As we kick off 2019, we want to highlight 8 trends – not only in the U.S. but also around the world – that we believe will drive best practices in security risk management, threat and violence risk management, investigations and private client services this year.

Join us on Thursday, January 24, 2019 from noon to 1 p.m. CST for a live webinar I’ll lead along with Hillard Heintze’s most senior experts. We’re going to dive deeper into a few of these trends that specifically impact the priorities of the C-suite — including Chief Security Officers — Directors of Security or any leader responsible for risk, legal, information technology (IT), Human Resources (HR), operations and facility performance. Click here to register for the webinar.

2019 Security Risk Management Trends

Trend #1 — Acts of Domestic Terrorism by Right-Wing White Supremacists and Homegrown Extremists Likely to Increase

Since 9/11, our nation has feared jihadist threats and acts of violence from radical Islamist terrorists and other ideologically driven extremists. These threats have driven the United States to become more resilient and steadfast in its resolve to confront and defeat threats from abroad. Now, 18 years later, much of the political rhetoric would have you believe that foreign terrorism is still the dominant threat confronting our nation today. That’s not the case. America’s homegrown, far right-wing white supremacists and other fanatics motivated by hate, fear and extreme political ideologies have increased in number, influence and audacity over the last two years and now present a clear and present danger to our domestic tranquility and peace.

Former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi said, “The current political rhetoric is at least enabling, and certainly not discouraging, violence.” Of the 263 incidents of domestic terrorism in the United States between 2010 and 2017, 92 – or a third of these – were committed by right-wing attackers while just 38 – or 13 percent – were committed by Islamist terrorists, according to the Washington Post.

As we publish this blog, our government is in a state of flux. We find ourselves at a standstill. We have no budget or presence of a plan to find compromise. As our nation’s political leaders across parties appear unable to work together for the country’s benefit, hate-driven violence is on the rise. Time and again, history has shown that extreme and divisive political discourse – as we have today in the U.S. – fuels and inspires hate-driven violence. While the jihadist threat to our nation is real and still a concern, 2019 is setting up to be the year that far right-wing white supremacists and homegrown extremists have waited for to spread their hate-driven acts of violence across their homeland.

Trend #2 — The Top Corporate Security Priority for 2019 Will Be Preventing Violence in the Workplace 

 In 2019, establishing an effective program focused on both workplace violence prevention and insider threats will become a new global standard for corporations and government agencies and will be increasingly required by law in many countries.

  • Insider Threat Programs: Many organizations, particularly financial institutions and certain government contractors, with existing workplace violence policies and procedures will use them as the foundation for building their insider threat programs.
  • Training and Awareness: Just as the security risks confronting work environments constantly change – from corporate headquarters and shopping malls to factory floors and data centers – so too are workplace violence prevention and insider threat protocols constantly evolving. Organizations will continue to place a higher emphasis on customizing curriculum development and training on workplace violence prevention policies and procedures.
  • Employee Perceptions and Expectations: With additional shootings and their associated media coverage, employees will become more vocal in seeking assurance that they are sufficiently protected in the workplace. We expect to see these concerns shared with greater frequency in company meetings, employee interactions with HR personnel and comments submitted to corporate suggestion boxes. Consequently, the goal of workplace violence prevention will expand to include not just ensuring appropriate office security but also contributing to the business drivers of high employee job satisfaction, recruitment, retention and morale.
  • Law Enforcement Response Procedures: Law enforcement will continue to train officers and communities on active assailant response and recovery, but agencies will remain challenged with prevention and taking action before an explicit threat or an incident has occurred.

Trend #3 — Corporations, Individual Owners, Commercial Architects and the Advertisers Associated with Stadiums, Arenas and Convention Centers Will Begin to Take a More Strategic Approach to Security Risk Management

The competition between professional sports stadiums and television for viewers continues. Stadiums are adopting new technology, offerings and exclusive in-park features to delight fans who may increasingly choose to stay home instead of attending games in person. As a result, stadiums are being designed or retrofitted to maximize their identity as a destination whether it’s a game day or other event.

However, in too many cases the design team’s emphasis is on guest experience, design aesthetics, brand presentation and (gate) revenue. Typically missing – whether in the presentation of their services or the experience of their personnel or partners – is a sufficiently prioritized focus on security, risk mitigation and fan safety. As stadiums invest in their fan experience offerings to increase stadium attendance for gate revenue growth, these same offerings increase the stadium’s risk exposure. A packed stadium with a packed outer perimeter could be an attractive target for those with criminal intent.

Key stakeholders involved are professional sports team owners, stadiums (including arenas, convention centers, performing arts centers and amphitheaters) and big-brand corporate sponsors that attach their names and reputations to these facilities, teams and events. This year, we expect to see these stakeholders increase their awareness of the ‘security imperative.’ We predict they will incorporate a strategic security perspective much earlier in the stadium design or retrofitting process and continuously across the annual or seasonal operating cycle after construction. Key focus areas will include, for example, extended perimeter security with geocentric open-source intelligence collection and monitoring, counter-sniper planning, counter surveillance and blast assessment.

Trend #4 — More Executives and Affluent Families Will Seek Cybersecurity and Protective Services Customized to their Corporate and Family Cultures

A recent Wealth Management article, “Security Risks for Wealthy Families Are on the Rise,” suggests many affluent individuals and families are not prepared to respond to targeted incidents and potential threats. We expect more executive leaders and affluent families to adopt security measures traditionally in use within the corporate environment.

