Magazine article Security Management

How Can Companies Tackle Terrorism?

Magazine article Security Management

How Can Companies Tackle Terrorism?

Article excerpt

The security manager must both gather intelligence about terrorism and thwart data collection efforts by terrorists.

Of all the threats facing business, terrorism may seem the most daunting for security professionals because of the broad nature of the threat and the difficulty of getting senior managers to focus resources on such a remote problem before specific threats emerge. Security managers can overcome these problems, however, with the right strategy.

The ultimate objective of terrorism countermeasures is to prevent an event from materializing. Understanding the nature of the threat is an important step toward that goal. (Hardening the target and making contingency plans for events that do occur are also important steps, but they are not the focus of this article.)

The security manager should begin by assessing whether the company is already being targeted or by whom it may be targeted in the future. The next question is how and when such an event might take place. Information, technology, and old-fashioned creativity are the weapons in this battle.

Information. The security manager must consider both the need to gather intelligence about terrorist activities and the need to thwart information collection efforts by terrorists who will want to learn about the company. As for the former, the company should take advantage of its access to sources made available through law enforcement agencies. Information that can help the company identify a terrorist is of particular importance. Law enforcement agencies can, for example, sometimes provide information that a particular individual is in the area or has privately made certain threats.

With regard to information about the company itself that might aid the terrorist, the company should take appropriate security measures to make it difficult for terrorists to obtain current and reliable information that can be used to carry out terrorist activity. Information to be safeguarded would include plans about the facility's operations or layout, information about security, and personal information about executives' activities.

The security manager should stay in touch with people who work at the city administration building and planning departments or other appropriate municipal departments or agencies so that he or she can be made aware if someone is examining architectural drawings of company buildings. A plan of action should be in place so that an appropriate follow-up investigation can be conducted of any person found to be collecting public information or taking photographs of company property.

Technology. Technology can be a great help in evaluating the threat potential as well, and the tools need not be exotic or expensive. CCTV, for example, can be an important tool.

Terrorists commonly conduct some type of surveillance of a target early in the planning stages of a proposed event. To increase the chance of detecting this type of activity, cameras should be placed at locations that appear neutral but that may be used by a terrorist to watch the company property or the access to the property. For example, if there is a rest area or overview that can be used to look down on the company, then that apparently innocent location should be covered by company CCTV cameras.

Cameras should also be set to surveil public and private roads leading to the property to monitor the arrival and departure of employees. These cameras should be placed at distances significantly beyond the view of the property. The purpose of placing cameras in neutral locations is to photograph terrorists at a time and at a place where they have no reason to suspect that they themselves may be the target of a covert surveillance operation.

The idea is often carried forward to monitoring the movements of visitors who enter the work site. Metal detectors and particle identification devices may be turned so that the visitor is unaware that the alarm has been triggered. …

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