I am honored to have been selected as a speaker at the RSA Conference, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. The conference, which draws in more than 45,000 attendees per year, making it the world’s largest provider of security events, connects attendees to industry leaders. It is one of the best resources for exchanging ideas, learning the latest trends and finding the answers to many hot topics in security. In my session, I addressed the very relevant and one of the most talked about topics: radicalization in the workplace.
Radicalization in the Workplace: The New Challenge for HR and Security Leaders
Security professionals around the world are trying to understand how to deal with this critically important issue. Through our daily work with clients, we have observed that the majority of corporate security departments today are not sufficiently prepared, informed or knowledgeable about how to address radicalization in the workplace – including extremist behavior of many types potentially leading up to, and including, acts of terror.
One of the key challenges that HR and security executives, as well as attorneys, will confront more frequently in 2018 is the risk of radicalization in the workplace and the vital need to discern between constitutionally protected free speech on issues such as religious beliefs, gun rights, right-to-life, racism, animal rights, ultra-right or ultra-left activism, and environmental activism versus violent extremism. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, violent extremism is defined as “encouraging, condoning, justifying or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social or economic goals.”
Identifying Radical Thinking at Work Requires Connecting the Dots
Research into insider cyber sabotage shows that the behaviors associated with workplace violence are nearly identical to those in insider cyber sabotage cases. Therefore, familiarity with warning signs of radicalization can help identify employees at increased risk of either workplace violence or sabotage of your company’s networks, information or products.
Knowing the warning signs of radicalization can help identify employees at increased risk of either workplace violence or sabotage of your company’s networks, information or products.
In 2016, we highlighted radicalization within the workforce as an emerging issue for employers throughout the United States – and presented extensively on this at major events sponsored by industry leading associations such as the International Security Management Association (ISMA), the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO) and ASIS International (formerly the American Society for Industrial Security).
Securing Work Environments: No Need to Re-Invent the Wheel
This field is expanding quickly and I will be sharing guidance and insight coming from federal law enforcement and academia. The good news is that we don’t have to “re-invent the wheel” when it comes to addressing radicalization in the workplace. Mature security departments have already established threat assessment teams as a core program and system aimed at identifying and preventing persons with the means and interest to commit an act of violence at the workplace. It is a best practice that has been written about extensively throughout the security industry and in the educational realm.
Look for more to come in the weeks ahead, as our firm disseminates best practices and investigative tools for companies to recognize warning signs of violent extremism, just as we have for terminations, domestic abuse in the workplace and untreated mental health issues. Rest assured there is no need for a new forum, it already exists in your threat assessment team.