A Commitment to Disrupting the Top Physical Security Threats

Thomas Kopecky, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ontic
"Our greatest defense is acknowledging that these threats can exist and then developing strategies that can properly prepare teams — even those most severe events that we’d prefer to ignore.," according to Thomas Kopecky, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ontic

Guest OpEd by Tom Kopecky, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ontic

A quiet day in the life of a physical security professional is an accomplishment in every sense of the word.

Working tirelessly to ward off any unwanted surprises, one can only hope they are covering all bases as the categories of threats continue to expand and grow in ways we have not seen in years past.

Unfortunately, some of the most devastating physical security threats — executive kidnappings, workplace violence, active shooters, and bomb threats — end up catching practitioners off guard, as they are often hard to detect, disrupt and mitigate. 

It’s important to note that every threat signal – small or big – deserves attention and proper assessment to determine if action is needed. 

While the most severe threats may be some of the hardest to detect, missing the progression of pre-incident indicators leading up to the risk event is every security professional’s worst nightmare.

So far in 2021, we’ve witnessed threat categories (and volume of threats) that reflect the changing threat landscape.

Specifically, 15% of security and IT respondents indicated that they identified an active shooter threat before it resulted in harm, death, or disrupted business continuity, and 16% identified a kidnapping threat, according to the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence 2021 Mid-Year survey.

Those numbers may only be the tip of the iceberg. The survey found that respondents anticipate they will miss up to 50% or more of physical threats in the next six months.

For a majority of companies, threat activity has risen and a lack of holistic protective intelligence has teams feeling less prepared to do their jobs. 

(Proactively and continually assess, collaborate, and act on more threats to keep employees, facilities and assets safe, protecting company value. Courtesy of Ontic and YouTube.)

Our Biggest Defense Against the Changing Security Landscape 

All threats need to be taken seriously because a missed threat is always a potential financial, legal, and reputational catastrophe. Physical security executives now need to consider new motivations that simply didn’t exist two years ago.

However, despite the changing landscape, many CEOs are reluctant to believe their company will be a target, leaving companies unprepared.

Specifically, 55% of respondents say their CEO believes training employees so they are better prepared for potential workplace violence will create a culture of fear, and does not see the ultimate risk to business continuity.

Our greatest defense is acknowledging that these threats can exist and then developing strategies that can properly prepare teams — even those most severe events that we’d prefer to ignore.

Having a process to identify and act on warning signs gives teams more confidence in their actions and frees up time that would otherwise be spent manually digging through data to connect the dots. 

Organizations need tools that guide the identification of threats, gathering of information, assessment, creation and implementation of plans for addressing threats so all teams have visibility in evaluating and addressing threatening behavior and reducing the risk of workplace violence.

A single thread that connects technology to behavioral threat assessment methodologies helps organizations stay ahead of any surprises that would otherwise come their way.

While the volume of threats in categories such as vandalism, supply chain threats, and insider abuse is higher than the more severe threats mentioned above, oversight in these categories can sometimes escalate to headlines that every security professional and company want to avoid at all costs.

There is considerable pressure on teams to catch everything, but lack of continuity across physical and information-based systems makes this especially challenging.

One View

The positive news is that major incidents rarely occur without detectable advance planning that generates some clues.

The perpetrators of workplace violence frequently broadcast their intent, and by security executives working across their organization, they can identify threat actors proactively. 

It’s more important than ever for security executives to be proactive in identifying threats, triaging them based on their criticality to the organization, then implementing measures to protect people and property.

One important element in this respect is security executives leveraging their analyst teams for better situational awareness: being aware of internal/external threats to the business, situations domestically and internationally that have implications for business operations — then using those insights to craft efficient and effective security controls throughout the enterprise.

The key to increasing visibility into your threat environment is the development of cross-functional teams that span the organization, working off a common set of data that each team contributes to, including human resource information, access control records, license plate readers, and even proposed travel information for executives that can be cross-referenced with other security information.

