Just before Easter, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that the U.S. projects on the number of deaths from the virus had declined by nearly 40,000 and that antibody tests are in the works. It would seem that stay-at-home orders are working and while we are far from the other side of this crisis, we can already see how a future pandemic could manifest, and what security professionals will need to prepare for when – rather than if – another one arises.

Corporate Security’s Role in Public Health

As COVID-19 continues to affect nearly every country in the world, disrupt our economies and create turmoil in almost every industry, many corporate security professionals are developing strategies on the fly. Despite recent widespread novel illnesses, like SARs, Ebola and H1N1, most organizations did not have a planned response to a worldwide pandemic crisis.

As states across the U.S. are weeks into government-mandated social distancing, security professionals are doing their part to ensure the safety of others by employing risk management best practices.

5 Ways Security Leadership Can Leverage Their Expertise During a Pandemic

While the current pandemic presents some new challenges, some of what we’re facing can be addressed by reinforcing the following:

  1. Physical security measures are even more critical during shutdown procedures. As large offices and facilities shut down operations and become vacant, the risk of thefts and burglaries increases. Security practitioners need to ensure they have engaged and deployed robust security technology (e.g., access control, video surveillance and intrusion detection). If not already in use, you should engage a third-party uniformed security provider to look after your facility either full-time or part-time or consider partnering with other companies in your vicinity and using a part-time roving patrol. Many companies can temporarily deploy remote security surveillance technology to help keep a watchful eye on business property.
  2. Supply chain security is critical to keep vital goods in the hands of those who need them. As some essential products become more and more scarce, supply chains will be more vulnerable to disruption and can lead to higher incidents of cargo theft (i.e., high jacking loads of critical goods) and even civil unrest throughout the supply chain route. We need to be prepared for and think about security around our goods in storage, shipment, distribution centers and even at the manufacturing sites. We may start to have more insider threats. Corporate security leadership should again think about partnering with local uniformed security providers and deploying security technology. Supply chain security is more important than ever during a pandemic.
  3. Cybersecurity measures should never rest especially during a crisis. The pandemic mindset is a fertile playground for cybercriminals. Fraud, cyberattacks, phishing scams and other opportunistic crimes are now and will continue to be rampant during this crisis. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning about a significant spike in COVID-19-related scams targeting individuals and businesses. We need to be vigilant and continuously remind our employees, family members and the less tech-savvy among us what to watch out for in a suspicious email, text or phone call. The FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provide updates on the latest scams – as do our in-house cybersecurity experts. Forbes even set up a site to track COVID-19 scams. Security leaders need to partner with their IT counterparts to take a holistic look at security for the company.
  4. Security training is more important than ever now and just because employees are working from home does not mean companies cannot conduct online security training. It’s always a best practice to provide security training for employees, but the coronavirus pandemic has fostered new risks that should be addressed. For example, in addition to the cybersecurity and insider threats I discussed above, experts warn of increased workplace and domestic violence. We have worked with several clients to conduct security training in the virtual environment. As our experts talk active assailant preparedness or another topic, viewers from across the globe can listen in, watch the presentation and interact with the presenter. Take advantage of potential employee free time and provide security training resources to your employees.
  5. Security intelligence is key to any good emergency management plan. Corporate security leaders know they need access to good, trustworthy intelligence and information. As we shift our precious security personnel around or are forced to furlough personnel, security managers could consider partnering with outsourced resources to provide geopolitical intelligence. Many companies can provide reliable, up-to-date security intelligence to your security teams and business leaders.

A sound emergency management plan should now account for all that you’re continuing to learn throughout this pandemic. Our team of experts has been your trusted security advisor in good times and are at your shoulder now. We have security and emergency management professionals at the ready should you need counsel in this difficult time.