Emerging Issues in Security

Top Ten Security Challenges for 2018 (Part 2)

The new year brings new security concerns, some of which are just different variations on a similar concern. Despite massive federal, state, and local law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and surveillance efforts, lone wolf mass attackers and cybercriminals continue to plague our nation.

gustavofrazao / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Yesterday’s Advisor covered the first 5 items on our security top 10 list. Consider your professional responses to these other potential security challenges, as an in-house employee or outside consultant:

6. Keeping terrorists and their methods from entering or attacking the United States

This continues to be a concern that started after 9/11 and continues until now: “Why have we not seen similar bombings at hotels, subways, train stations, malls, and houses of worship in the United States, as we have seen in other countries? Why haven’t terrorists used the same car bombs here, as we have seen so often in the Middle East? Why have we not seen the same car, van, or truck-ramming incidents, as have happened in Europe?” These questions are hard to answer, other than to say we have seen inklings, as in the attack at Ohio State University in November 2016, where a Somalian immigrant, inspired by ISIS, injured 13 with a knife and his car, before he was killed by a campus police officer. The need for vigilance is constant.

7. Stopping customer information cyberbreaches

Instead of asking which major companies have had major breaches of their customer data (Uber, Chipotle, Equifax, etc.) perhaps it’s easier to ask which companies have not and what practices, procedures, software, and expertise they are using to successfully and continually defend themselves, and that they could share with other companies. Perhaps the U.S. government could create a voluntary membership in a government task force for firms with leading-edge approaches. This group could protect its proprietary data and practices but collectively share what stops these attacks, which are often coming from overseas and from nation-states that are hostile to the United States.

8. Creating new responses to physical sexual harassment

Few issues have created more news stories in recent months than the high-profile people in the news, entertainment, and sports worlds that have been accused of sexual harassment. Their behavior is said to have included physical sexual contact and assaults, not just words or joking. As such, the serious nature of these types of events should call for a joint partnership between the Human Resources and Security Departments, to work together to create better policies, newer and more precise training programs, more accountable reporting procedures and follow-ups, and harsher consequences for employees, at every level of the organization, who make unwanted sexual contact with an employee.

9. Creating a national standard against workplace bullying

Despite the efforts of some state legislators, who seem to recognize the problem of workplace bullying (perhaps better than the federal government entities like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Department of Labor) and have tried to create anti-bullying statutes designed specifically for the workplace, there is no national standard, definition, or federal policy. The state of California has created an “abusive conduct” statute for workplaces, but the definitions are vague, and it needs additional language to make it more comprehensive and understandable. This issue has connections to the sexual harassment concern as well.

10. Creating national licensing standards for security officers

The licensing standards for security officers range from complex (California) to nonexistent (Colorado). Some states require background checks and training programs before unarmed security officers can get licensed. Other states allow security officers to be armed without much oversight or restriction. The industry could improve its overall professionalism by campaigning with security industry leaders (Allied Universal, Securitas, G4S, Guardsmark, etc,) to work with the federal government to create mandated, achievable, and economically viable policies for the licensure of security officers nationwide. We need a standardized criteria for armed versus unarmed officers; hiring and training criteria; a national standard for powers of arrest, use of force; and a requirement for in-service, on-the-job training. This lack of consistency leads to obvious liability concerns and contributes to the public perception of a lack of professionalism.