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Pillars of good practice

The risk of misuse of biological agents can be reduced or even avoided altogether by putting security measures in place. These measures can be divided into eight pillars of good practice and are intended to protect biological agents and acquired knowledge or technologies.

Eight pillars

The eight pillars that are important for the protection of biological agents are as follows: awareness, personnel reliability, transport security, information security, accountability for materials, response, management, and physical measures. These subjects are also relevant to biosafety but require a slightly differently assessment than when used to tackle biosecurity. Each pillar is explained separately, and specific tips and good practices are provided.


The biosecurity self-scan toolkit is in the form of a questionnaire with questions relating to each of the eight pillars of biosecurity. The answers you fill in, will give you an indication of of the current level of biosecurity in your organisation. In some pillars there may be a statutory basis that has to be complied with, but as there are no legal frameworks in existence in most cases, good practices such as those described in the Laboratory Biorisk Management Standard (CWA 15793:2008) and the KNAW Code of Conduct for Biosecurity are provided instead.