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Managing terrorism threats can be very daunting challenge for most business directors. Especially as most business owners and directors have little if any formal security training to fall back on. Herein lies the problem. As a company director you have a legal responsibility under the corporate manslaughter laws to ensure the safety of your paid employees. Terrorism experts advise all business directors to take a proactive response to implementing security awareness and staff training to counter terrorism threats to your business. Imagine for one moment you are one of several business directors running a company and you send one of your sales representatives overseas to win a business order. Your business becomes a terrorism targets and your representative is kidnapped and held for ransom. You have various options including paying the ransom, which is typically cost prohibited unless you have kidnap for ransom insurance. Let’s just imagine for one moment you don’t have the money to pay the ransom and the jihad terrorism kidnappers execute your sales representative as a warning to other businesses. If you can’t prove you prepared your sales representative for his or her overseas business trip by ensuring they attended certified security awareness and/or a counter kidnapping training programme. Then you and your fellow directors will be sued under corporate manslaughter laws. One of the major problems facing business directors is that they have no idea where to start when it comes to terrorism threats, terrorism targets, terrorism incidents, terrorism acts, security and implementing a plan for countering terrorism. Every terrorism expert I know recognises that businesses, especially small to medium size businesses present as soft terrorism targets. It is also considered good practice by any terrorism expert skilled in countering business related terrorism to advise business directors to produce their own internal threat management unit or TMU as it’s known in the terrorism expert industry. #1 Organise A Threat Management Unit (TMU) Organising a TMU need not be a time consuming or expensive endeavour. In its basic format a small business TMU consists of the business owner and a security expert or a terrorism expert. The terrorism expert conducts security research relevant to your specific business and then collates all the available business intelligence relating to terrorism threats, terrorism acts, jihad terrorism or any other terror incidents. The terrorism expert then designs a specific security plan for countering terrorism which your business implements and updates as and when the terrorism expert recommends. Most terrorism experts also recommend the TMU organises a series of certified security awareness and kidnap awareness training programmes. #2 Design A Business Continuity Plan Designing a business continuity plan is usually one of the first steps suggested by the terrorism expert tasked with producing a TMU for your business. I’ve included a hypothetical example, i.e. Management Training Company Business Continuity Following A Critical Incident The Issue The tragic events of Post Sept’ 11th, in particular July 7th 2005 in London, should make all HR managers think carefully about how prepared their business is for any type of critical incident. We are all conducting business in uncertain times. Protecting the future of the firm has to be the number one priority for every business manager. The Problem Statistics suggest that almost half (46%) of London businesses do not have a business continuity plan in place. This means that those directly impacted, suffering a major or even a minor loss may find it impossible to continue to trade, particularly if they do not have terrorism insurance cover. Source: Vanson Bourne research, October 2004 Critical Incident Downside 80% of all businesses affected by serious incidents never re-open, or close within 18 months. Business interruption hits companies in Customer Relationships. Cash Flow. Reputation. Staff Moral. Understanding incidents like fire, flood or computer failure, highlight where long term damage is done. Firm – Too Small For A Business Continuity Plan? The smaller your business, the more important it is to have a contingency plan in place. Any incident, no matter how small, is capable of impacting your business & profitability. The size of any continuity plan will depend on the risks facing each business – it will be as large or as small as needed. Small Businesses Hit Harder The impact of any critical incident is likely to be more pronounced for SME’s. The majority of SME’s operate in specialised markets with limited product ranges & relatively small customer bases. Any short interruption to business can have a disproportionate effect, totally halting output & leaving customers high & dry. Source: AXA Insurance. What Is Continuity Planning It’s about anticipating crises that could befall a business & planning for them. It sets out clear roles & responsibilities. It states who takes charge of specific roles. It lists a series of contingencies. Details clear emergency procedures to ensure risks to staff are minimised. Business Continuity Plan A business continuity plan sets out clear roles and responsibilities, for example those assigned to manage all liaison with Customers. Employees. Emergency services. It lists a series of contingencies that enable key business activities to continue in the most difficult circumstances. Threats To A Business Examples of threats to a business are… A vital computer system is unavailable. Critical process machinery is damaged. Loss of key employees. The building, or part of the building, cannot be accessed, and… Suppliers are unable to deliver. Common Small Business Disasters Fire/Flood Computer telecoms failure Key equipment failure People issues – illness, resignation, maternity leave Denial of access to premises Product defects Bomb – terrorism threats Legal regulatory action Utilities failure Negative press or media coverage Commercial Benefit Of A Continuity Plan There is also the commercial benefit to consider. Companies with business continuity plans are more attractive to do business with. For example Large businesses that rely on the outsourced services of third parties will prefer to work with suppliers who have a Business Continuity Plan in place. Business Continuity Summary 80% of all businesses affected by serious incidents never re-open, or close within 18 months. 46% of London businesses do not have a business continuity plan in place. Less than 20% of London Businesses have a dedicated team to handle a major incident. Barely a quarter (13%) of SMEs said they had managed to test their business continuity plans. Insurers are now seriously looking at how a business, plans for a major incident before insuring them. Dr. Mark D. Yates is The British American Security Expert he has 20 years experience delivering his security expertise to numerous governments, Intelligence security agencies & businesses worldwide. He specialises in close protection bodyguard services & asset protection. 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