In 2024, we predict the global security landscape will be characterised by a complex web of threats. Here in this blog, we will delve into the security trends, opportunities, and challenges that promise to shape the year ahead, while shining a light on how to adapt accordingly.
State actors and cyber threats
The threat landscape remains heavily charged, with ongoing geopolitical tensions significantly impacting global security. State actor s, including Russia, China, and Iran, continue to play a prominent role. The Israel-Gaza situation and the Ukraine war have further intensified the threat landscape.
Notably, in December 2023, Hamas (the Iranian backed terror organisation) was implicated when seven people in Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark, were detained. They were arrested on suspicion of being part of a cross-border Hamas terror plot, which German prosecutors said aimed to obtain weapons to target Jewish institutions in Europe.
The cyber threat looms large as state actors employ sophisticated strategies to compromise cyber infrastructure. The UK in particular faces heightened risks. Security teams must therefore have strategies and contingency plans in place for both physical and cyber security risks, since the two are inextricably linked.
Militant activity and protest groups
In 2023, the UK has witnessed increased militant activity from various protest groups. This will likely continue into 2024 and beyond. While embracing the democratic right to protest is essential, concerns arise when these activities infringe upon the daily lives of citizens. Groups like Extinction Rebellion and those opposing arms sales present a growing security challenge, requiring a delicate balance between allowing and supporting freedom of expression, and protecting public safety.
To combat the increased risk associated with a more fragmented society and the protests that can arise out of it, analyse and record your business activities first and foremost – it is about understanding the role you play and the risk you may be at; design an organisational response and communication plan, which should include a provision for police liaison and / or interaction with local councils and community groups; delegate a taskforce, ensuring anyone who may respond to a protest is properly trained and understands the legislation in place, the powers they have, the legality of the specific protest and rights of the protesters; and be sure to document and record any actions. To that end, consider the benefits of CCTV and body worn video.
Security risk management and resilience
Managing risk within the context of organisational resilience is key. The concept of resilience, driven by the Cabinet office and embodied in standards such as the updated BS65000 and ISO 22316:2017, underscore the importance of proper planning and recovery after a security breach. The distinction between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ alternative or backup sites in contingency planning remains crucial. Organisations need to ensure not only backup systems but also immediate operational capabilities to navigate cyber-attacks or physical threats.
Training and awareness initiatives
In response to evolving threats, new training initiatives have emerged, such as online Action Counters Terrorism(ACT) training, providing organisations with essential knowledge on responding to security breaches. The importance of communication with clients, including real-time alerts and ground-level training, is essential to keep management teams informed and prepared. Organisations must ensure that security teams, at both management and operational levels, and whether in-house or contracted, have received SIA approved training. Organisations need to strive to deliver training which goes beyond ‘minimum standards’, such as behavioural detection and sector specific initiatives that will inform security teams of the threats faced by the organisation.
Martyn’s Law and Its Impact
We are hopeful that momentum for Martyn’s Law, officially titled The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill), which is aimed at enhancing security measures in public places, will build in 2024. While there is some uncertainty regarding its implementation, we are not the only security experts to argue for its necessity. The Manchester Arena and O2 Arena attacks highlight the potential preventive impact of such legislation that draws parallels with mandatory health and safety measures. Until Martyn’s Law is enshrined in law, organisations should question the efficacy of existing security measures. The draft Bill’s proposals would impose mandatory threat assessments for relevant premises, which would be a major step forward in protecting people from the impact of terrorism.
The Duke of Wellington famously once said: “All the business of war, indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don’t know from what you do: that is what is called “guessing what’s on the other side of the hill”.
And so, as we navigate the complex and dynamic security landscape of 2024, with its twists and turns, knowns and unknowns, we must find out what we know, and pre-empt what might be coming our way. A holistic approach that combines resilience, proactivity, adaptability, training, and legislative support is crucial in our ongoing mission to protect more than you think.