Global events in the past decades have highlighted the need to protect laboratories and the materials they contain from being intentionally compromised in ways that may harm people, livestock, agriculture or the environment. It is important to understand the distinction between “laboratory biosafety” and “laboratory biosecurity”. Laboratory biosafety is the term used to describe the containment principles, technologies and practices that are implemented to prevent unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins, or their accidental release. On the other hand, laboratory biosecurity refers to institutional and personal security measures designed to prevent the loss, theft, misuse, diversion or intentional release of pathogens and toxins. A simple formulation to assist in differentiating between biosafety and biosecurity issues is that biosafety protects people from germs while biosecurity protects germs from people. Effective biosafety practices are the foundation of laboratory biosecurity activities. Through risk assessments, performed as an integral part of an institution’s biosafety programme, information is gathered regarding the type of organisms available, their physical location, identification of the personnel who need access to these organisms, and those responsible for them. This information can be used to assess whether an institution that possesses biological materials that might be attractive to those who wish to use them inappropriately. Therefore, set of standards should be developed to address the responsibilities of institutions to protect specimens, pathogens, and toxins from misuse. A specific laboratory biosecurity programme must be designed and implemented in each facility.