It has been said that Canada is a fireproof house next door to the world’s largest fire station, implying that our geographic isolation and proximity to the world’s only superpower has largely insulated Canadian businesses from global security threats. This type of thinking has no doubt shaped the approach to security risk management of many Canadian businesses in that past, but the global security environment is changing. Global threats are creating new security risks that have increasingly local impacts. Understanding this changing environment is therefore an important factor in developing sound security risk management practises. So how does an increasingly confident nuclear North Korea, a rising China or a resurgent Russia impact your security risks?
Global Security Threats – A Nuclear North Korea
In the case of North Korea, international acceptance that the state is now nuclear armed has given the country’s leaders renewed confidence on the global stage. While the global risk that North Korea may use nuclear weapons is unsettling, the deterrence effect of these weapons opens the door for North Korea to act more brazenly in its efforts to subvert the impact of international sanctions. While Kim Jong Un is engaging in a diplomatic dance with China and the United States to have sanctions lifted and energize his nation’s economy, North Korean state-sponsored cyber hackers have turned their focus to cybercrime as a source of development funds. Now a leading power in the realm of financial cybercrime, North Korea is increasingly attacking otherwise unrelated businesses as targets of opportunity.
Global Security Threats – A Rising China
By comparison, China has a rapidly growing economy driven by an insatiable appetite for technological advancement. As China seeks to reassert itself as a preeminent global power, it often fails to respect global norms with respect to intellectual property. Like North Korea, China is actively engaged in illicit cyber activities to achieve its aims, although in the case of China those aims are not strictly financial but rather focused on the theft of information that offers strategic advantage. Moreover, China has actively extended its effort to steal intellectual property beyond the digital environment. Many cases in the United States and elsewhere illustrate how China is exploiting international students, immigrants and residents to access the intellectual property from within western businesses. Companies dealing in cutting edge technologies are therefore at greater risk.
Global Security Threats – A Resurgent Russia
Finally, Russia’s resurgence has brought with it a new threat to western countries. Allegations of Russian meddling in democratic elections, manipulation of social media to spur civil unrest and use of disinformation campaigns to sway public opinion all have the potential to impact some aspects of business. While Russian agents may not target business interests directly with these activities, any decisions that bring with them political sensitivities or social disagreements may become targets of opportunity. In today’s environment of fake news and alternative facts, overcoming the impacts of such activities can be very difficult for any business.
These are but three examples of how global security threats might translate to local security risks for Canadian businesses. Each brings with it unique security challenges that require a holistic view of corporate security programs. From cybersecurity to access control, information management security to personnel security, and security intelligence to security procedures and protocols, Presidia Security Consulting and the ADGA Group’s converged security solutions offers the security knowledge, experience and expertise to help Canadian businesses understand and address the complete spectrum of security threats and risks that they face in this increasingly complex world.