Proactive Security sunstates securityOttawa, Ontario, historically has had a less security-conscious culture than other national capitals in the Western world, especially in contrast to London and the post-9/11 United States. Consequently, the lone gunman that stormed the Canadian Parliament building and fatally shot a soldier sent shockwaves throughout Canada, prompting stricter security protocols throughout the nation’s military bases.

Rather than having security protocols in place for such occurrences already—a proactive approach—the Canadian response illustrates the reactive response most common in public and private security agencies worldwide.

New Communications, New Threats

Technological and communication advancements are changing the world at a record pace. These innovations not only make possible the Arab Spring and democratic demonstrations in China, but also Internet trolls who hide behind the same anonymity to harass and intimidate their chosen targets. In short, these new forms of communication allow groups of any size and persuasion to congregate easily, under the radar. In addition, new threats to safety and security, such as Ebola (see article), emerge at unpredictable times. The security industry thus has difficulty staying abreast of a rapidly changing world.

With 20 years of experience at Scotland Yard and in the elite Royalty Protection Unit, President Glenn Burrell says, “It is so common for organizations to be evaluated after an incident when it should have been properly assessed before. A proactive security plan will outperform a reactive one almost every time. And the only way to keep up with the acceleration of change is to review security procedures frequently.”

Shutting Down Attention Seekers

In addition to proactive security, another preferred response is to reduce the notoriety given to perpetrators such as school shooters, White House fence jumpers, and others whose primary motivation might be publicity. Burrell gives the example of the streakers common at sporting events in the U.K. during the 1980s. The media outlets agreed to blackout these individuals. Whenever a streaker ran onto a field, media coverage ceased until the person was apprehended. Within weeks, the incidents stopped because the individuals were not receiving the notoriety they wanted. Such a response, however, would be far more difficult today.

With widespread media exposure and increasing capacity for fringe elements to unite, threats now evolve faster than ever. As a result, organizations need to re-evaluate their business continuity plans more frequently.

Sunstates recommends revisiting the different aspects of business continuity according to the following schedule:


• Review the overall business continuity plan for the organization.
• Test preparedness plans with a full series of company-wide drills.


• Conduct a tabletop exercise, essentially a mock drill, to test whether the current business continuity plan is still appropriate.

Monthly or Ongoing

• Enlist a third party to monitor things like social media, news reports, etc. and feed intelligence to your organization.
• Review changes in your IT and HR departments, examine current events and social trends, plus any changes in the organization. Continuously update policies
and procedures accordingly.

Sunstates has 16 years of experience in assisting organizations to develop business continuity plans. Contact us today to find out how we can help you evaluate and refine your security and business continuity plans.