Magazine article Security Management

History Lessons

Magazine article Security Management

History Lessons

Article excerpt

In War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy wrote that every act, though it seems driven by free will, is "in bondage to the whole course of previous history." His words are apt in the case of the Madrid train bombing, where--although Iraq was the proximate cause--evidence suggests that the seeds of the attack were sown 500 years ago when Spain's rulers forced Muslims from the country. For security professionals, the more pertinent question is what they can learn from the historical motivations of terrorists in assessing the threat against their own organizations.

In Spain, that calculus changed dramatically on March 11, of course. But the recognition that Islamist terrorism has become a real and ongoing threat has not been accompanied by greater funding, only greater pressures, say many of Spain's security professionals. To find out how security directors in Spain are addressing this and other challenges that face both their organizations and their profession, turn to the cover feature, "Is the Sun Rising on Security in Spain?" by Senior Editor Michael Gips (page 44).

Historical motivations have an entirely different meaning in the world of museums and libraries, where irreplaceable books and artifacts in archival collections sometimes bring out the scoundrel in scholars, who may attempt to abscond with the objects of their study. Of course, many thieves are only impersonating scholars. But whether driven by a love of history or mammon, the loss from the perspective of the targeted institution is the same, as Margaret Schroeder explains in "Special Protection for Special Collections" (page 54). Schroeder, head of security at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, looks at the many threats these collections face and at various solutions implemented by her institute and others.

The protection of history has yet another meaning for the security team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), where the focus is on the medical history of patients. The center must secure patient x-rays and other confidential information against unwanted intrusions, while also making sure that the data can be accessed by the appropriate medical staff as needed. To achieve those dual objectives, the security and information technology specialists at CCHMC implemented a new program that dramatically streamlined the process for personnel to obtain access to hospital computer systems. …

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