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Security & Consumer Protection

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Security has vaulted to the forefront of everyone’s mind in our modern world, but the topic is so broad as to be nearly incomprehensible. Each individual is concerned with specific aspects of security. These concerns are influenced, for better or worse, by factors such as direct personal experience, family history, gender, education, health issues, living conditions, neighborhood, friends and family relationships, religion, financial status, job security, news media, advertising, government activities, crime, technology, and world events including manmade and natural disasters.

Adding to the confusion relating to security issues are two factors: emphasis and perception. Everyone places a different emphasis upon specific security matters, with this emphasis shifting from day to day. Furthermore, our perceptions of real, potential and imagined security threats are easily altered and, alas, often manipulated. Our perception and emphasis regarding a specific security threat can change dramatically with the occurrence of a single event, even when that event is unlikely to ever affect us directly or be repeated within our lifetime. A car crash, a burglary, unexpectedly losing one’s job, a sudden illness, the death of a friend or family member, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster — all of these represent life-changing events that may forever alter our security concerns and the way in which we conduct our daily lives.

Unfortunately, far too many people do not reflect upon aspects of their personal or family security until a crisis is encountered, at which point it may be too late to do anything but endure the consequences. In many such cases, pausing to consider the possibilities (referred to in security parlance as risk assessment or threat assessment) before engaging in an activity or failing to take a specific action might be all that is necessary to eliminate or mitigate risk. In other situations, sadly, a risk assessment is performed but a wrong decision is reached because risk factors were unknown, were underestimated, or were ignored. This reality introduces the concept of acceptable risk, a cornerstone of any properly functioning individual, organization or society.

Acceptable risk may seem like an oxymoron. In point of fact, it is necessary to assume some degree of risk when performing any activity. Without engaging in a process of acceptable risk, we would be in a state of paralysis and society would be unable to advance or even function. The question then becomes, “How much risk is considered acceptable?” When this question is answered correctly, we are rewarded for our efforts and, on a macroscale level, society advances. When the answer is incorrect, accidents or man-made disasters occur. The BP oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico is an all too tragic example of the latter, with risk assessment apparently having been relegated to the back burner.

The keys to properly evaluating a situation or a threat and deciding whether the risk is acceptable are knowledge and common sense. Once risk factors have been properly and adequately assessed, two courses of action are available. The first is risk avoidance; a decision may be made not to perform a given activity. Cancelling an outdoor sporting event when thunderstorms and lightning are expected is an example of risk avoidance. The second course of action involves reducing the risk, known as risk mitigation. Earthquake retrofit is a prime example of risk mitigation. Donning gloves before pruning your rose bushes is a less obvious but more personal example. Financial planning is a method by which one can mitigate their financial risk.

So, do you know how to locate resources that will aid you and your family in an emergency or, better yet, before a crisis arises? Do you know whether a particular threat is real or only perceived? Do you know what you can do now to help assure your safety and peace of mind for the future?

The purpose of Ten Spider™ Security & Consumer Protection is to offer resources you can use to make informed decisions and to take action to protect your family, home and future. As security is a constantly evolving topic, we would like to know your security concerns and what resources we can provide to lessen those concerns by helping you make informed risk assessment decisions critical to the health and welfare of yourself and your loved ones. If you are a security expert, please consider contacting us to contribute to this effort.

Authored by Kenneth L. Anderson.  Original article published 2 August 2008, updated 8 July 2010.

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