 level 8 rating (can withstand a multi-shot attack from an AK-47-style assault rifle using .30 caliber, 150-grain military rounds).
So, no matter what a security expert determines after evaluating the threats to your property, there is a polycarbonate glazing solution for it all. Polycarbonate truly is the ultimate first line of defense when it comes to upgrading your building’s fenestration security to protect against real-life threats.
Contact Riot Glass® today for information about our ArmorPlast® line of polycarbonate glazing shields or to schedule a professional threat assessment.