UPfront: Have a safe business journey!

Kidnap, murder, airline hijacking – avid news junkies would tell you there’s lot of it about these days. And while chances of getting personally involved are still anorexically slim, New Zealand’s international business focus does make its globetrotting reps tad vulnerable – reality all too evident in the light of September 11.

Events that day have focused business minds on security both at board and individual employee level and made security assessment key component of analysing offshore business opportunities, says Marcus McRitchie, security director with SOS International.

Company programmes to mitigate security risk are now an accepted business cost and the need to travel is more closely scrutinised, says McRitchie. number of organisations have increased security staffing and the need for “intelligence” regarding potential risks is now well recognised.

So, how best to minimise risks for company staff travelling or based overseas? McRitchie says steps should include the following:
* Review who and where they are and carry out thorough assessment of the risks they may be exposed to and how those might be dealt with.
* Put in place plans for crisis management, business continuity, specific emergency response and evacuation.
* Establish pre-travel security advice service and 24-hour security hotline to provide emergency assessment/response.
* Give all travelling staff security awareness training and “high-end” crisis response training for the “crisis management” team.
* Establish relation-ship with reputable local security company in high-risk locations to provide support or escort duties if needed.
* Look at how risk could be insured.
* Review all these procedures annually.

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