Security breaches—both physical security breaches and cybersecurity breaches—are too common in today’s world, and it seems not a day of news goes by without featuring some horrible act of physical violence or digital malice. Businesses must protect themselves against all kinds of threats to ensure the safety of their employees, their customers, their assets, and their data. The first step in protecting one’s self and business is to understand the threats as much as possible, while also acknowledging that these threats are evolving continuously.
A recent study by Securitas USA helps provide a basis for this understanding by outlining top security threats and management issues facing corporate America in today’s connected world. The study listed five top security threats for 2018 spanning both physical and cybersecurity, including internet/intranet security, assailant threats, workplace violence, business continuity planning, and mobile technology security.
Internet/intranet security ranked as the top security concern in multiple market sectors, including manufacturing and logistics, healthcare, utilities and telecommunications, and high tech. Business continuity planning and organizational resilience topped the list of security concerns for respondents in finance and insurance, while active shooter/assailant threats topped the list of security concerns in education.
According to the Securitas data, active shooters are now the No.1 physical security threat concerning corporate America. The company’s previous survey, compiled in 2016, first identified active shooters as a viable concern, but this category didn’t rank very high or top any sector’s list two years ago. Perhaps because of this changing nature of security at U.S. corporations, 40% more security leaders now say they report directly to a CEO or president (compared to 2016). This may reflect a perceived increase in the weight of responsibility business leaders bear when it comes to securing the people, places, machines, and devices under their direct and indirect management.
For security managers looking to make planning decisions for 2019 and beyond, the Securitas data suggests budgets will need to be split between cyber and physical security. However, just 36% of security managers involved in this survey expect an increase in funding in the next 3-5 years, while 51% expect relatively stable funding and 12% anticipate a decrease in funding. If businesses want to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, this may need to change. More businesses need to consider increasing security funding in the coming years.
Also of concern, 21 of the 27 threat categories flagged as concerns by security executives in the latest Securitas survey may be caused or carried out by company insiders. Therefore, employee awareness, education, and preparation are hugely important steps in protecting businesses against threats—both physical and digital. Sadly, security doesn’t end with devices, and assets and data aren’t the only things at risk. Active shooter training is becoming common in many organizations, and if yours isn’t already providing this training to employees and executives, it probably should. Security best practices must address both cybersecurity and physical security concerns, and if this means increasing the security budget, it may be worth a discussion.
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