31 Event Security Questions You Should Be Asking

Jill Anonson

secured padlock on a tech background

From your attendees’ perspective, everything at your event falls into place, as if by magic.

There’s plenty of great food, the speakers know just what you want to hear about and the venue is easy to navigate. The security guards monitor the entrances and the security badges provide an additional level of safety.

Of course, from an event planner’s point of view, that seamlessness requires an incredible amount of work.

It’s an event planner’s role to make sure that everyone’s experience is conducive to learning and enjoying an all-around great experience. It’s up to them to ensure all the dominoes fall just as they’re supposed to.

But if just one of those dominoes didn’t fall quite the way you intended, the impact could be huge. A buffet mistake is one thing—running out of soup isn’t the end of the world—but an event security slip-up can be incredibly costly to your company and your attendees.

According to a Global Business Travel Association survey, nearly 30% of companies reported their organization didn’t have a risk management plan in place or were unsure if there was one. Additionally, 13% found their plans ineffective after the March 2016 Brussels attacks.

For the 1.8 million meetings and events that occur in the U.S. each year, faulty event security is a real threat.

If you’re planning an event, ask yourself these questions to ensure the security of your event attendees, your data and your business’ financial investment is well-kept.

What You Need to Know About Physical Security at Events

  • Prioritization. Are you giving attendee security and safety the same meticulous consideration you give other elements of your event?
  • Interaction between guests. How will you manage conflict between guests? How will you eliminate event attendee harassment?
  • Outside intruders. What steps will you take to prevent outside disruptors from gaining access to your event? How will you handle the situation if they do?
  • Medical response. How will you handle event participant medical concerns?
  • Destination considerations. Is there anything about your destination that could imperil the health or wellbeing of your people? Is your event near any countries that pose a threat?
  • Contact information. Are you prepared to reach participants’ family members or loved ones if anything happens?

Related: 8 Critical Issues to Discuss With Your Security Team

What You Need to Know About Information Security at Events

  • Data collection and encryption. Are you aware of and comfortable with the data targeted for collection? How about the way it is collected and how it will be used? How will data be encrypted when stored and in transit?
  • Network security. Do you have a VPN? Will staff and attendees use different networks?
  • Physical access. Will you use security measures such as ID badging to prevent unauthorized people from entering?
  • Third-party security. Are your technology suppliers using third-party services to collect attendee information? What are those companies’ security measures?
  • Confidential data. Are you restricting confidential data to the people who need to see it? How are you destroying or disposing of sensitive information at the end of the event?
  • Social media. Do you have social media policies in place? Are they appropriate and applicable to your event?

Related: Ensuring Event, Incentive and Recognition Program Data Security

What You Need to Know About Financial Security at Events

  • Rates, deposits and payment schedules. What’s the contracted attrition rate of your event? Have good faith deposit amounts and a reasonable deposit schedule been negotiated?
  • Cancellation and force majeure. How are cancellation terms being handled? Are force majeure (unforeseen circumstances that impact the ability to fulfill a contract) up to date with global health and wellbeing threats?
  • Confidentiality. What confidentiality protections do you require? What confidentiality protections do your guests require?
  • Insurance. Do your hotelier and third-party suppliers have adequate insurance? How will you obtain and manage your partners’ insurance certification?
  • Legal liability and dispute resolution. Are mutual indemnification and hold-harmless terms part of your agreement? How will you resolve potential disputes?

For travel and event professionals, the political, economic and environmental landscape continues to create unforeseeable new global risk(s). 

But that risk can be successfully mitigated, and the ability to design and deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences in all corners of the world is a reality with a comprehensive, flexible approach.

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Jill Anonson

Jill Anonson

Jill Anonson has over 20 years of diverse experience in event management, incentive travel and sales strategy, and serves as the Events Strategy Advisor at ITA Group. Focused on continuous improvement and challenging standards, she consults clients and team members with impactful strategies and innovative ideas that deliver successful business outcomes. She is a Certified Engagement Practioner, and certified through Pragmatic Marketing.