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Month: April, 2014

Why is Security Important?

Why is Security Important?

I was listening one day to my favorite business talk radio show, at the time in 2008, and heard a comment from one of the host’s frequent guests. The individual was talented and very successful in his field. But he made, to me and every security professional out there, the most asinine comment I have ever heard from someone about the security field.

                “Security is useless. The only reason we have security around is because they are constantly scaring us into believing that we need them. If we didn’t have security around us, what’s the worst that could happen? If we didn’t spend money on that garbage we’d have more money to grow our businesses!”

                Now being serious about this and not overly ‘protective’ of my career field or overly paranoid about remarks like that I’ll tell you why we need security in today’s world. So, all you managers out there, business owners, and anyone else who think security are a cost center and not a profit center.

                Specifically discussing Workplace violence (WPV), it is a very real possibility in any business. From as few as 1 employee to multi-national corporations and the government (as we have seen in recent weeks (Fort Hood and Camp Lejeune)

                It’s a foregone conclusion that you will have an incident within your business as 100% of businesses experience such an event, in one form or another. To read more about that I refer you to the blog I wrote on November 25 last year (It Doesn’t Affect You?). I’m not to discuss the financial ramifications at this point; you already know them from numerous posts.

                As for theft in the workplace, most thefts are committed by employees accounting for roughly 81% of all losses. Losses in the retail sector are over $150 BILLION per year! How much lower would that be if loss wasn’t counted in by theft?

                And if you take into account other potential security issues the losses mount to nearly $200 BILLION a year to business. And that number isn’t one to be taken lightly. This is crime from all sources i.e. arson, vandalism, theft, and so on.

                Far too many business ‘experts/consultants’ are quick to dismiss security as a cost center that doesn’t do anything for the business and should be taken lightly and given the ‘short shrift’ when it comes to money. That is until something happens and then it’s security’s job to stop it, even though the budget wasn’t given to them. And then they ask why?

                In a perfect world, there would be no place for me and the millions of people who provide protection, in one fashion or another, to the world and companies. And that would be okay by me if my job was to go the way of dinosaur. That simply means a couple of things could have happened.

                #1 is that we’ve entered the Star Trek universe. WE could all be dead and buried and living a dream in heaven (or where ever – according to your beliefs. Or the world has ended and Jesus is ruling the world from his heavenly throne. But I don’t think any of those are accurate or will be any time soon.

                Our jobs in security, when done right and with the professional diligence YOU deserve, are vitally important to everyone we’re around. In financial and physical terms we need to be here for you and your companies, not to mention your employees.

                Where would we be without the police, highway patrol, border patrol, and others in law enforcement? Far up a creek and headed to the ends of the Earth because we don’t have a paddle! There are security for the masses like we as security professionals are to individual businesses.

 

            Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 22 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

            He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page (One is too Many) to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about. You will also see other related items to WPV/SV as well.

 

Pertinent Security Articles

Pertinent Security Articles

                Here are 3 articles that I’ve read recently and thought they should be put out front for everyone to read and see. We live in dangerous times and these are of definite interest to the entire country and my loyal readers.

 

56 Percent of Employees Still Receive no Security Awareness Training elp Net Security (04/09/14)

                A new EMA survey of employees in government, public and private companies, and nonprofits conducted found a majority still receive no security awareness training whatsoever. Fifty-six percent of corporate employees, excluding those working in security or IT, said they had received no security awareness or security policy training from their organization. Forty-five percent of those who had received training received it during a single yearly session. EMA’s David Monahan says rank-and-file employees have repeatedly been shown to be a major weak link in security programs. “Organizations that fail to train their people are doing their business, their personnel, and, quite frankly, the Internet as a whole a disservice because their employees’ not only make poor security decisions at work, but also at home on their personal computing devices, as well,” he notes. The survey also found that nearly a third of employees report leaving mobile devices in unattended vehicles, using the same password for work and personal devices, and clicking on links in emails from unknown senders. Fifty-eight percent report having sensitive information on their mobile devices and 59 percent say they store work information in the cloud.

