By Peter Cahill, CEO, Kinetic Global formerly LifeLine Response
The threat of terrorism is always present and always evolving and, as a result, so must the approach to corporate security. No longer can companies rely on traditional security measures to protect their employees, facilities, and assets. In today’s environment, corporations must be proactive in their approach to security and adopt comprehensive strategies that include physical, technological, and HUMINT.
Physical Security Measures
The first line of defense against any terrorist attack is physical security. This includes measures such as access control (i.e., controlling who has access to the facility), locks and alarms, surveillance cameras, and perimeter fencing.
In the past, terrorist groups typically targeted high-profile symbols of Western power, such as government buildings or large public venues. Now we are seeing a shift to so-called “soft targets” such as nightclubs, religious gatherings, and corporate facilities. This change has made it more difficult to protect potential targets, as there is no definitive list of potential targets that corporate security teams can focus on defending.
To be effective, physical security measures must be constantly reviewed and updated. For example, in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, which we are approaching 23 years ago, many companies increased the number of guards at their facilities and installed lockdowns and metal detectors. However, as terrorists have become more sophisticated in their methods, these types of measures are no longer enough. I’m seeing a shift towards more sophisticated technologies such as biometrics (i.e., iris scans to identify individuals) and artificial intelligence (i.e., using algorithms to detect patterns).
Technological Security Measures
In addition to physical security measures, it is also critical to adopt a robust set of technological security tools. I like to suggest Kinetic Global’s Critical Event Management Platform but admittedly I’m biased. This includes things like risk intelligence, intrusion detection systems, incident management, and certainly a robust mass communication platform. In many cases, these tools can be purchased individually, but clearly, a robust platform like Kinetic Global, which contains all these tools in a single platform, should be considered. These solutions are designed to protect your company’s assets, including facilities, travelers, and employees, from risk coming in the form of both physical and compromised information which aim to cripple your operations.
One of the most important technical security measures is employee awareness training which we can now do through online training. In today’s environment, it only takes a moment for an incident to occur. It’s so important for employees to know how to spot potential threats and what to do. 2022 report polls suggest that HR is very nervous about introducing this training, yet it’s as important as fire drills and arguably more important. We all recognize when they introduced lockdown drills into our children’s schools we all had moments of contrition but knew it was needed. Similarly, budgets will expand in 2023 to include more employee security training.
Human Security Measures
Last but not least, it is essential to have strong human security measures in place. This includes screening all employees and contractors (insider threats are growing) before they are hired, performing background checks (not popular with HR teams) on vendors before they are allowed on site, and having a policy in place for reporting suspicious behavior.
It is also important to have crisis management teams in place who are trained on how to respond in the event of an incident. These teams should rehearse various scenarios (e .g., active shooter, hostage situation, bomb threat, etc.) so that they are prepared for anything that might happen. In addition, it is critical to have good communication channels between senior management and front-line employees so that everyone is on the same page in case of an incident.
The bottom line is that businesses must now take a comprehensive approach to security that includes physical, technological, and human elements. No longer can businesses rely on traditional security measures alone and have siloed and fragmented solutions. With the threat of terrorism always evolving, companies need to stay ahead of the curve by constantly reviewing and updating their security procedures. They can only hope to protect their employees, facilities, assets, and reputation.