From the increasing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and the widespread adoption of generative artificial intelligence to the unprecedented scale of wildfires wreaking havoc worldwide, security teams found themselves grappling with a multitude of new threats in 2023. 

But what lies ahead in 2024? 

To gain valuable insights into the future of corporate physical security, we reached out to seven leading experts in the field, asking them to share their predictions on the most significant emerging threats poised to shape the security landscape in the coming year.

Here's what they had to say.

Denida Zinxhiria Grow

By 2024, it is anticipated that the landscape of physical security threats will be heavily influenced by geopolitical tensions, with a marked emphasis on counterterrorism efforts in light of recent developments. The recent public call by designated terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, to target Western interests necessitates a fortified response to mitigate the risks of terrorist activities. This underscores the potential for a surge in politically motivated attacks, which may leverage both cyber and physical means to compromise the security of nations perceived as adversaries.

The call for action from these groups could potentially manifest in an increased propensity for lone-wolf attacks, sophisticated insurgencies, and coordinated assaults against soft targets in the West. These activities aim not only to cause direct harm but also to instigate societal fear and disrupt international stability.

It is important for businesses, governments, and security organizations to employ a holistic security paradigm that includes both preventative and responsive measures. This involves in-depth intelligence gathering, collaborative interagency efforts, advanced surveillance systems, and robust emergency preparedness protocols.

Denida Zinxhiria Grow

Denida Zinxhiria Grow
Founder of Athena Worldwide, Nannyguards, and LeMareschal LLC


 

Scot Walker & Carlos Francisco

Global protests and civil unrest pose one of the greatest threats to businesses in 2024.  

What will likely fuel protests and civil unrest?

  • The United States faces a contentious election year.
  • Financial support for Ukraine will continue to divide the US and NATO.  
  • The war in Israel and Palestine is likely to draw in other Middle Eastern countries, like Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Turkey, causing the United States to defend Israel with force.
  • Climate-related disasters, resource scarcity, and environmental deterioration.
  • Social media and deepfakes drive false narratives on the above.

What are the potential impacts?

  • Since protests and civil unrest occur in the public square, businesses and employees risk disruption or injury should the crowd turn violent.
  • Protests near important transportation hubs can delay the delivery of goods and services thus upsetting the supply chain.
  • Insurance costs could increase due to claims for business disruption and property damage brought on by civil unrest.
  • Businesses that protect themselves from civil unrest may face legal problems if security staff are accused of using excessive force.
  • Organized environmental protest movements like “Just Stop Oil” may escalate disruption activity by blocking roads, spraypainting buildings, interrupting political gatherings, and gluing themselves to precious artwork.

Scot Walker

Scot Walker
Co-Founder of Corporate Security University

Carlos Francisco

Carlos Francisco, CPP
Co-Founder of Corporate Security University



Yariv Lis

I believe the biggest physical security-related challenge in 2024 is understanding that it is way more than physical security, it is also the landscape of the workforce that has changed. For example, organized retail crime groups are way more organized than corporations, which is a big factor in their growing success.

If we acknowledge that physical security procedures, items, or devices can do only so much, the rest falls on the human element.  With the understanding that suitability is not just the capability of an employee to do the task, we will spend more time on learning about the life cycle of personnel risk.

Yariv Lis

Yariv Lis
Co-Founder and COO of Verensics



Kyle Baker

In the unfolding landscape of 2024, a stark increase in societal division and the propagation of hate emerges as a harrowing precursor to intensified physical security threats. The global stage is marred by escalating tensions, exacerbated by the dissemination of disinformation that acts as a catalyst for strife. As multiple nations grapple with internal discord, the prospect of engaging in global conflicts looms ominously. The complexity is further heightened as this tumultuous backdrop unfolds against a critical election year, where the intersection of politics and security becomes a focal point of concern.

Simultaneously, the evolving nature of information dissemination takes center stage as we foresee the rise of the Social Media Fediverse. This interconnected ecosystem, comprised of myriad smaller social channels, promises to reshape the dynamics of online communication. While its potential for fostering diverse and inclusive dialogue is apparent, the flip side unveils a darker reality. The aggregation of these channels presents an unprecedented opportunity for the consolidation of extremist views, providing a breeding ground for radicalization. The implications are profound, as marginalized voices gain increased visibility, not only fostering community connections but also amplifying the risk of organized dissent and security threats.

kyle-baker

Kyle Baker
Product Specialist Manager at LifeRaft



Chris Grow

The physical threat landscape in 2024, as it relates to today’s corporate security operations, close protection details, and logistical planning, is almost solely based in or surrounded by the dichotomy of the massive increase in travel by the corporate world as it has now fully emerged from the former CV-19 lockdowns, and the unrestrained geopolitical upheaval and unrest all around the globe. On the one hand, there is a desire and need to return to pre-COVID operational status now that there are no restrictions. The corporate sense that there is now a need to “get ahead” or “catch up” is one of the primary thoughts driving this type of mentation. On the opposite side of the spectrum are the massive numbers of organizations, groups, and even full countries that now present a very real and viable threat as travel puts record numbers of potential victims right in the palms of the most nefarious and insidious individuals we have ever encountered.

The tedious balance that the security professional in 2024 will need to negotiate to provide comprehensive programs while avoiding the most obvious risks, will need to actively take these factors into account. The risks and threats on the ground in real-time are changing at a moment’s notice and the advance planning needs to be highly reliable and relevant.

The travel planners need to be tuned in to what the environment in the area of interest looks like minute by minute. Advance teams need to be on the ground to physically see what they will be dealing with and plan multiple real-time options should their areas of operation become inaccessible due to large-party civil unrest or their overall primary plans become entirely untenable. Protection elements will need to always have an extremely flexible mindset when dealing with C-Suite executives who may or may not have a clear understanding of the perceived threat and/or risks involved with what they see as a simple “trip.” GSOC’s must utilize up-to-date platforms to keep their personnel informed and highly relevant, no matter their location.

As we always do, we will shoulder the stresses and the complications that inherently accompany our Craft. But it behooves the Protector to remember… Our world has significantly changed. ‘Friendly’ locations are not so friendly anymore. ‘Little issues’ are not so little anymore. ‘Just a trip’ isn’t just a trip. As the world situation continues to destabilize, our vigilance and planning MUST increase to match or exceed our risks and threats or we cease to be of value or relevance.

Chris Grow

Chris Grow
Managing Partner at LeMareschal LLC



Dr. Gavriel Schneider

We have not yet shaken off the Covid Hangover – even though it’s not often discussed anymore. It is not realistic to think that in many parts of the world, we had people confined to their homes, with little to no ability to practice social cohesion and engage with other humans in some cases for months at a time. This has led to long-term changes in behavior and a degradation of conflict resolution skills globally. As such, we have seen a spike in anti-social behavior and aggression, often leading to violence in most first-world countries in 2023.

With significant global tensions, war breaking out in the Middle East and continuing in Ukraine, and Cyber-attacks being a continuous reality, superimposed with tired populations — it does not create a good picture for 2024.  I believe that we will see a continuing trend and possibly an increase in anti-social behavior, aggression, and violence which will manifest physically and continue to challenge security solutions and practices to effectively manage and reduce this risk and the significant negative impact to both physical and mental health.

Gavriel Schneider

Dr. Gavriel Schneider
CEO & Principal Consultant at Risk 2 Solution Group


 

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the individuals interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of LifeRaft.

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