The goal of this group is to turn raw unstructured information into intelligence.

The nature of protective intelligence is to prevent and mitigate these threats to individuals. It’s never been more important than in this era of unmanageable, increased threats.

Thomas Kopecky, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ontic
Thomas Kopecky, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ontic

About the Author

Thomas Kopecky is Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ontic, where he leads a team of security intelligence experts that develop protective intelligence programs and best-in-class software used by Fortune 500 and emerging enterprises to keep its most prized assets safe — its people.

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Lumina Analytics Nominated to Compete in 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards

Lumina Analytics Nominated to Compete in 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program

American Security Today’s ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards program is today in its Sixth Year and continues to recognize the Outstanding Innovations of top firms and agencies in the Homeland Security and Public Safety fields.

The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program highlighting the most cutting-edge and forward-thinking security solutions coming onto the market today, to ensure our readers have the information they need to stay ahead of the competition, and keep our Nation safe – one facility, street, and city at a time.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administer, David Pekoske
David Pekoske, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administer

American Security Today is pleased to announce TSA Administrator  David Pekoske, will join the organization as a featured speaker at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Presentation Luncheon, on November 18, 2021 at ISC East in New York City.

“On the heels of an unprecedented global pandemic, continued unrest in our cities and potentially catastrophic cyberattacks on our nations critical infrastructure, the focus of the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon will be on the latest, state-of-the-art innovations that are driving investments in new public security and safety technologies and systems,” said AST Editorial and Managing Director Tammy Waitt.

“As a recognized expert in crisis management, strategic planning, innovation and aviation, surface transportation and maritime security, David Pekoske’s message highlighting his top priorities and challenges for the TSA based on his years of wide-ranging experience will be critical to our attendees internalizing the critical nature of these escalating challenges, and realizing innovative new approaches to meet them.”

The 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program is Proudly Sponsored by AMAROK, Fortior Solutions  and SIMS Software, along with Returning Premier Sponsors ATI SystemsAttivo Networks, Automatic Systems, and Reed Exhibitions.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards at https://americansecuritytoday.com/ast-awards/.

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Access Control/ Identification Personal/Protective Equipment Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism
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License Plate Recognition Detection Products COVID Innovations
Workforce Management Government Security Programs And Many Others to Choose From!

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Submit your category recommendation for consideration to Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at: mmadsen@americansecuritytoday.com.

Register for the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Luncheon Today

The 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon featured an impassioned and compelling keynote address by William (Bill) Bratton, former police commissioner of the NYPD twice, the BPD, and former chief of the LAPD, on the history of policing in America with an emphasis on the evolution of critical communication capabilities in our post 9/11 landscape.

At ISC East 2021 you with the opportunity to interact with a broad array of security industry professionals.

Legendary Police Commissioner Bill Bratton of the NYPD, the BPD and former Chief of the LAPD, will join the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Luncheon on November 17th, to sign copies of his new book ‘The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America’.

ISC East works closely with other businesses in the security and public safety space to help bring together the Northeast’s largest security trade show each year.

In collaboration with premier sponsor SIA (Security Industry Association) and in partnership with ASIS NYC, ISC East is proud to work with and be supported by various associations, trade publications, charities, and more.

Therefore, the ISC audience of security dealers, installers, integrators, consultants, corporate, government and law enforcement/first responder practitioners will be joined by the ASIS NYC audience of major corporate managerial-through-director-level national and global security executives.

The combination of one-on-one conversations with the industry’s top innovators,  integrators and security executives, special events, high-quality education and training, and strong support from industry associations, will allow attendees to learn and evaluate solutions from leading security exhibitors and brands. 

The 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program surpassed expectations with a record number of nominations received from industry leaders and government agencies, and drew over 200 attendees to the ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Banquet – an exclusive gourmet luncheon and networking opportunity which filled to capacity, before having to turn away late registrants.

