Senior security leaders from the high tech industry participated in Duty of Care in Action: A Panel Discussion With High-Tech Industry Leaders where they spoke about their experiences implementing Duty of Care. Both Michael Clements, Director of Global Protective Services at Hitachi Data Systems and Bob Falconi, Director of Corporate Security and Safety at Symantec Corporation oversee security for global workforces that travel regularly to high risk areas, so when it comes to Duty of Care, they both have true field experience and stories to tell.
Both corporations are finding that the amount of travel as well as the types of destinations they need to consider sending employees to in order to operate is expanding. Michael’s employees had 23,000 international travel days in the past year – 15% of those to high or extreme risk destinations; Symantec, 31,500 days. Hitachi’s New Business team has interest in developing new markets in Nigeria, Pakistan and even Iraq. To proactively address this broadening business view, both companies have developed extensive travel protection programs – something many high-tech companies are investing in these days
When Michael first arrived at Hitachi he worked with risk management, HR, and legal to look at best practices from other companies and put together the Traveler Protection Program. It’s intended to educate, prepare and protect traveling colleagues and includes a Global Security Operations Center that monitors high and extreme risk travel 24/7.
Symantec’s Travel Security Program is a similar comprehensive plan that ensures the company knows where its employees are, and that employees know how to engage in the event of an emergency.
A key area of discussion included the pros and cons of evacuations, as well as how to handle them. Both organizations prefer to avoid employee evacuation unless absolutely necessary. Michael spoke about the need for immediate evacuation during the Mumbai terror attacks. Hitachi had two travelers staying at a hotel within blocks of one of the affected areas but managed to get them to the airport and home within 24 hours.
Hitachi, like Symantec, has key players involved in their Duty of Care plan and both organizations are proactive in this area. Each company has methods for monitoring travel and for establishing and maintaining communication. Bob said, “Once a crisis is in motion, having tracking solutions to help you pull up useful numbers to gauge exposure is critical.Both use mobile technology to varying degrees to assist in tracking and communication. Hitachi uses SMS while Symantec requires pre-verified cell phone numbers for all travelers to high-risk destinations.
There are numerous ways that global companies prepare for high risk travel. Another key element is the development of criteria to determine the different risk levels of travel destinations and the related travel requirements. For instance, travel to lower risk locations where political and economic infrastructures are stable, may not require any special approvals for an employee to book their tickets.
Travel to extreme risk areas, where even law enforcement personnel is known to actively engage in criminal activities may require additional support and orientation prior to departure first determining whether the travel is business essential, and secondly that the employee obtains special approval and be put into an organization’s tracking system so that their whereabouts are known during the trip.
Listen to the full panel discussion here or view an executive briefing here. See both Michael and Bob present “Is Your Global Workforce Ready to Travel to High-Risks Destinations? What You Need to Know” at ASIS International 2011 in Orlando on Monday, September 19, 4:30- 5:30 p.m. (www.asis2011.org)