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Facing The Evolving Security Landscape: Getting Prepared and Responding Effectively to Geopolitical Threats


One of the top five predictions in our 2022 Risk Outlook research indicated a rapidly changing security environment with civil disorder and geopolitical volatility rising above pre-pandemic levels. In the first half of 2022 alone, we have already seen some major security incidents, not least the crisis in Ukraine which has significantly exacerbated geopolitical risks around the world, as well as military coups in Burkina Faso and unrest in locations like Iran and Ecuador.  With several elections still to come this year, such as in Brazil, United States, and Nepal, the potential security challenges from a geopolitical perspective remain.

Compounded by ongoing challenges associated to infectious diseases including COVID-19 and Monkeypox; the ability to forecast and manage security events and incidents has become much more complex for global organisations. More now than ever before, organisations require robust crisis management governance and strategy, and organisational leaders need to ensure they are as prepared as possible to respond rapidly and effectively to security risks that could impact the safety, security and wellbeing of their employees.


The value of real-time information and active monitoring

Before the peak of any crisis, a variety of warning events can occur. If identified, these can assist your organisation to better understand the evolution of the situation and how it may impact your people. A detailed information collection and analysis process needs to be put in place to monitor these warning events closely. When it comes to security incidents, in particular geopolitical tensions, the situation can evolve rapidly. Ensuring that you have access to real-time and accurate intelligence is essential in helping you make informed decisions as efficiently as possible. Experts with on-the-ground information sources provide actionable security information for your workforce to access so that they are fully apprised of the developing situation. By predicting the outcomes of more volatile situations, organisations can scenario plan and consider most likely, least likely, and best / worst case outcomes to prepare accordingly. 

Crisis communication at the heart of your incident response

As well as providing focused preparatory support to your workforce before an incident occurs, crisis communications also enable quick and effective two-way engagement with  your impacted workforce after the initial incident. An integrated and comprehensive communication system is the basis of an efficient and reliable incident response process. This will not only enable you to locate potentially impacted employees, but also maintain consistent contact with them through the most appropriate communication channels (SMS, push notifications). You will then be able to confirm their safety, provide them with immediate assistance, or evacuate them out of the impacted area. An effective crisis communications process requires strong awareness throughout the organisation. Education of the systems and modes of communications is also a critical preparatory phase. Employees and their managers should be aware of actions they should take in the event of an incident and know how to use your established communication processes. Regularly training your people can ensure that they are fully prepared and confident should such incidents occur.

Reflect on lessons learnt

After an incident or crisis,  the recovery and implications phase is the appropriate time to reflect on what worked and what did not work in your crisis management process. A common missed opportunity across organisations is not using these learnings to enhance or reinforce existing processes to enhance their effectiveness. Lessons learned should be shared within your organisation and stakeholders. Only through shared knowledge can organisations continue on their resilience journey, and adapt to the enduring complexity of the risk landscape.

How we can help

International SOS has always been at the forefront of providing dedicated Travel Risk Management solutions to our clients in protecting their global workforce, utilising our global network and 24/7 capabilities. Our Tracker app and Automated Crisis Communications ensure your people are safe and receive the required assistance when faced with geopolitical threats. Our podcast library is also a great resource to stay up to date on the latest geopolitical conflicts and threats happening globally.