Security & Resilience

ITSReviewAnnual2015

Security & Resilience Since the cessation of armed conflict with Irish Republican organisations and the suicidebombings by fundamentalist Islamist terrorists the United Kingdom has enjoyed an extended lull in overt terrorist activities leading to an understandable assumption by the population that much of the motivation for terrorist attacks had either been dissipated or was being disrupted through sophisticated counter-terrorist intelligence and / or operations. Measures to address risk, resilience and security appeared to be regarded as unnecessary and past-experience shows that these are the very issues that are ‘the first to go’ under any austerity measure programme. The substantial security operation covering the London Games 2012 was deemed, by certain groups, as unnecessary as no incidents of note had occurred – implying that these elements had been a wasted investment. However consider the implications from a lack of risk and resilience planning if a terrorist incident had occurred. ITS (UK)’s Security and Resilience Interest Group (SRIG) is acutely aware of the dangers associated with complacency regarding safety and security and the emergence of new threats. With this in mind the SRIG revised its remit in 2014 and was re-launched to align itself with contemporaneous national and global events. Even more recently the plethora of media reports and other evidence on a series of unprecedented global events shows that the world is now at a higher state of tension than it 30 ITS REVIEW Annual Review 2015 has been since the end of the Cold War. New and unexpected threats and challenges keep emerging and the recent attacks in European cities only accentuate the actual and perceived threats to personal, institutional and commercial safety and / or security. All of this gives confirmation that it was absolutely correct for the SRIG to have revised its remit. The advent of ‘perpetual connectivity’ and the demand for 24/7 seamless connectivity has increased; this is often at the forefront of business and/or individuals’ communication plans and often the precursor for how commercial models and personal demands are structured. The need to satisfy these demands often dictates how sophisticated business-models are created - especially as customers are ‘on the move’ between home, the work place and leisure locations and expect to be able to communicate seamlessly without interruption. This urge to satisfy the customer can come at a price if the necessary ‘checks and balances’ on the associated security measures are not addressed or are accorded a lower priority than they should be. Such a failure in the security infrastructure will introduce vulnerabilities into any system if due rigour is not given – and there are too many ill-minded people ‘out there’ who are keen to exploit those weaknesses. Criminals, terrorist groups and malicious businesses and / or individuals pose an ongoing threat and are always ‘on the lookout’ for opportunities to expose and attack gaps in any infrastructure – albeit physical or electronic – therefore any response needs to be proportionate, perpetually vigilant but hidden ‘behind the scenes’. Physical systems are easier to safeguard against exploitation as they can be seen and addressed. This is not the case with electronic security and cyber-security becoming increasingly important in the fight against organised crime and disaffected individuals. Transport systems have always been the preferred area of penetration for terrorist groups as they represent the ‘soft underbelly’ targets. Malicious attacks and disruption to the routine operational aspects of transportation – either as physical or cyber attacks – allow the perpetrators to erroneously believe that the associated propaganda reinforces their cause and, notwithstanding the personal tragedies associated with such atrocities, the substantial disruption to operations, loss of revenue and negative affects on ‘brand reputation’ will have the desired long-lasting implications. Sophisticated cyber threats transcend borders with ease therefore critical security measures need to be in place to intervene in a discrete and unobtrusive manner. Cyber security measures are essential to match and counteract increasingly sophisticated threats; too many restrictions and the threats will have been proved successful - too little protection will encourage complacency and a ‘laissezfaire’ approach to preventing any inherent vulnerabilities. Commercial advantages gleaned from cyber-hacking can have significant safety, security, operational and efficiency impacts whilst malicious activities are extremely frustrating especially as they have no defined purpose other than to disrupt. It is essential therefore that resilience and due diligence are incorporated Neal Skelton, Head of Professional Services, ITS United Kingdom gives an overview of the work of the ITS (UK) Security and Resilience Interest Group. Neal Skelton – Head of Professional Services, ITS (UK)


ITSReviewAnnual2015
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