There are so many facets to contemplate when considering the subject of business and travel security. Every security expert worth his or her salt understands the different variations as almost stand alone security issues.
For example every single aspect of business and travel security presents its own unique problems. Airlines, flights, air travel, vacations, travel agents, travel tours, travel insurance, medical insurance, kidnap for ransom insurance, business insurance travel, holiday home security, backpacking, gap year travel all require some form of risk assessment and personal risk management to minimise security risks.
Business travel and business travel security encompasses everything designed to minimise the security risks to you, your family and/or your business associates. Threats are ever present and although every individual professional security expert operates in a permanent state of professional paranoia it is unrealistic to expect occasional travellers to act the same way. There are however many simple security strategies which every traveller can utilise to minimise the risks.
Once again the risks factors vary and are ever changing due to increased terrorist and organised criminal activities around the globe. When considering travel tours to politically hot spot destinations, the first priority has to be to purchase kidnap for ransom travel insurance from a security related brokerage. Most kidnap for ransom insurance or K&R insurance as it is known in security expert parlance is underwritten by Lloyds of London. It is a myth that kidnap for ransom insurance is only available for VIP’s and senior corporate executives. Due to the exponential increase in kidnap and the taking of hostages K&R insurance is available for everyday tourists and it is not as expensive as most people believe.
Your K&R insurance broker may stipulate certain security procedures must be undertaken to qualify you for cover. For example some insist on basic security awareness training. Depending on the country or countries you intend visiting they may insist that you participate in a 1 to 2 day close protection training programme run by professional bodyguard instructors. Elements of risk identification, risk assessment and risk management, advanced observation skills and counter kidnapping measures are taught. Security Expert Tip: Prior to the end of the last Millennium if we removed the obvious trouble zone of Lebanon, we found that six countries dominated two-thirds of the recent terrorist attacks, namely Columbia, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Spain and Belgium. However fast forward to current day and the shift has moved to war zone areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. However terrorist attacks are increasing in many other global destinations. Security and close protection officers are advised to conduct rigorous threat assessments prior to close protection operation deployment to these areas.
Regarding business and travel security I advise all travel agents offering world travel tours to exotic locations to include a security update in their customers travel guide. I have delivered security training for business clients and close protection training for travellers and tourists. The benefits provide far more value than cost. If you think for a moment about the trauma of being a kidnap hostage then a 1 day security training programme is a positive investment.
Although every security expert will reinforce the fact that there is no such concept of 100% security, the knowledge you will gain from close protection training will seriously reduce your security risk. Don’t harbour any fears of joining a troop of muscle bound bodyguards fending off terrorists in a jungle fortification, because you can purchase a comprehensive home study security close protection training programme which requires no actual residential training. Many professional close protection officers purchase these training programmes to study when on operational bodyguard duties in the field.
Be under no illusion of all the international special forces, professional bodyguards or close protection officers are the finest security specialists to prevent attacks against individuals or the abduction by kidnap. Much of their close protection training curriculum consists of avoidance over confrontation. They place meticulous emphasis on the clients under their protection not being placed in an environment conducive to attacks or abduction. Forget Kevin Costner and Whitney Huston, and think more of The US Secret Service who provide presidential protective services.
The next security requirement is to book travel, luggage and medical insurance from your travel agent. Entering a hospital in an overseas destination can be very expensive. Ensure your medical policy covers you for return emergency flights back to your home country. It is also wise to ensure your insurance covers you for a daily cash payment in the event of your cash, cards and valuables being stolen. Insist on a maximum daily limit and ensure you have a cap on the amount of days you can receive cash. Kidnappers target hostages just to clean out their daily limit on a cash card ATM machine. Fortunately most of these kidnappings take place in Asia and once the money runs dry hostages are generally released. Not always, but frequently.
Another aspect worth considering for business and travel security is deciding which travel agent and travel agency to book your holiday or vacations with. Security is paramount. Travel agents hold much of your personal data. If this data was accessed by organised crime or a terrorist organisation then you may be targeted for kidnap for ransom. These criminal organisations are technology smart and in some cases victims are chosen before they have even left their country of origin. At the risk of sounding obvious your travel agent and/or travel agency should have the finest security data-safes installed in a very secure area of their business premises.
From a personal security perspective it is important to deal with a credible travel agent and/or travel agency. Home based criminals would welcome information which informs them when you and your family members or business associates are away from your home or office for a week or two.
No one escapes the business and travel security leprechaun. An innocent trip backpacking to Australia turned into a nightmare for British backpacker, Jamie Neale in July 2009. Playing a football match in Jakarta could have had serious consequences and resulted in large fatalities for the Manchester United football team, had they stayed in the Ritz-Carlton hotel a day earlier when it was blown up by suicide bombers.
Piracy and hostage taking is on the increase globally, suicide bombings, muggings, child abduction, violent assaults and theft is also increasing in many tourist destinations. I’ve heard more than one security expert attribute this growth to the current economic downturn.
Purchasing top quality security products and services falls under the tactical equipment section of most e-commerce web sites. It is advisable to visit Europe’s largest e-tailer of security products and services.
If this business and travel security seems like a doom and gloom article then please understand it is not. If you take one thing from this article then take this. Organised criminals, terrorists, pirates and kidnappers will always focus on soft targets. If you present as a hard target they will almost always leave you alone and focus on a softer target. They particularly welcome individual targets who live their life in what every security expert calls ‘Condition White.’ This is the concept of an individual not having any security awareness what so ever.
For any business employees or executives travelling overseas you should consider a visit with a security expert prior to booking your trip. The old saying of a little knowledge is dangerous, does not apply in the security industry. Being security aware will get you out of scrapes that softer targets are unable to avoid.
Copyright (c) 2009 Dr Mark Yates