The global focus, and local reality
The security environment that large companies face is book-ended right now by two momentous and historical events.
On one end is the rise of domestic extremism, on display most potently during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. On the other is the human tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, along with the personnel, global security, compliance, and supply chain risks that have arisen from it.
With those events in mind, I want to highlight findings from our 2022 State of Protective Intelligence Report, of which I think there are important takeaways.
In the survey, which was taken before Russia invaded Ukraine, we asked security, compliance, and legal executives “what kept them up at night.” Nearly one-third, 32%, cited rising extremism, social and political issues while 28% said that “management is predominantly focused on global risk and supply chain security issues so mitigating location-specific physical threats is not a priority.”
In another question, 86% of respondents agreed with the statement “my company prioritizes security as it relates to geopolitical issues, supply chain risk and the global threat landscape but mitigating potential local acts of violence at offices or other company locations in the U.S. is not a priority.”
What’s clear now is that many companies are assessing the security risks in Ukraine and Russia, wondering how and when to get their people out, how to protect their supply chains, how to comply with sanctions and how to manage reputational risk associated with those companies with continued business operations in Russia. As a former special agent, rest assured that any American businessperson operating in Russia today will come under enhanced scrutiny and surveillance by the Russian intelligence services.
This raises the question: have security, legal, and compliance professionals been worrying about the wrong things?
I’d say no, but this is a good moment to discuss ways that these teams can help executive teams identify risks, and to broaden the risk conversation within the organization.
For large enterprises, markets are global. And many in the C-suite arrived at their positions after years of extensive travel, complete with the occasional foreign posting.
So it’s no surprise when strategic security concerns are global. In the C-suite, strategic threats like geopolitical crises, trade policy, and supply chain disruption are the priority and can be a strategic threat to the business. Failure to prepare for global shocks and regional conflicts can have drastic consequences for business continuity.
On the other end of the bookshelf, public confrontations over COVID restrictions, and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol presented U.S.-based security teams with a new dimension of threats and domestic political violence that had not been seen in this country since the 1960s.
The takeaway is that the threat landscape is dynamic: security, risk and legal teams need to engage in dialogue across the organization to identify threats, whether they emerge on a global scale, and at a local level. Ongoing conversations across the organization – with the technology to facilitate them – is the key to developing a fuller risk and threat profile.
To learn more about these findings, download the 2022 State of Protective Intelligence Report.