Convention and Event Security

Top five safety and security tips for corporate meetings

The landscape of safety and security in the context of meetings and events has changed dramatically in the past few years. Beau Ballin, with Minneapolis-based CWT Meetings & Events offers five safety and security tips that every corporate planner should adopt.


Perform a risk assessment and develop an emergency action plan
Effective safety planning starts with a risk assessment to determine the event’s potential threats. This includes evaluating the location of the event, the venue and its safety and security policies, the profile of the event, and the number and profile of the attendees. 

With this information, planners can begin to document an emergency-action plan and collaborate with corporate and venue security representatives. Planners should request evacuation plans, document the location of emergency exits, and create crisis communication and contingency plans should power or cellular connection become disrupted. Also, planners must have a medical-support plan with information and proximity of hospitals, including their specific locations.

Build safety and security into the event budget
Dependent upon the risk assessment and the profile of the event, additional security personnel may be required on-site. In addition, the event may require or benefit from enhanced registration technology and having satellite phones on-hand in addition to IT security and support.

Remember IT support does not equal IT security
Data security and brand management is perhaps the most significant risk an event faces independent of size or profile. Corporate planners often assume that having IT support from their organizations or supporting production companies has them covered. Remember that the goals of IT support are to provide access to the network and ensure that attendees have the appropriate bandwidth. IT security is about limiting access and putting protocols in place that mitigate risk during your event.

Re-evaluate event credentialing
Often the most overlooked element of event security is the effective use and management of credentials. It is important to have on-site staff trained to look for credentials and to limit access to only those with the appropriate badging. It is equally important for an organization to evaluate the distribution of credentials. Overstating the obvious, but displaying name badges on a table in an alphabetical sort exposes an event to significant risk.

Enlist expert advice
Above all, corporate planners should seek expert advice. There are numerous security organizations and event-management companies that specialize in security and safety. These experts understand how to evaluate needs and limit risk. Planners should also ensure that these organizations are adequately insured.