With the integration of the Natural Disaster and Emergency Management (NDEM) Expo, the show is moving even further into our reader’s wheelhouse!

With the integration of the Natural Disaster and Emergency Management (NDEM) Expo, the show is moving even further into our reader's wheelhouse! Your ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon registration includes complimentary attendee access to both ISC East - and NDEM!
ISC East the leading event for the Northeast’s security and public safety community, and home of the Annual ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Luncheon, is colocating with the inaugural Natural Disaster and Emergency Management (NDEM) Expo on November 17th & 18th at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City.

Your ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon registration includes complimentary attendee access to both ISC East – and NDEM!

Thank take advantage of this exclusive luncheon opportunity to take a break from the show – Invite your team, guests, clients and show visitors to a lovely and affordable plated meal event in the heart of New York City, for  a fabulous networking opportunity!

Go to https://americansecuritytoday.com/product/awards-luncheon/ to secure your seat or reserve a table.

***Early Registration Discount Ends November 1. Limited space available so Register Today. There will be no on-site registrations.

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The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old school basics to what is Today – a fast changing security landscape.

The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old school basics to what is Today – a fast changing security landscape.

American Security Today is uniquely focused on the broader Homeland Security & Public Safety marketplace with over 75,000 readers at the Federal, State and local levels of government as well as firms allied to government.

American Security Today brings forward a fresh compelling look and read with our customized digital publications that hold readers eyes throughout the story with cutting edge editorial that provides solutions to their challenges.

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AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.
AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.

The AST Digital Publications is distributed to over 75,000 qualified government and homeland security professionals in federal, state and local levels.


AST Reaches both Private & Public Experts, essential to meeting these new challenges.

Today’s new generation of public safety and security experts need real-time knowledge to deal with domestic and international terrorism, lone wolf attacks, unprecedented urban violence, shifts in society, culture and media bias – making it increasingly difficult for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Military and Private Security Professionals to implement coordinated security measures to ensure national security and improve public safety.

American Security Today

These experts are from Government at the federal, state and local level as well as from private firms allied to government.

AST provides a full plate of topics in our AST Monthly Magazine Editions, AST Website and AST Daily News Alerts, covering 23 Vital Sectors such as Access Control, Perimeter Protection, Video Surveillance/Analytics, Airport Security, Border Security, CBRNE Detection, Border Security, Ports, Cybersecurity, Networking Security, Encryption, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Campus Security, Security Services, Corporate Facilities, and Emergency Response among others.

AST has Expanded readership into integral Critical Infrastructure audiences such as Protection of Nuclear Facilities, Water Plants & Dams, Bridges & Tunnels, and other potential targets of terrorism.

Other areas of concern include Transportation Hubs, Public Assemblies, Government Facilities, Sporting & Concert Stadiums, our Nation’s Schools & Universities, and Commercial Business Destinations – all enticing targets due to the large number of persons and resources clustered together.

To learn more about the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners solutions, Check Out the New 2020 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS Edition Fully Interactive Magazine – the Best Products of 2020 ‘A Year in Review’.

The Annual CHAMPIONS edition includes a review of the ‘ASTORS’ Award Winning products and programs, highlighting key details on many of the winning firms products and services, includes video interviews and more.

It is your Go-To source throughout the year for ‘The Best of 2020 Products and Services‘ endorsed by American Security Today, and can satisfy your agency’s and organization’s most pressing Homeland Security and Public Safety needs.

From Physical Security (Access Control, Critical Infrastructure, Perimeter Protection and Video Surveillance Cameras and Video Management Systems), to IT Security (Cybersecurity, Encryption, Data Storage, Anti-Malware and Networking Security – Just to name a few), the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS EDITION has what you need to Detect, Delay, Respond to, and Mitigate today’s real-time threats in our constantly evolving security landscape.

It also includes featured guest editorial pieces from some of the security industry’s most respected leaders, and recognized firms in the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program.

  • For a complete list of 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Award Winners, click here.

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