Introducing the Vulnerability Self-Assessment toolkit - VSAT

The Business Continuity Forum, National Counter Terrorism Security Office and VSAT
VSAT - Vulnerability Self Assessment Toolkit
In February, the Continuity Forum and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NACTSO) launched a major new tool to help organisations simply and quickly assess and understand the vulnerabilities of their organisations.
In front of an audience of very nearly 250 people Lord Reid, former Home and Foreign Secretary and one of the most distinguished parliamentarians of recent generations, the Deputy Mayor, Richard Barnes, who chaired the London Assembly 7/7 report and Sir David Veness, one of the most distinguished counterterrorism experts in the world stood alongside the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and Russell Price of the Continuity Forum to launch VSAT, the latest resource designed to help build resilience and create continuity.
The Vulnerability Self-Assessment Toolkit - VSAT, has been developed to be an easy to access and simple to use way for organisations to assess where they may be exposed to security and continuity threats and suggest ways of addressing them.
The system directly delivers advice and guidance enabling organisations to clearly see the areas they need to work on to improve their security and resilience. Managed under the auspices of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office though local police resources, VSAT levers the national network of Counter Terrorism Security Advisers (CTSA) who work within police forces across the UK delivering free expertise and helping to substantially improve the resilience and security of our communities.
During the morning the audience heard from each of the speakers who shared their extensive experience. Each presentation clearly illustrated the challenge our society faces, not just from security threats, but from wider disruption and the general messages strongly reinforced the need for greater responsibility and action to secure our communities. Examples were given of the threats faced and the harm caused when they materialise, with many illustrations of the measures that organisations can take to help substantially reduce the risk from terrorism.
That though was not the whole story, strong and repeated references to the huge value to be gained from improving and connecting the security and business continuity processes were made, as was the fact that far too few organisations had really acted to address the issues.
The audience comprised many of the countries leading businesses and professional groups, along with many specialists working in the field. The reaction to the messages and capabilities of the VSAT system was extremely positive, especially once they had had a chance to see VSAT working live in a ‘hands-on’ environment.
Building on the success of Project Argus and Project Griffin, VSAT is a major step forward for the UK in helping organisations understand the roles they have to play in ensuring the safety of our communities from terrorism threat.
The online system asks users around 30 questions and based on the responses delivers an impartial assessment of the areas that need addressing within the organisation.
VSAT has been in development for nearly 18 months and the Continuity Forum has worked closely with NACTSO to ensure the system is accessible to as wide a group of organisations as possible. The system is suitable for organisations of all sizes and does not require any specialist skills or knowledge. 
For smaller organisations the VSAT system, which is free to use, delivers expert, up-to-date guidance directly to the user in the form of the final report. This report is intended to be used as the basis for improvements the organisation should consider.
For larger multisite organisations VSAT can be configured on a group basis that enables Security and Continuity professionals to distribute the tool across the various sites they are responsible for. This enables a consolidated view across all of the locations and enables priorities to be promptly and accurately identified. 
The Continuity Forum is also providing further support to organisations on any Business Continuity or Security issues raised. 
Our hope is that over the next 12 months 50,000 organisations will use the VSAT system and from the reaction of those present and the subsequent feedback we believe that a very firm foundation has been laid to achieve this goal.
To access the VSAT system please contact your local CTSA by clicking here and for more resources that will help you create a more secure and resilient organisation visit our Security and CT Portal.