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Time for reflection

July 23, 2024 by Alistair Enser

I am surprised how quickly five months can pass. When I started these articles back in April, I didn’t imagine that, five months later, the world as we know would have changed so much.

We are, quite rightly, focused on current events and the need to return to some form of normality. It’s essential that we try and get the economy back on track, our children back to school, shoppers onto our high streets and businesses running at full steam ahead.

When I started writing these articles, I emphasised the role of technology in helping us not only manage the pandemic, but to assist in getting us back to business. I still stand by that, especially given recent reports that the UK economy is the worst hit of the large economies in Europe, both for deaths and economic impact.

While there is clearly no silver bullet, the right mix of technology, process and strategy is what is required on a local and national level, by businesses, institutions and government, in order to speed our return to some form of normality.

Things have changed along the way. Official guidance changed two metres to ‘one metre plus’ and, as lockdown was eased, and then reapplied on a local basis to meet regional fluctuations in infection rates, we have entered a queasy state where flexibility is required, locally, nationally and internationally. Visits to holiday destinations such as France and Spain are now subject to quarantine rules seemingly introduced overnight, causing perceived disruption and frustration as our freedoms ebb and flow. Whatever we do as a security industry needs to be flexible, future-proof, resilient and able to add value beyond security in this new world.

A new threat

Now however, other concerns have emerged, and we should not forget about what is bubbling underneath which could pose a threat later.

According to pollsters IPSOS MORI, a fifth of the British public feel more at risk of cybercrime and fraud since lockdown. The World Health Organisation has seen a five-fold increase in the number of cyber-attacks directed at its staff, and email scams targeting the public at large. A recent US Senate hearing claimed that the “threat of cyberattacks by foreign adversaries and other sophisticated entities is real and it’s growing,” and considered the very real threat of cyber-attacks on the United States energy grid.

Meanwhile, the United Nations’ Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate suggests that more extremism and terrorism can be expected as a result of the pandemic – the result of a toxic mix of widescale youth unemployment, increased online activity and economic hardship.

I don’t want to be the Harbinger of Doom, but faced with these considerable threats, I would strongly urge organisations to look past the virus and to the wider picture. It’s time for them to look again at their risk profiles, review security processes and examine the systems they have in place, as well as the technology that supports them.

Getting it right

Returning to where we started many weeks (years?!) ago, it’s time to do some housekeeping and an audit of your security needs, to reassess your needs in a changed world and put the right solutions in place to add in resilience. It is essential that this is provided in partnership with a competent installer that also has expertise in cyber security. At Reliance High-Tech, we always take a holistic approach. We know that an insufficiently protected security system can provide an open door for hackers.

Do it right, and you can not only use technology as a tool to track, measure and help control infection rates, but also as a security measure to meet new and considerable risks. Given all the arrows are pointing to an increase in infection spikes, and new and uncertain security risks, as employers and building managers it is important that we do the right thing.

Share Your View

What do you think, though? Do you think risk is increasing or decreasing at the moment? I would be very interested in your thoughts, so I have put together a quick survey, which can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3TZCNWW

It will be interesting to see if our readers share the same concerns as the general public cited in IPSOS MORI, and of course debate what we can tangibly do to assist.

Separately, I will be discussing this issue with Brian Sims, editor of Security Matters, over the next few weeks. The link will be posted here: https://securitymatters.podbean.com/

Stay Safe.