Business Continuity NewsBriefs - October 31, 2018
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The Changing Face of Terrorism

October 31, 2018 - This past week has been a sad reminder to us that terrorism is no longer just something we need to fear from foreign enemies. At a grocery store in Kentucky (and almost at a church there), at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and at any number of locations across the country targeted with bombs by mail, we have seen domestic terror at work. It would seem that it's time -- if we haven't done so already -- to learn more about the changing face of terrorism and to incorporate some terrorism training into our orientations at work (see Item #4). See what these articles have to say about terrorism today and how we can help our employees deal with this threat in the workplace.

"I've never met anyone who wanted to be a terrorist. They are desperate people." 
-- John Perkins, author and activist --

1. How Should Business Handle the Changing Nature of Terrorism?

Terrorism remains a persistent and significant threat to businesses, governments, and individuals. Fewer people were killed by acts of terrorism, insurgency, and politically or ideologically motivated violence in 2017 than in 2016, but the number of incidents is still very large -- and the means of attack have shifted. As such, it's critical that businesses take stock of the strategies available to them to manage and finance that risk.

2. Mitigating the risk: the impact of terrorism on businesses

While the chance of getting caught up in a terrorist attack remains extremely low, businesses need to consider the safety of their employees as they go about their day-to-day business. They also need to consider their response if indirectly affected, for instance if transportation systems or city centres are shut down in the aftermath of an event. Organizations, particularly those with staff working abroad, need to be aware of the changing nature of the threat, invest in safety training and make it easy for their employees to communicate with them if an incident occurs.

3. When to call a terrorist a terrorist

Domestic terrorism often has a bigger political impact than jihadi violence. A foreign-based attack brings America together in the face of tragedy. But right-wing (and left-wing) violence is more likely to divide the country. By calling right-wing terrorism what it is, that will change. Clarity about which activities are and aren't terrorism would help Washington press technology companies to be more aggressive in taking down anti-Semitic, white supremacist, and other inciting accounts.

4. Including Terrorism Awareness in Your Orientations

Terrorism presents a constant threat to institutions, businesses and individuals. While it is important to refrain from scaremongering, companies should consider their security and emergency response procedures and assess if they are robust enough to cope with an attack and prepared for counter terrorism training. It is also crucial that employees are aware of possible terrorist threats, as well as for employers to minimize the effects of terrorism through counter terrorism training.

5. HR's role in dealing with terror threats

The chances of being caught up in a terrorist incident are still minute, but in industries that consider themselves to be potential targets -- or just within firms whose workers, perhaps because of the amount they travel, have legitimate cause for concern -- what is best practice? How should employers communicate with staff, listen to and allay any concerns, and encourage them to carry on as normal?

6. How to Think About Terrorism

Many people in are in mortal fear of terrorist attacks. This is human nature---but before we jump to conclusions that life as we know it has changed forever, we should try to look at these events in a more rational manner. This is not to diminish the horror of these attacks or the terrible loss of life of innocent people. And in no way is this terrorism justified. But we all need to stand back and think about how we can cope psychologically with these recent events.

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