  • More Information and Insight into Protective Options: Continuing a multi-year trend, senior executive leaders as well as individuals with means and their family offices will demand more information and insight into their options to better protect themselves and their family members through enhanced cybersecurity best practices and protective strategies at home, at special events, in transit and during international travel.
  • Balancing Privacy, Risk and Convenience: Affluent individuals will continue to place a premium on customizing security to their family’s unique culture and lifestyle – and balancing their personal priorities across privacy, risk and convenience.
  • Corporate Security Directors Will Expand Their Reach to the Executive Residence: Corporate security directors are beginning to transfer some corporate security measures to executive residences within their portfolio of responsibility. These include measures such as secure connectivity on a 24-hour basis to the corporate security operations center (SOC), enhancements to residential intrusion detection systems (IDS) and integrated communications and monitoring systems that deliver warnings of dangerous events, automate response programming and information essential to avoiding or escaping the threat.
  • Emphasis on Integration of Approach to Cyber and Physical Security: As the sophistication of residential security continues to rise, families will need to engage technicians adept at integrating cybersecurity and physical security measures to protect family members, information and assets.
  • Growing Focus on Assurance of Family Security: Since prevention – and crises averted – are hard to measure, executives and affluent families will continue to place a premium, as they do when purchasing insurance services, for example, on issues such as contingency planning and building continuity for families, client service excellence, the professional credentials of the advisory team and the reputation of the firm.

Trend #5 — More Wealth Managers Will Engage Trusted Security Advisors for Value-Added Services

In 2018, the risks, threats and vulnerabilities associated with wealth took center stage for many financial advisors. Today, our growing roster of partners among the professional advisory firms that focus on investment counsel continue to report an increase in the number of their clients seeking guidance and information on how to address not just financial risks, but also cyber risks based on their online footprint and activities, as well as the security of their family and assets at home, in transit and during travel.

In 2019, we expect many more wealth management and advisory firms to seek relationship-based services and support for their clients from experts who can address an integrated spectrum of client demands – from information management and identity theft prevention and response to residential physical security, home emergency preparedness and planning, and travel safety.

Trend #6 — Middle-Market Businesses Will Bear the Brunt of Cybercrime and Intrusion in 2019

As large enterprises spend millions on cyber defense and protection, we predict cybercriminals will increase their targeting of under-protected, middle-market entities. Organizations in this bracket are less capable of keeping up with the high costs of maintaining and integrating solutions across the five critical drivers of top-tier cybercrime and intrusion prevention: (1) technology, (2) policies, (3) procedures, (4) testing and (5) training. Failing to address all five dimensions creates critical risks, threats and vulnerabilities that represent attack vectors for cybercriminals.

Furthermore, if middle-market businesses continue to assume the risks of cybersecurity – i.e., adhere to the mantras “it won’t happen to us” or “we are not a target” – they are highly likely to experience a breach and risk loss of data, compromise of systems or a ransomware incident. Enterprises such as Target, Home Depot and Sony have been able to survive highly publicized attacks because of financial resources and resilient market share. However, as noted by Inc. Magazine, 60 percent of small business fail six months after a cyberattack.

Trend #7 — M&A Activity Will Continue to Drive the Demand for Pre-Deal Due Diligence

Analysts expected 2018 to be a big year for merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, and as Forbes reported in December, it was. In fact, M&A activity in 2018 is estimated to be the second highest on record in terms of deal value, with $2.72 trillion worth of transaction across over 13,000 deals worldwide this past year, according to Forbes. M&A activity is projected to continue to be strong and even increase year-over-year in 2019 due to a number of factors, including both economic and demographic circumstances. One Deloitte survey found that 76 percent of corporate executives and 87 percent of private equity leaders reported that they expect an increase in the number of deals in the coming year. As a result of this increased deal activity, there will be subsequent growth in the need for pre-transaction due diligence, much like what we saw in 2018.

Trend #8 — Investigations into Allegations of Wrongdoing – At All Types and Levels of an Organization

Whether it’s a headline stemming from the #MeToo movement or allegations involving members of the clergy or within other industries and organizations, one can’t read the news today without finding an article reporting on charges of sexual misconduct. Many of these reports involve allegations against those in positions of leadership, authority and trust. We expect internal investigations stemming from these types of allegations to continue to increase in 2019, particularly as boards and executive teams observe the serious financial and reputational impacts incidents have on other entities. Employees and others are emboldened to step forward to make public statements or lodge complaints; this will result in an increase in similar types of claims – such as whistleblower allegations or other types of charges – that, in turn, will drive a need for more internal investigations.

What’s on your security risk management agenda in 2019? What trends are you seeing?

How are you preparing for this year? How we can help inform you – or support you? As you pull your plans together, here are several steps you can take to better manage security risks in 2019:

  • Register for our webinar “Top Security Risk Management Trends That Will Shape Your 2019 Priorities” and join us for an hour on Thursday, January 24, 2019 from noon to 1:00 p.m. CST.
  • Subscribe to our newsletter and tap into our weekly stream of blogs on issues at the forefront of security risk management, threat and violence risk prevention and investigations.
  • Follow Hillard Heintze on LinkedIn and join our community of like-minded executives and professionals responsible for ‘protecting what matters.’
  • Reach out to Howard Fisher, Esq, who leads our Strategic Relationships team and initiate a discussion on what your security priorities are and how we can help you. Howard can be reached at (312) 229-9882 or howard.fisher@hillardheintze.com.
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