Get­ting Ter­ror Ready

Big cor­po­rate houses start im­part­ing cer­ti­fied anti-ter­ror spe­cial­ist train­ing to their em­ploy­ees.

Business Today - - CONTENTS - By MA­HESH NAYAK

Big cor­po­rate houses start im­part­ing cer­ti­fied anti-ter­ror spe­cial­ist train­ing to their em­ploy­ees

In Novem­ber this year, In­dia will ob­serve the ninth an­niver­sary of the 26/11 Mum­bai ter­ror at­tacks that saw 10 gun­men en­ter the coun­try by boat and launch a se­ries of at­tacks across South Mum­bai that killed over 160 peo­ple. It has been nearly a decade, but the car­nage still haunts every In­dian. 26/11 is a grim re­minder of the se­cu­rity threat that the coun­try has been fac­ing and the lack of proper anti-ter­ror train­ing that had cost us dearly at the time.

The in­creas­ing num­ber of ter­ror groups and their so­phis­ti­cated op­er­a­tions call for ef­fec­tive mea­sures out­side the spe­cialised do­main of se­cu­rity agen­cies. The cor­po­rate world — re­al­is­ing that self-se­cu­rity is the best se­cu­rity as the first line of de­fence — is tak­ing a lead in this.

When e-com­merce gi­ant Flip­kart was ap­proached, the com­pany’s Se­nior Di­rec­tor (Se­cu­rity and In­ves­ti­ga­tion) Gau­rav Datta read­ily agreed to en­rol a few em­ploy­ees for the cer­ti­fied anti-ter­ror­ism spe­cial­ists ( CATS) train­ing pro­gramme.

Ac­cord­ing to Ma­jor Rahul Sooden, for­mer As­so­ciate Di­rec­tor at Flip­kart and cur­rently the se­cu­rity head at one of the largest con­glom­er­ates, “It is a proac­tive approach. The train­ing un­der­taken is for be­ing more cau­tious. It adds value to the way we look at and an­a­lyse things/ is­sues re­lated to se­cu­rity.”

Other big cor­po­rate houses to join the pro­gramme include the Re­serve Bank of In­dia ( RBI), Reliance In­dus­tries ( RIL), VSF Global, Thomas Cook In­dia, Ma­hana­gar Gas and BP.

Cap­tain Mukesh Saini, who has been head of se­cu­rity at Go­drej In­dus­tries over the past four years, went one step ahead and him­self paid the fee to un­dergo the train­ing as he wanted to com­pre­hend what could be hap­pen­ing in the world of ter­ror. “You can’t re­ally stop some­one who is de­ter­mined to carry out an at­tack, but one can cer­tainly take steps to make things dif­fi­cult for him. We must take mea­sures to safe­guard our as­sets. It’s more a men­tal ex­er­cise than phys­i­cal,” he ex­plains.

“Af­ter 9/11 and 26/11 at­tacks, it has be­come nec­es­sary for every cor­po­rate and every or­gan­i­sa­tion to know the ba­sics of com­bat­ing

ter­ror,” says San­jay Kaushik, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor at Netrika, an NCR- based con­sult­ing and in­ves­ti­ga­tions firm that has been con­duct­ing the CATS pro­gramme in In­dia. “The 9/11 at­tack was suc­cess­ful due to lack of imag­i­na­tion and fail­ure on the part of se­cu­rity personnel. The in­dus­try has now re­alised that se­cu­rity peo­ple need to think ahead of ter­ror­ists who are evolv­ing all the time and us­ing newer tech­niques to strike,” he adds.

Cor­po­rate houses not only fall prey to di­rect at­tacks but also face cy­bert­er­ror­ism where hack­ers break into their sys­tems and ac­cess sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion. There are also threats of ter­ror mod­ules or sleeper cells in­fil­trat­ing the cor­po­rate world. Hence, it is es­sen­tial to train se­cu­rity man­agers, pri­vate se­cu­rity personnel and ex­ec­u­tive pro­tec­tion agen­cies.

“The def­i­ni­tion of se­cu­rity has changed af­ter 9/11 and 26/11. Train­ing has be­come crit­i­cal and it is sharp­en­ing our skills. That’s why we are im­part­ing knowl­edge to our peo­ple,” says Datta of Flip­kart.

