Critical infrastructure: Addressing risks in a changing world

Critical infrastructure

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Critical infrastructure projects span a wide range of sectors and encompass diverse facilities and operations, reports GardaWorld.

From the construction of bridges and roads that enable efficient transportation to power stations that supply electricity to communities, each critical infrastructure project type presents its own unique set of challenges and risks.

Identifying and mitigating these risks require a deep understanding of the specific vulnerabilities and threat landscapes associated with each project.

Safeguarding people and projects is about more than just physical security; it is about protecting communities, the environment and reputations, avoiding disruption and building transformative relationships with local communities that will scale the success of strategic goals and objectives.

Critical infrastructure: Ensuring effective management

Critical infrastructure systems, assets and networks are essential for the functioning of a society, economy or nation-state and their disruption or destruction can have a significant impact on the safety, security and economic wellbeing of a population.

Critical infrastructure typically includes various sectors and sectors such as: Energy, transportation, water and sanitation, communication networks, healthcare and emergency services, financial services, IT, food and agriculture and defence systems.

Thus, the continuous protection and resilience of critical infrastructure is key to maintaining societal functioning and ensuring public safety, with governments and organisations responsible often implementing measures to safeguard systems from natural disasters, cyber-attacks, terrorism and other threats to maintain their integrity and operational continuity.

The private sector plays a crucial role in delivering a meaningful impact on the security and risk management of critical infrastructure, contributing through a number of channels, such as:

Collaborations with local government – establishing strong partnerships and collaboration with government entities responsible for critical infrastructure protection is vital.

This collaboration can involve sharing information on potential threats, participating in joint exercises and training programs and cooperating on incident response and recovery efforts.

Sharing best practices and expertise – the private sector can contribute by sharing their industry-specific expertise, best practices and lessons learned in security and risk management.

This can help improve overall security standards across critical infrastructure sectors.

Research and development – private sector entities can invest in research and development efforts to develop innovative technologies, tools and solutions for enhancing the security of critical infrastructure.

This includes advancements in areas such as cybersecurity, physical security systems, threat detection and emergency response technologies.

Employee training and awareness – private sector organisations should prioritise training and educating employees about security practices and protocols.

By fostering a culture of security awareness and providing necessary training, private sector employees can contribute to identifying and reporting potential risks or security incidents.

Adoption of best practices and standards – private sector organisations can adopt recognised best practices and standards for security and risk management.

This includes implementing internationally recognised frameworks such as ISO 27001 for cybersecurity or NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Adherence to these standards helps ensure consistent and effective security practices.

Cybersecurity collaboration and threat intelligence sharing – private sector entities can actively participate in cybersecurity collaborations and information sharing initiatives.

By sharing threat intelligence and collaborating on cybersecurity measures, the private sector can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of emerging threats and the development of effective countermeasures.

Continuity planning and disaster recovery – private sector organisations can develop and implement robust continuity plans and disaster recovery strategies for their critical infrastructure assets.

This involves ensuring redundancy, backup systems and effective recovery plans to minimise disruptions and enable rapid recovery from incidents.

Third party risk management – private sector entities can assess and manage risks associated with their supply chains and third party vendors.

This includes conducting due diligence, implementing contractual requirements for security measures and regular assessments of vendor security practices.

Advocacy and engagement – the private sector can advocate for policies and regulations that support the security and resilience of critical infrastructure.

Engaging with industry associations, government stakeholders and policymakers helps shape effective strategies and frameworks for protecting critical infrastructure.

In today’s interconnected world, the threats to these vital systems continue to evolve, with the risk profiles increasingly originating beyond the site perimeter in digital communities, communication networks and social media landscapes.

Understanding the landscape to operate effectively, through a comprehensive, unique intelligence solution marrying aggregated risk data from 20+ years’ of operations, digital information monitoring and management and a deep localised understanding of the communities in which we operate, provides colour far beyond just assessing and analysing data.

Through an intelligence-led operational framework, GardaWorld is at the forefront of providing innovative, turnkey solutions to protect critical infrastructure projects worldwide, identifying new threats, reducing complexity and empowering client operations.

Understanding common risks in projects

Physical security risks – protecting critical infrastructure from physical threats, such as unauthorised access, vandalism or sabotage, is crucial across all project types.

GardaWorld implements state-of-the-art physical security measures to safeguard project sites and assets.

Its solutions include access control systems, perimeter security, video surveillance and security personnel deployment, ensuring a robust defence against physical risks.

Cybersecurity risks – the digital transformation of critical infrastructure introduces cybersecurity vulnerabilities that must be addressed proactively.

According to the Microsoft Digital Defense Report 2022, cyber-attacks targeting critical infrastructure have been on the rise, driven in part by Russia’s attempts to damage Ukrainian infrastructure and aggressive espionage targeting of Ukraine’s allies.

