September 2020 – Top News in the Security and Risk Industry and Grants

October 12, 2020 | 4 min read
September 2020 news post

There’s a lot going on in the world of physical risk and vulnerability; it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the latest news and developments. We’ll keep you informed with the best content to keep your organization safe and secure. Check out the top news and headlines from the past month.

Former President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos opens GSX+

From Security Magazine: GSX+’s first virtual conference kicked off September 21 with a keynote from Juan Manuel Santos, former president of Columbia (2010-2018) and recipient of the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts in bringing Columbia’s 50-year-long civil war to an end. President Santos gave a powerful keynote.

“In this pandemic, so far the only certainty has been precisely uncertainty,” he said.

Our take: The pandemic has changed the way most businesses look at risk. The uncertainty associated with Covid-19 has meant that organizations are wondering what other risks they may not have prepared for. This has meant a shift in security culture. Rather than simply preparing for predictable risks, organizations are preparing for foreseeable incidents. That’s a positive change; simply because an event isn’t likely doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Enterprises caught off-guard by remote work cybersecurity challenges

From Security InfoWatch: A report has found that many of the businesses that suddenly went remote back in spring have been struggling with cybersecurity challenges. Two in particular stand out: the “shadow IT” infrastructures that’s sprung up at some workplaces when employees work around IT and cybersecurity policies, and remote solutions that are difficult to scale.

Our take: The best security plans are the ones that never change, even in the middle of a pandemic. Covid has shown security professionals of all kinds where the holes in their security (and cybersecurity are). Going forward, security teams will need to work with employees to create cybersecurity plans that work for everyone, and should be certain that remote solutions scale well in advance.

New technologies, inspired by Covid, debut at GSX+

From Security InfoWatch: Being online hasn’t stopped the GSX+ exhibition from presenting new innovations and technologies. This year’s exhibition includes thermal imaging technology, gunshot detection, emergency communication technology, and a new optical turnstile, which targets potential COVID-19 checkpoints for smaller spaces.

Our take: Security technology has come a long way; twenty years ago the best new technology was camera-related. Now every year brings new and interesting innovations at GSX. This year’s crop of technology is inspired by the current pandemic. It will be interesting to see which technologies will be most helpful to organizations as they work to keep their employees and customers safe.

Campus Safety Survey: COVID-19 Is Driving Big Access Control Changes

From Security Sales & Integration: This year’s Campus Safety Access Control, Lock and Lockdown survey from Campus Safety magazine, found that policies and procedures have been affected most by the pandemic, with 65% of U.S. schools and 60% of colleges saying they are limiting the number of visitors to their campuses, and nearly one in three are not allowing visitors at all due to the pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of K-12 respondents (61%) and 72% of higher-ed respondents say class sizes are being reduced, and 39% of higher education survey participants say they are reducing dorm room occupancy.

Our take: It’s good to see that colleges and universities are coming up with plans and policies to protect students and staff during the pandemic. It’s important to remember, however, that those plans will have to include after-hours activities and poor-decisions made by individual students. How will a university react, for example, if a group of students holds a party? How will that affect the rest of the campus? These questions need to be answered if an entire college community is to stay safe.

September’s Top Security Grants

FEMA Fire Assistance Grants: Fire Management Assistance is available to states, local and tribal governments, for the mitigation, management, and control of fires on publicly or privately owned forests or grasslands, which threaten such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. The Fire Management Assistance declaration process is initiated when a State submits a request for assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Director at the time a "threat of major disaster" exists. The entire process is accomplished on an expedited basis and a FEMA decision is rendered in a matter of hours.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Post Fire: Wildfires can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources, and agriculture. They can also increase secondary hazards and leave areas prone to floods, erosion, and mudflows for many years. FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) has Post Fire assistance available to help communities implement hazard mitigation measures after wildfire disasters. States, federally-recognized tribes and territories affected by fires resulting in an Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) declaration on or after October 5, 2018, are eligible to apply. The application period opens with the state or territory's first FMAG declaration of the fiscal year and closes six months after the end of that fiscal year. Application extensions may be requested.

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response: This grant, announced on the behalf of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, (BARDA), is a response to the COVID-19 epidemic. BARDA is interested in proposals from businesses related to COVID-19 tests, vaccines, therapeutics and manufacturing technologies. Grant closes: Oct. 31.

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