In recent days we have faced terrorist attacks in Europe. The US uncovered a plot to attack government offices in Washington. Raids in Belgium and German foiled attempts by extremists to attack police and civilians. Each day we read in the news about homegrown terrorists or individuals that have been radicalized.
These events are no longer isolated incidents. We all need to increase our level of security awareness. Corporations need to ensure employees report suspicious activities and have a process in place to evaluate. Business travellers might find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. We need to train them on how to deal with and respond to potential attacks and hostage situations. For those responsible for executive security, ensuring your team has the resources and training will become increasingly important. Not only do we need to focus on travel but also it is important that event planners ensure that security measures are in place at venues. Keep in mind that many venues offer security support. In some cases it is handled very professionally and in others it is not. Ensure you fully understand what you are getting.
Recently I spoke to two clients that had tabled active shooter training in the past 12 months. In both cases, human resources overruled security, as they did not want employees to feel startled. Due to recent events and employees questioning security about why nothing was being done to prepare employees, the decision was overturned and the employees are now receiving active shooter and security awareness training. We need to stop worrying about scaring employees and focus more on today’s reality. This does not mean training needs to be over the top. Finding a balance is key.
Decision-making around security expenditures needs to be taken out of the hands of finance. This does not mean there is no level of accountability. All too often a recommendation reaches finance and without discussion, the budget proposed is dramatically reduced. I recently completed an audit and one of the recommendations was for perimeter fencing. When the proposal was reviewed it was decided to cut the budget in half, which allowed for fencing on only 2 sides of the property leaving the other 2 sides exposed. Those with ill intentions only had to walk around the fence. Why have any fence at all. This is a simple example that displays a lack of understanding. The good news in the end was a member of the executive team elected to take security’s recommendation.
We are now all potential targets of extremists at home and at work. Having a well-resourced plan and ensuring we all become more aware is key to our future security.