The PEEST Analysis

PEEST

When developing a security threat assessment, a good way to evaluate all of the potential threats is to conduct a PEEST analysis. The term PEEST is an acronym standing for the following five factors.

  • Political/Legal: Stability and capabilities of local government, laws and regulations, public utilities, fire resources and response time, medical resources, disaster assistance, and law enforcement capabilities
  • Environmental: Climate, weather, geological activity, site location, and building design
  • Economic: Financial stability and available resources
  • Social: Historical crime statistics, demographics, population analysis, and other trends
  • Technological: Transportation systems, power systems, or industrial plants

A PEEST analysis provides a framework of macro-conditions affecting an organization and their strategic implications on business operations.  These factors are often beyond an organization’s control and are therefore categorized as potential threats. The factors will vary in importance, based on the specific company, industry, and products/services provided by the organization.  For example, some companies will be greatly impacted by political factors.  Other companies may be more affected by environmental factors, such as a company located on the gulf coast of the United States facing potential disruption from hurricanes.  Each factor must be evaluated within the context of the specific business requirements.  The PEEST analysis allows the risk management team or security provider to evaluate threats on multiple scales, such as local, regional, national, or global.  An organization with branch offices in many different countries or regions of one country will need to conduct a PEEST analysis for each office, as the implication from each factor will change.

Many of these factors have a high level of uncertainty.  Therefore, security professionals may want to conduct scenario planning or modeling exercises to forecast future trends.  The PEEST analysis will need to recognize that many issues may combine to create complex and often surprising results.  Therefore, crafting scenarios and brainstorming outcomes can aid the process in coming up with unique solutions. External consultants are often helpful in developing a PEEST analysis, as they will have differing perspectives and a unique approach to understanding all of the potential threats an organization faces.

Posted in Physical Security, Security by sonictemple at July 16th, 2013.
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