The vast majority of British industry leaders are not ready for future terrorist attacks according to expert analysis of a new online study. ACTIS, the online education experts in the fields of counter-terrorism, terrorism, intelligence and security studies believe over 80% of those surveyed would fail a simple counter-terrorism preparedness test, possibly leaving them and their staff at risk, following a YouGov survey of over 600 British business leaders.
In response, ACTIS has launched the first ever policy-based online executive training in corporate security and counter-terrorism. The e-learning courses have been developed in partnership with RUSI, the UK’s professional forum for defence and security. They are aimed at individual security professionals, local and international companies, and executives within government agencies and the wider public sector. The courses, which include two free modules on ‘Understanding Terrorism’ and ‘Counterterrorism Policy’, aim to help students understand the threats their organisations and staff face, and the appropriate measures required to reduce their exposure to risk.
As a first step UK industry leaders can also benchmark their preparedness through a new ‘threat-readiness’ self-assessment tool. The tool is based on the new course content and consists of eight examples of simple and affordable best practices that most organisations should have in place to reduce the risk and potential impacts of a terrorist incident or major security breach.
Key findings of the survey included:
- 54% of respondents said their business has never checked or hasn’t checked in the past year whether any sensitive information about their organisation (e.g. financial records, building plans, evacuation procedures etc.) is openly available in the public domain. This rises to 56% within the manufacturing industry. In 2009 more than 10,000 confidential client memos sent through Bloomberg’s private messaging system were published online by a former employee. The sensitive conversations, including messages from traders at more than a dozen of the world’s largest banks, remained openly available through a simple Google search until earlier this year.
- 40% of respondents said their businesses has never prepared a list of potential risks to their business including 62% of those surveyed within the retail industry and 41% within the construction industry.
- Just over a third (34%) said their companies do not enforce any sort of computer password policy. This rises to 42% within the retail sector. In March 2012 a server containing Medicaid information at the Utah Department of Technology Services was breached. In the process sensitive information from 780,000 individuals was stolen. The breach was possible due to a configuration error and weak passwords.
Daniel Neubauer, LL.M., President of ACTIS said:
“In these uncertain times, security practitioners, business leaders, and heads of our public sector institutions cannot afford to ignore the risk posed by an increasingly unpredictable threat landscape fuelled by the growth of physical terrorism and cyber ‘hacktivism’. These new ACTIS courses provide unique access to detailed specialist content on defence and security strategies to reduce your exposure to risk without demanding significant new investment and staff time out of the office. Decision makers can trust the quality, expertise and heritage of the organisations and individuals involved in ACTIS and can confidently put their people on our courses, knowing the certifications they receive are a benchmark for security excellence.”