“Of course, cor­po­rate houses can­not com­bat ter­ror­ists, but we have to be well pre­pared for con­tin­gen­cies. Risk man­age­ment has to be in place. In case of a ter­ror strike, the se­cu­rity peo­ple are usu­ally the first re­spon­ders. There­fore, their jobs be­come more cru­cial as they need to save as­sets and hu­man lives. In such cases, they should have the abil­ity to think out of the box to min­imise the im­pact.”

Kaushik of Netrika agrees. “Ter­ror or­gan­i­sa­tions have been up­grad­ing them­selves. Lone at­tacks or drone at­tacks are some of the ex­am­ples. One needs to be aware as no one knows what can hit you.”

En­ter CATS

Over the past 30-36 months, more than 100 peo­ple from In­dia Inc. have un­der­gone CATS train­ing that cov­ers a num­ber of key ar­eas — how to re­spond to a crit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, how to de­lay ter­ror­ists from reach­ing as­sets and save hu­man life, how to gain time, how to call for help and pro­vide first aid, and most im­por­tant, how to evac­u­ate peo­ple.

The three-day cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme is ac­cred­ited to the Char­tered In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute of Se­cu­rity and Crisis Man­age­ment ( CIISCM), Sin­ga­pore, and en­ables pro­fes­sion­als to learn the lat­est trends, tech­nolo­gies and best prac­tices that will help de­liver ro­bust se­cu­rity so­lu­tions and pro­vide in­sights into in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism and coun­tert­er­ror­ism mea­sures.

Ger­ard Lee, a for­mer officer of the Sin­ga­pore armed forces and an ex­plo­sive spe­cial­ist, says, “We teach them how to re­act when ter­ror strikes, how to in­ves­ti­gate a sus­pi­cious per­son or any ac­tiv­ity that can lead to a ma­jor ter­ror mishap, how to check cre­den­tials of a sus­pect and how to tackle cy­bert­er­ror­ism.”

“Pro­fil­ing is a big as­pect. One can’t check ev­ery­one; so, we teach them to iden­tify peo­ple and sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity. It’s sim­i­lar to the CISF’s job at air­ports,” says Kaushik.

“The pro­gramme has helped strengthen our process and we have tight­ened cer­tain ar­eas of se­cu­rity in our com­pany,” points out Saini of Go­drej In­dus­tries.

Sim­i­larly, Sooden, when he was work­ing with Flip­kart, shifted the men’s chang­ing room from in­side the main build­ing to a place near the se­cu­rity guard’s cabin as he re­alised that the chang­ing room could be a po­ten­tial threat to the main of­fice and all the 600 peo­ple work­ing there.

What's Hin­der­ing CATS?

“Cost,” says ev­ery­one who has un­der­gone the train­ing. The pro­gramme costs any­where be­tween `80,000 and `100,000 per per­son, com­pelling busi­nesses to hold back the train­ing for most of their em­ploy­ees. One may have to shell out even more to at­tend a re­fresher course to stay up­dated. Saini, who paid the fee from his own pocket, says, “It is a huge ex­pense. Not every com­pany can af­ford it, and we are go­ing slow.”

“We are not mak­ing money through the CATS pro­gramme,” says Kaushik of Netrika. “For us it is a brand-build­ing ex­er­cise. We can­not bring down the fee as we have to re­cover the cost of the train­ers who are experts of global re­pute and charge at least $3,000 a day.”

Un­daunted by the bud­get con­straint, Datta of Flip­kart sent eight of the 63 se­cu­rity staff for CATS train­ing. These cer­ti­fied spe­cial­ists are now train­ing oth­ers in the com­pany so that all are aware of the new con­cepts emerg­ing in the world of ter­ror.

“It’s an irony that ev­ery­one wants safety and se­cu­rity, but most com­pa­nies don’t have the bud­get for train­ing or up­grad­ing the skills of se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als. Even U.S. com­pa­nies don’t have spe­cific al­lo­ca­tions for se­cu­rity train­ing. There are some com­pa­nies who have their train­ing and learn­ing cells or de­part­ments; they do have a train­ing bud­get, but again, noth­ing spe­cific for se­cu­rity,” says Kaushik. ~

Over the past 30-36 months, more than 100 peo­ple from In­dia Inc. have un­der­gone CATS train­ing

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