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In this Article

Implementing an Operational Requirement Process in Your Organisation

28th March 2024
In this Article

Operational Requirements or Statement of Requirement (SOR) assist organisations in enhancing their security posture by providing a structured framework to identify, articulate, and address specific security needs based on the risks they face. Organisations can better allocate resources, implement effective security measures, and mitigate potential vulnerabilities by defining precise security requirements through Operational requirements.

By the conclusion of the process, an organisation will possess a well-defined, prioritised inventory of protective security suggestions that cover various security areas. These recommendations are designed to complement each other, resulting in a more robust security outcome through an interdisciplinary approach. A systematic and comprehensive assessment will bolster any business proposal, offering compelling evidence for the necessity and effectiveness of the proposed security measures.

HZL Specialist Solutions has been delivering training and operational capability in protective Security since 2007. HZL staff excel in physical Security, offering a comprehensive range of protective security services and expertise in physical penetration testing. Our team provides tailored solutions that fortify defences, mitigate risks, and enhance security posture through a strategic blend of protective measures and rigorous testing protocols.

Understanding Operational Requirement Processes

The operational requirement process in security refers to the systematic approach of identifying, analysing, and defining the specific operational needs and capabilities required to fulfil security objectives effectively. This process involves evaluating the security risks, assessing existing security measures, and determining the resources and strategies needed to mitigate those risks and enhance the overall security posture.

The significance of the operational requirement process in security lies in its ability to:

Identify Security Gaps: By conducting a thorough analysis of operational requirements, organisations can pinpoint areas where security measures are lacking or ineffective, allowing them to address vulnerabilities proactively.

Optimise Resource Allocation: Understanding operational requirements helps allocate resources efficiently to meet security needs without unnecessary expenditure or gaps in coverage.

Enhance Preparedness: By defining operational requirements, organisations can effectively ensure they are adequately prepared to respond to security incidents and threats, minimising potential damage and disruption.

Improve Decision-Making: Clear operational requirements provide a foundation for informed decision-making regarding security investments, policies, and procedures, leading to more strategic and adequate security measures.

An organisation must establish transparent governance and oversight of protective security management systems to manage security risk effectively. As risk owners, senior leaders should deeply understand the fundamental principles of protective security to steer strategic decision-making. Stakeholder engagement and security risk assessment are crucial in facilitating informed decision-making for optimal security measures.

Key Steps in Process Implementation

The process of producing the Operational Requirement (OR) would typically involve the following steps:

Complete the Operational `Requirement or Statement of Requirement template.

  1. Splitting up a site (defining the geographical areas for consideration)
    1. Beyond the boundaries or perimeter
    2. Perimeter
    3. Inside the perimeter
    4. Buildings
    5. Assets
  2. Defining the risks and mapping to the areas under consideration and agree the risks for each area.
  3. Identify and develop a suite of protective security recommendations to address the risks. Identify the risk, whether Physical, Personnel, Technical, or Cyber, and how the principle of deter, detect, delay, and respond can be implemented.
  4. Assessment of protective security recommendations (regarding the likelihood of success) would be measured against a set criterion and recorded in terms of importance to the site.
  5. Have the risks been mitigated by the protective measures?
  6. Implement the security measures?

When carrying out the site risk assessment and evaluating the effectiveness of the measures in place, it is important to record as much detail as possible. The template would have four main headings.

  1. Area: below this heading, identifying areas to be checked would include:
    1. Beyond the boundaries or perimeter
    2. Perimeter
    3. Inside the perimeter
    4. Buildings
    5. Assets
  2. Risk: the risk is noted for each of the areas assessed
  3. Recommendations: the security recommendations would be identified for each area assessed
  4. Effectiveness of the measures in place: are these met / partially met or non-in-place

After the Operational Requirement template is completed, a Security recommendation template will be completed to identify the mitigations that cover the layer principle beyond the perimeter of the asset. These would cross-reference with whether the measures in place deter, detect, or delay the attack and whether the site can respond in time to prevent it from continuing.

Involving stakeholders through workshops can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Operational Requirement Process. By organising stakeholder workshops, buy-in from relevant parties is encouraged, and a broader spectrum of ideas can be explored and evaluated. A well-structured and facilitated seminar will likely yield a robust Operational Requirement (OR), ultimately improving protective security outcomes. The key personnel to consider as workshop attendees include:

  • Security Manager
  • Security Team
  • Human Resources
  • Facilities Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • CTSA
  • Budget Holder
  • Health and Safety Lead
  • Director/Head of security/safety/resilience/corporate risk
  • External stakeholders 

HZL's Approach to Operational Requirement Processes

The security operational requirement process can be employed when conducting a physical penetration test to ensure a comprehensive and practical assessment. 

  1. Define Objectives: Clearly outline the objectives of the physical penetration test, including the specific areas or assets to be tested, such as buildings, data centres, or restricted areas.
  2. Identify Security Requirements: Identify the security requirements that need to be met for each area or asset being tested. This may include access control measures, surveillance systems, alarm systems, physical barriers, and employee awareness and training.
  3. Conduct Risk Assessment: Perform a risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and threats associated with the physical security measures. This will help prioritise testing efforts and focus on areas with higher risk.
  4. Develop a Test Plan: Develop a detailed test plan outlining the specific tests to be performed, the methods used, and the expected outcomes. Ensure that the test plan aligns with the identified security requirements.
  5. Execute Penetration Test: Conduct the physical penetration test according to the test plan, using a combination of social engineering techniques, physical bypass methods, and technical attacks to test the effectiveness of the security measures.
  6. Document Findings: Document all findings and observations during the penetration test, including any vulnerabilities, weaknesses, or successful breaches. Provide clear and detailed descriptions to enable the organisation to understand the impact and potential risks.
  7. Analyse Results: Analyse the findings to identify root causes, assess the impact, and determine the effectiveness of the security measures. This will help prioritise remediation efforts and improve the overall security posture.
  8. Report and Recommendations: Prepare a comprehensive report that includes a summary of the findings, recommendations for remediation, and suggested improvements to the security operational requirements. Provide clear and actionable steps to enhance physical security.
  9. Follow-up and Remediation: Collaborate with the organisation to address the identified vulnerabilities and implement the recommended improvements. Regularly communicate and monitor progress to implement the necessary security measures effectively.

By following this process, the security operational requirement process can be effectively integrated into a physical penetration test, helping to identify weaknesses in physical security measures and providing valuable insights for enhancing overall security.


The security operational requirement process is vital for an organisation's security. It enables a comprehensive assessment, risk mitigation, regulatory compliance, effective resource allocation, incident response preparedness, continual improvement, stakeholder confidence, and integration with business processes. It forms the foundation for a robust and proactive security posture.

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