As COVID-19 vaccinations continue, companies embrace hybrid work, employees return to the office and the U.S. opens up, violence and physical threats to businesses are occurring at an unsettling, record-high pace. These are some of the findings unveiled in the “2021 Mid-Year Outlook State of Protective Intelligence Report — The Escalating Physical Threat Landscape: A Clarion Call for Corporate Protective Intelligence,” a new study commissioned by the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence.
The study showcases the collective perspectives of physical security directors, physical security decision-makers, chief security officers, chief information officers, chief technology officers, chief information security officers and IT leaders at American companies on how physical security challenges and opportunities are unfolding in 2021 as the country emerges from the pandemic.
“Pent up economic and political frustrations marked January 6 by the Capitol riot are being unleashed after months of limited in-person interactions, mass shootings have skyrocketed and companies are experiencing an increase in physical threats as compared to the beginning of 2021,” said Fred Burton, executive director of the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence. “And yet, as our study found, even as physical threats increasingly originate in the cyber world, CEOs are reluctant to believe their companies could be targets.”
Burton continued, “As the crippling of critical supply chains and infrastructure by cybercriminals earlier this year demonstrated, to keep all aspects of their business safe, with great urgency, companies must fund, integrate and unify cybersecurity and physical security intelligence, assessment, mitigation and operations across the enterprise.”
“As corporations advance the digital transformation of their physical security operations, it has never been more important to seize the opportunity to align their cybersecurity operations and infrastructure,” said Lukas Quanstrom, CEO of Ontic. “Bringing together all threat data and intelligence in an always-on, technology-driven approach to security is the most effective way to advance business continuity in today’s increasingly hyper-connected, hyper-violent environment.”
Of the physical threats that resulted in harm or death at companies in 2021, nearly half (49%) of respondents think most or almost all could have been avoided if cybersecurity and physical security intelligence were unified so threats could be shared and actioned by cross-functional teams.
A total of 300 respondents completed the survey, which was conducted May 13-27, 2021. These included chief security officers, chief information officers, chief technology officers, chief information security officers, physical security directors, executive protection directors, IT vice presidents and directors and physical security decision-makers at U.S. companies with over 5,000 employees in the technology, retail, automotive, healthcare, pharmaceutical, financial services, travel and hospitality, media and entertainment, consumer goods, insurance, telecommunications, government and education sectors. It follows the inaugural 2021 State of Protective Intelligence Report released in December 2020.
The Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence provides strategic consulting, multidimensional services and resources for safety and security, legal, risk and compliance professionals at major corporations across nearly every industry sector. Through its initiatives, global industry experts and authorities in protective intelligence share best practices, insights on current and historical trends, and explore lessons learned from physical security peers. For more information please visit ontic.co/center