January is that time of year when every security and facility professional should be giving a good hard look at their company’s risks, vulnerabilities and liabilities over the past year to better identify strategies in 2017 for a safer and more productive work environment.
For 2017, here are the top three security concerns that companies should be paying attention to:
The prevalence of disease outbreaks, particularly in African nations, as well as the global Zika virus fallout continue to call for vigilance on the part of the World Health Organization of the United Nations, Center for Disease Control, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organization for Animal Health and other organizations within the public and animal health sectors. The biosecurity profession, plays a critical role in combatting these.
Most onlookers will cite the issues of social unrest which can and have accompanied disease outbreaks. Indeed, the economic turmoil and, in some instances, panic which have ensued as the result of public health crises are security concerns in and of themselves. Special attention on the part of security professionals, however, needs to be given to mitigating against malevolent adversaries who would attempt to divert and weaponize pathogenic strains in efforts to carry out subsequent global attacks. We need only look at the August 2016 arrests in Kenya of Mohamed Shukri Yerrow and Abdulrazak Abdinuur, who were detained on suspicion of trying to obtain anthrax for use in large-scale biological terrorist attacks.
Biological security necessitates careful, prudent and thoughtful planning to mitigate such attempts. Once a biological weapon is introduced, it is no longer within the realm of biological security, but rather infectious disease and containment specialists. In other words, prevention of biological attacks is achieved through measured biosecurity programs inclusive of consultation by doctoral-level microbiologists, biochemists and molecular biologists, along with leading authorities in threat assessment and vulnerability analysis.
Cloud technology continues to evolve as an efficient business solution through the storing and accessing of data and programs via the Internet – anytime, anywhere. Yet, this efficiency carries a heavy caveat in that it provides a single place where all personal and professional data can be compromised. Careful assessment, consideration of the pros and cons and effective planning strategies need to be incorporated by companies considering “a move to the Cloud” or which already use it.
As security professionals, we live in the world of assessment and analysis, so let’s consider a few key vulnerabilities. First, implementation of Cloud technology can be accompanied by a host of serious issues, such as outages. Even the best providers deal with this despite maintaining high maintenance standards. And then there’s the security issue. When a business chooses to the Cloud, it surrenders information to a third-party service provider and puts itself at potential risk. As with many ventures in business, such decisions need to be made after careful vetting and due diligence of a potential provider. Furthermore, Cloud computing data centers are typically prone to attack, so this means your
company could be vulnerable to external cyber threats and attacks. Nothing on the Internet is completely secure and hence, there is always the lurking possibility of sensitive data being compromised.
With over 115 attacks recorded globally in December 2016 and 15 attacks as of January 4, 2017, terrorism continues to rear its ugly head in society as the force to be reckoned with by security professionals and communities at-large.
Soft target attacks have become almost the norm and modus operandi for lone-wolf actors who seek to use large gatherings and non-weapon means to terrorize groups of people. The weakening of ISIS efforts in Iraq have incited an increase in this type of attack. The security professional must utilize the community at large to gather intelligence and make assessments based on available factors to identify bona-fide threats. Communities need to play their part in maintaining awareness of behavior, as identification of radicalization and potential activity based on that radicalization often lies in the hands of friends and family closest to a would-be malevolent individual. The bottom line continues to ring clear that “if you see something, say something”. The security professional should be building and utilizing protective intelligence programs within his/her sphere of influence to bolster anti-terrorism efforts.