GardaWorld conducts cybersecurity risk assessments and deploys measures to protect against threats, ensuring the integrity and availability of project operations.

It offers infosec reviews, computer forensics and cyber-risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities, establish response plans and strengthen defences.

1-ISJ- Critical infrastructure: Addressing risks in a changing world
Large scale critical infrastructure project

Supply chain risks – the interconnected nature of critical infrastructure projects makes them susceptible to supply chain risks.

GardaWorld employs robust supply chain risk management strategies to ensure the security and resilience of project supply chains.

According to the Global Critical Infrastructure Protection Market Report, disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war have impacted the chances of global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in the short term.

By implementing rigorous vetting processes, conducting supplier assessments and monitoring supply chain activities, GardaWorld mitigates the potential impact of disruptions, counterfeit products and unauthorised access.

Environmental and social risks – environmental and social risks, such as community opposition, regulatory compliance and environmental impact, are common to many critical infrastructure projects.

GardaWorld understands the importance of proactive stakeholder engagement and responsible project management.

The company’s expertise in social risk management enables clients to address these risks effectively, fostering positive community relationships and maintaining project integrity.

GardaWorld: The trusted operational resilience partner

A global industry leader in sophisticated and tailored security and technology solutions, GardaWorld has the people-power, the infrastructure and the reach to deploy integrated, intelligence-led security solutions when and where it matters the most. 

With a deep understanding that security is critical to conducting business and keeping communities safe, GardaWorld is committed to strong governance and care, so that we ensure the wellbeing of all.

As founding signatories to the International Code of Conduct (ICoC) and board members of ICoCA, we lead the way in shaping industry best practices, worldwide.

We are certified to these five internationally accredited, industry relevant standards, across all of our operations:

We understand that the key to success of critical infrastructure sites, which are often located in remote areas, is the full cooperation of all stakeholders, particularly the local community.

We have a proven track record of wins in our social and security risk management approach enabling our clients to operate, in full adherence to the Voluntary Principles of Security and Human Rights (VPSHR).

We believe in risk management operations that are sustainable, not just in their durability, but in the knowledge economies they leave behind.

Tying both internal and external elements together through our singularly consolidated infrastructure has historically been a key factor for success.

We strive to achieve operational excellence through the use of international expertise and local engagement which serves as a natural risk mitigator.

While every challenge is uniquely different, our proven methodology and efficacy is a result of a robust and tested infrastructure that has successfully provided and implemented, global, country and regional level operations, coordination and management. 

Our 132,000+ professionally trained staff (of which 95% are local nationals) deliver flexible, scalable, discreet, avoidance-based risk management and protective services, combined with cutting-edge technology, to secure our clients’ people, assets and reputation, giving clients the confidence to conduct operations in complex and fragile environments.

Comprehensive risk assessment and planning – fully comprehensive site risk assessments and planning tailored to the specific needs of a critical infrastructure project must be undertaken by an experienced security professional.

Through their deep understanding of the risks common to various project types in any specific location, they can identify vulnerabilities and develop effective security strategies addressing potential physical, cyber, environmental and social risks, ensuring a holistic approach to security.

Tailored security solutions for diverse projects – GardaWorld offers customised security solutions designed to address the unique challenges of different critical infrastructure projects.

Whether it’s implementing physical and perimeter security measures, access control systems or K-9 security, its expertise ensures that all vulnerabilities are appropriately mitigated.

The company collaborates with clients to develop security strategies that align with project objectives and regulatory requirements.

Advanced cybersecurity measures – the increasing prevalence of cyber-threats necessitates robust cybersecurity measures for critical infrastructure projects.

GardaWorld, through its Crisis24 business, provides cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions, including infosec reviews, computer forensics and cyber risk assessments, to protect against cyber-attacks and ensure the resilience of operations.

By leveraging advanced technologies and best practices, it helps clients establish a strong cyber-defence posture.

Mitigating environmental and social risks – critical infrastructure projects often face environmental and social risks that can impact operations and reputation.

According to the Global Critical Infrastructure Protection Market Report, the market size for critical infrastructure protection was valued at USD $89,388.25 million in 2022 and is expected to reach USD $124,715.07 million by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 5.71%.

GardaWorld’s social risk management expertise helps clients navigate these challenges, protecting their reputation and ensuring sustainable and responsible project implementation.

The company assists in stakeholder mapping, community engagement and environmental health and safety measures to foster positive relationships and maintain project integrity.

GardaWorld’s deep understanding of the risks common to various project types, coupled with its local expertise and global reach back, has enabled a pioneering approach to providing transformational, tailored protective solutions to any element of the critical infrastructure sector.

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