(Yes, it does cost money and resources to train employees, in innumerable ways that are right for them, but is it worth the cost? If it saves the company or employee lives, yes)

 

Al Qaeda Runs Photo of SFO Tram: ‘Assemble Your Bomb’ San Francisco Chronicle (04/10/14) Marinucci, Carla                 The spring edition of “Inspire,” a magazine published by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is causing concern on Capitol Hill because it includes an image perceived by lawmakers to constitute a threat against San Francisco International Airport. The photo shows a man riding what Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said has been identified as an AirTrain people mover, or tram, used at the airport. The image including a caption urging the publication’s readers to take action, “assemble your bomb,” and strike a target. Swalwell, speaking at a congressional hearing on the Boston Marathon bombings, expressed concern that the image was a threat to the airport, and asked former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis about whether the photo should be a cause for concern. Davis commented that he had concerns about the image, and noted that it clearly represented a threat that should prompt law enforcement to be extra vigilant. In contrast, Brian M. Jenkins, the director of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s National Transportation Security Center, stated that the photo does not reflect al-Qaida’s strategic decisionmaking but rather is more likely intended as a means of “underscoring the kinds of targets” al-Qaida prefers to hit and to encourage action by those who read the publication.

(This could be just disinformation, but can we afford to take the chance?)

 

Federal Energy Regulator to Take Steps to Protect Grid Wall Street Journal (04/11/14) Harder, Amy                 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur told lawmakers Thursday that her agency will perform a full review of the chain of custody of all documents following the release of sensitive information about the impact of a physical attack on the nation’s electric power grid. That information, which was the subject of a story in the Wall Street Journal last month, came from a FERC analysis that found that an attack on nine electric-transmission substations could result in a nationwide blackout. A report by the Department of Energy’s inspector general found that one presentation that contained information about the impact of such an attack should have been classified and barred from being released. The report, which was released Wednesday, also found that FERC lacks proper controls for identifying and managing sensitive material that, if released, could harm national security. One lawmaker who was present at the hearing said she would consider introducing legislation that would penalize the person who released the information. Meanwhile, former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said the information that was released was not classified or new, as the vulnerability described the in analysis had been known for years. He added that no one in the Obama administration said that they believed the information should be classified.

 

                Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 22 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

                He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197.

www.Facebook.com/One is too Many to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about.

PR among your Employees

PR among your Employees

                Let’s face it, the simple unmitigated truth about security and its place amongst company/client employees. 95% of the time, I’d wager, they don’t like us. We are a waste of space, time, and money that could go for many other things that are much more worthwhile, including raises, free food, as well as the realistic.  Having served in the contract field for 20 years before being claimed by blindness, I’ve faced many of these employees.

                Some were sympathetic and understood why we were there and were needed. There were a group that actually liked me and we got along. From Peachtree Doors, Monfort Pork, Johnson Controls Battery Div.  Homestead Guest Studios, and the innumerable companies/clients I’ve worked with and for in that time.

                But there are several simple ways to retain our credibility and stay ‘aloof’ and still garner better PR with those employees who distrust and just plain don’t like us. And yes, we need to be aloof so that we can objectively do our jobs with no prejudice. And yes it can be done. You can be friendly, objective, & aloof all at the same time.

                Here is a simple list for any company, proprietary or contract, that you can do to increase your standing amongst your and/or client employees;

Start a security newsletter for employees. Doesn’t have to be daily. Just as easily could be monthly or quarterly or a small section in the present company newsletter. Just ask the department responsible for a few paragraphs. And the good news is you don’t even have to write it! There are numerous news articles out there you can pull from that are relevant. And if you’re a contract company, ask the client for a few paragraphs on a monthly or quarterly basis in their newsletter.

 

Offer assistance in choosing an alarm company or what to buy for a DIYer. You don’t have to guarantee anything, steer them to a particular company/provider or endorse any particular product or service. Just let them know what the best protection available is. And put forth a disclaimer about your advice if you or your legal dept. is skittish.

 

What about sponsoring or co-sponsoring (with the client perhaps) an event that serves the company/community interest? If an employee gets hurt then hold a picnic fund raiser. The same goes for community events i.e. breast cancer awareness, domestic violence awareness month, even ice cream sundae day!

 

                Will these or anything you can think of have, assisted you in raising the bar and trust level of security, company or contract? Who knows? But if it does work, and it may take months or years to build that trust, it’s worth it. Better cooperation amongst employees as well as being trusted enough for them to come to you with a problem. And that is really what it’s all about – trust amongst the employees and having them trust us enough to talk to about potential problems.

 

            Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 22 studying workplace/school violence issues.

            He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit his website at;

www.sollarssecurityshield.com

www.Facebook.com/One is too Many to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about.

Ft. Hood Shooting: He did what he had to!

Ft. Hood Shooting: He did what he had to!

                On Tuesday April 2, Ivan Lopez, walked onto his military base of operations and station. He proceeded to argue with 2 other soldiers at Fort Hood Texas outside of Killeen. He then shot and killed them. He then proceeded to shoot and wound 16 more people before he himself was confronted by a police officer and killed himself.

