Know how people and stuff enter your system, monitoring the input and output as well as everything in between. Obviously, keep people out who do not belong. This involves the usual gates and fences, but also entails layering of perimeter controls throughout your operation and limiting employee access to areas where they don’t belong. A well-designed perimeter inside company facilities (e.g. access to the ammonia refrigeration plant) can be as important as, or perhaps even more important than, a barrier enclosing building facilities.
Your employees really are your best defense when they are motivated, engaged, and rewarded to do so. Allow them to look for and report any safety/security deficiencies they observe, and give them a way to rapidly report any potential hazard they observe. MORE
Controlling the computers that control the industrial control systems means those systems can be monitored, attacked or manipulated remotely at will by adversaries. Put another way, imagine driving down a highway at 70 miles an hour and then suddenly having the steering wheel disintegrate in your hands. This is the level of trouble we are talking about here. MORE
Food production and processing decision makers may think of their companies in terms of the products they produce, which is a reasonable way to judge success—more products, more profit. They may also think in terms of the brand, essential for generating return customers. A good brand is a selling dividend—the best advertising investment available. A damaged brand yields only grief in terms of profitability and company well being. Adversaries can target both products and brand and regularly do so, as most corporate security professionals would quietly attest.
There is no surprise in the statement, “We live in a complex world.” Economies are struggling worldwide, U.S. debt is massive, global competition is fierce, the U.S. food supply chain increasingly relies on products of foreign origin, and then there are those troubling issues of security. ISIS wants to destroy the U.S. and its people. The group has now acquired—and evidence indicates may have actually used—chemical weapons. It appears the group is also hard at work trying to acquire biological weapons. The world is at risk and the United States is at risk, including our food supply. Threat intelligence couldn’t be more important.
Operational Security (OpSec)
Operational Security, known as OpSec, is an analytic process used to deny an adversary information. The information is generally unclassified but could harm you or benefit an adversary. For example, an adversary could assemble Internet postings by employees, work schedules, phone directories and more into a “big picture” of an organization in an attempt to detect vulnerabilities. OpSec generally supplements other kinds of security. According to the Operations Security Professional’s Association, “an adversary will constantly probe your organization, so the importance of a solid understanding of OpSec cannot be understated.” MORE
Logistics management refers to management of the all-important supply chain. Therefore, logistics security refers to keeping that supply chain safe and secure, which is extremely important to multinational companies that rely on specific ingredients from high-risk parts of the world. Consumers expect every can of a specific soft drink to taste exactly the same, and that can be difficult to achieve if a specific ingredients comes from a war-torn nation in Africa. Contingency plans are necessary. MORE
We take the security of our water supply for granted, but the catastrophe involving the Flint, Michigan, water supply has caused more awareness of this subject. Adequate quantities of water that is of acceptable quality is necessary not only for human health and livelihoods, but for growing food and generating energy. Although we in the United States still take our water supply for granted, there are parts of the world where water problems are directly affecting U.S. security. Drought in places like the Middle East is causing upheaval of societies and massive movements of population. Flooding in the low-lying plains of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India is also affecting food security and causing population displacement. Even in the U.S., the Flint crisis and drought in California (where farmers have relied for decades on an aquifer that is being drained) vividly illustrate the dangers of poor water management.