New year, new concerns

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

As the New Year becomes reality, a new record of events begins and security directors are looking ahead to what the next 365 days may bring.
Industry analysts say this may be the year that panic associated with trying to secure assets and infrastructure will subside as many top priority security projects have been implemented. This clears the way for other projects, at the tier two and tier three level on a security director's wish list, to begin -- either on the financial backing level or on the installation end.
"What we are seeing and hearing is that the immediate reactionary measures (post-9/11) have been taken," said Christopher Grniet, vice president of Kroll, Schiff & Associates. "As they move through these priorities, there are other elements that become the number one priority."
In last month's Security Director NewsPoll, workplace violence was named the top security concern for 2006 by respondents, netting 23 percent of votes, while a physical security breach came in second with 15 percent.
Grniet said the fear of a physical breach stems from the fact that security directors and their respective organizations just spent millions of dollars strengthening security programs in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as to answer to compliance policies such as Sarbanes Oxley and other regulatory measures.
"If a company was to experience the simplest of break-ins, such as a workplace violence incident by a third party, it doesn't speak well of a program.," Grniet said. "A security director that has to legitimately stand up and support the investment of the program and the strength of the program to that degree is not a safe individual."
Also, outlining the coming year is Control Risk, which released its RiskMap 2006, which outlines risks that businesses face in more than 200 countries. The risk consultancy firm noted that security risk in the United States are low, but globally, it noted that attempts by Islamic extremists to stage attacks on the United States and on U.S-based businesses abroad will be a main threat this year. However, the report noted that those risks will remain limited because preventative measures will continue to be strengthened.
Another focus of 2006 rests on businesses taking steps to get business continuity and emergency preparedness plans in place, a key theme in light of the natural disasters of 2005.
"Those events pointed out to various corporations, including security directors and risk managers, the other things they need to consider," Grniet said. "It is not just terrorism. It is business continuity and the security of their assets."