Black Swan ts: Opening new responses to emerging security needs.
Year 3 - Week 20
ISSN 2603 - 9931
Every security process relies on preventive and reactive variables, but mostly it must be based on operational capabilities distributed on a specific terrain as to develop on-the-spot solutions during emergencies and environmental changes.
After years providing these services for companies on local basis, assuming the provision of a response for the emerging needs to guarantee the safety of these same corporate travelers abroad seemed a natural step in our commitment with our clients: this response has come in the foundation of our specific Travel Security division, Black Swan TS, which, as GrupoDC Solutions, looks for providing customized solutions to our customers anywhere in the world and under any circumstances.
Risk assessment, risk management, physical and logical security, protection of assets and individuals, access control, mitigation, or reputational and business continuity are some of the concepts in the “common tongue” of the Security Business. But as new security threats have emerged in the last decades due to a globalizing and decentralization process, new responses are mandatory and need to be provided. In this new environment, overseas travel is an integral part of almost every modern business, with all the security and liability concerns that it may imply for organizations. The Duty of Care, classically focused on onsite workplace, has been in this way broadened from the office to offsite business travels where employees must be protected also outside the workplace, especially when these travels take place in increasing volatile environments affected by instability. In this sense, companies may find themselves vulnerable without appropriate risk assessment and security management and face dangers to their staff and litigation cases if the employee on travel is nor provided with the required level of protection according to the destiny of business. Travel Risk Management, in this sense, appears to be an increasingly needed element to integrate in companies’ security planning as a tool which will provide a preventive measure against omissions in the employees’ safety, but also a valuable source of information in matter of business decision-making process or investment in uncertain or unstable territories.
Some of the most neglected aspects that might be considered as a lack of compliance are the whole lack of a travel policy which omits safety and security altogether, a policy which treats unequally employees based on levels of seniority, lack of information and training for employees both in general and specific destiny travels risks, and the lack of a record of who have been trained or advised. To a greater extent, flaws as companies who doesn’t test its crisis management plan regularly, who doesn´t include safety and security considerations as part of travel procurement nor door-to-door approaches, leaving to chance aspects as airport-hotel transportation, or who have got not a fully-mapped travel risk management might lead to liability issues connected to the neglection of the principle of Duty of Care.
An effective response to these issues is an effective travel policy. Some steps to consider are the following:
Destination risk assessment. It must review in detail the destiny to achieve an integrated safety for the staff. Although previous feedbacks about the same destiny are useful, they are inaccurate, since the security environment is dynamic and continuously changing. The assessment should apply for all destinations and to include the full range of risks, such as: 1) armed conflict, terrorism or political instability, cultural differences and interaction of local population with foreign travelers, 2) hotel and transportation safety, including a door-to-door safety plan foreseeing car services over taxis and public transportation, 3) medical and health considerations as the possibility of medical evacuation in environments with poor healthcare systems, or 4) definition of channels of communication –open, private or secure- to guarantee information security but also 24/7 open channels in case of emergency.
Traveler risk profiling as prevention of issues due to the own traveler nationality, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation in specific regions. It I important to know if the traveler speaks the local language, if he has any hostile environment training or medical issues, and once considered all this aspects, traveler should be provided with a briefing about the destination risks and, in high risk areas, special training.
Threat intelligence monitoring, a key element both to develop the risk assessment and to detect early warnings of security issues in the destiny that may affect the traveler, such as political uprisings and instability. Monitoring global and local news, social media and intelligence digest are useful tools, but the main aspect is to count on flexibility to readapt schedules and procedures according to the changes in environment: a terrorist act would probably call more attention, but petty crime or demonstrations might be equally disrupting. To mitigate all these possible factors there is a need of an integrated strategic and tactical intelligence analysis model including local, national and regional levels is mandatory, set over a network of both information gathering agents on the field and intelligence analysts to implement the whole intelligence cycle with a client-driven approach.
Security and Crisis planning before and during the travel, including multiple points of contact on 24/7 basis during an emergency, with well brief contacts during the trip and how to handle possible problems according to pre-set protocols with enough flexibility as to provide a response plan and to face unforeseen circumstances. If needed, companies must be ready to rely on professional services of executive and close protection for the traveler, with specific knowledge of the terrain, guaranteeing the aforementioned door-to-door support and safety, especially assessing possible onsite risks as rogue groups, unsafe roads or non-recommended neighborhoods.
Travelers debriefing or feedback as to absorb the lessons learned from previous travelers experiences into the assessment process.
Based on these preventive and reactive premises, we are starting an amazing new line of work based on our fundamentals set more than two decades ago working on security, with experience as our greatest feedback and relying on a team of experts, analysts and security operators from different international backgrounds which are the backbone of our capability to develop tailored responses to each client, goal and environment, from training to compliance and from assessment to implementation on the terrain.
Welcome to our new project, in the end integrated in the same core idea of working for a safer world.