                As I have said, and wrote about, several times, the act of killing these people makes absolute sense. In Lopez’s mind it was perfectly logical. His perception of the world defined his reality and then warped his mind in believing what he did was right.

                The scary thought in all of this is that no one connected the dots and they ignored the warning signs of someone who could have went off. So what were these signs I talk about? They are below, but before we get there…

                The commanding General of Fort Hood categorically stated that it wasn’t his mental illness that caused this incident. Rather it was the argument he had immediately prior to the incident that caused it. He is wrong. The argument was simply the trigger; Lopez’s finger was already on the trigger. And then it was pulled. He didn’t ‘just snap’ as so many have postulated recently. Here are the signs as I have heard and researched them;

  • Was robbed on the 1st

  •  Has been defined as both a nice guy and creepy at times by neighbors

  • Was prescribed Multiple medications recently, with possible interactions not considered

  • Lost both his mother and grandfather in  a short amount of time

  •  Was denied enough leave to attend the funeral of his mother

  •  Argued with the section that granted LOA’s, was told to come back ‘later’

  •  Had been denied promotion 4 times in his time in the National Guard and regular Army

  •  Was being treated for mental illness – without being totally diagnosed as such

  •  Treated for PTSD – and the same reasoning hadn’t been fully diagnosed as such

  •  Was suffering serious stress in his life personally

  •  Was suffering serious stress in career

  •  Recently had been ordered to move to Ft. Hood – anxiety

  •  Argued with several members of the Army when he returned on the 2nd to get his LOA

  •  Carried a .45 pistol on base despite being against regulations

 

Lopez may not have consciously made the decision to do what he did. But he was intent on getting even and getting his leave, no matter what. By carrying the firearm onto base he had made the perception that he was within his rights to do so the reality in which he lived and thought.

                And as I have said, also multiple times, how hard is it to dissuade someone of their perceptions when they have a mental illness or in this case PTSD? Anyone who feels that the world is against them will have the perception that whatever it is they decide to do is right, and most times it’s impossible to determine the right frame of mind for them. And that’s what makes them so dangerous in the arena of WPV.

 

                Want to read the other blog posts on this subject? Look for the posts after the Naval Ship Yard last fall, the Columbia Mall shootings in January and into the archives for more.

 

                Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 22 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

                He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit his website at;

www.Facebook.com/One is too Many to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about

Why follow CW?

Why follow CW?

                At this point I can say that I don’t follow conventional wisdom (CW). And to that point I hope I never will. CW is constraining, restrictive, doesn’t allow for creativity or originality. So, therefore, I will continue to think ‘out of the box’! That is where the best ideas come from and problems are solved after all.

                Throughout the earlier years of my career I ‘toed’ the corporate line. I did what I was told blindly, with no thought to originality or creativity. And I believed that was the way to do things. At the time, 30 years ago, I was with Wells Fargo Guard Services and they totally and thoroughly encouraged that thinking from their ‘grunts’. I thought as Major Frank Burns, Larry Linville of M*A*S*H fame, stated during an episode ‘If we don’t follow our leaders blindly and act the same, we can’t be independent and free’.

 

                Sometimes this has served me well during my career. Other times it hasn’t and I’ve gotten into trouble and even fired for these thoughts and ‘counter-productive’ solutions for clients. They were counter-productive only to the company I worked for, not the people I managed or the clients I worked for. They liked my approaches (mostly).

                This sentiment simply tells me that not following CW is the right path. I never have followed it and I don’t want to start now. I believe that I can do well enough without following everyone else and falling into line with whatever is out there that is new, exciting, or shine. This even falls into the realm of ‘best practices’ in many cases.

                As security professionals it is our duty NOT to follow CW and everybody else. We need to chart the course for our clients and our own companies. So the one thing I tell clients and other people to is simple; don’t follow the rules!

                2 of my favorite business books would leave many of my former bosses tossing in their graves or having a proverbial stroke at the notion of doing things so ‘cockeyed’ as following the advice I give. But, in most cases it works! Even if it doesn’t follow ‘best practices’ or the conventional norm.

                As I said before, CW is not all that great. I firmly believe that CW can, at times, be moldy, old, smelly, & totally useless in a world where things change too fast to keep up. So thumb your noses at CW and try something new, exciting, and bold. Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying ‘I want to put a ding in the universe’, so go put a ding in the security universe!

 

            Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 22 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

            He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit his website at;

www.Facebook.com/One is too Many to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about.