World governments can only do so much to protect its citizens from disasters, both natural and man-made. And while there is absolutely no guarantee that everyone will be protected, as can be seen in the recent spate of attacks on soft targets in France as well as the United States, corporate entities are placed at a strategic position to afford some kind of protection for their invaluable resources. Whether you believe it or not, corporate entities produce more than three-quarters of the world’s economic output.
Every year, economic losses due to man-made disasters and natural calamities amount to a few hundreds of billions of dollars. These losses could have well provided the funds necessary to bolster relief efforts in famine-stricken countries as well as help in the rehabilitation of war-torn societies. Alas, a great majority of these losses are attributed to lawless elements, criminal organizations, as well as terrorist groups.
And while many would believe that the Islamic State’s call to step up the attacks on soft targets all over the world, particularly those closely connected with the US, is particularly distressing, what many fail to understand is that criminal activities purely unrelated to terrorism accounts for a greater portion of economic losses. Cyber-attacks, smuggling, cargo theft, human trafficking, and drugs and arms smuggling among others clearly expose the security vulnerabilities of everyone in the free world. Although there is no way security in soft targets can be ascertained, corporations and companies that play a major role in moving the wheels of economic progress can initiate measures intended to turn its being a soft target into a hard target.
Becoming a hard target simply means that there are layers upon layers of security features and protocols meant to screen, identify, and mitigate security threats. Corporations and business entities have the responsibility to protect their own invaluable resources – their assets, their people, their infrastructure, and their systems and processes. It is thus imperative that corporate entities work together with their respective governments in the operationalization of global security initiatives. Public and private sector partnerships are crucial in the prevention and mitigation of economically-devastating events, be it man-made or natural.
These often start with an awareness and realization of the threats posed by today’s geopolitical events in the overall survivability of economic enterprises. Corporations need to realize that acts of terrorism as well as criminal activities will never cease in much the same way as natural disasters will keep on pounding man’s everyday life. With such realization comes the impetus to initiate measures to make the soft targets into hard targets.
Transforming soft target into hard targets require knowledge of the design and development of comprehensive and truly effective security programs that take into consideration all aspects of the business enterprise operation. Reviews and audits that are designed to expose vulnerabilities in the existing infrastructure can provide the basis for the identification of security issues. This can lay the framework for the development of policies, systems, and procedures as well as technologies that are designed to improve the overall security of the company.
Additionally, devising a comprehensive mitigation and recovery plan in the event of a breach in security can hasten the management of such incidents. While it may take a considerable length of time to design and develop truly meaningful security systems, corporations may well do good to create mutually beneficial partnerships with government agencies and other organizations. They may provide the necessary legal framework upon which the overall security infrastructure can be based upon.
The need to protect employees, physical assets, and corporate information is something that all corporate entities today must face. As criminal organizations, lawless elements, and terrorist groups are becoming crafty with their methods, it is evident that corporations have the responsibility to step up their game in terms of becoming hard targets for these groups.