Risk Management

Signs of drought in Cape Town, South Africa

Ongoing Drought Threatening Water Supply in Cape Town, South Africa

Concerns are growing over a worsening drought that is leading to severe water shortages in Cape Town, South Africa. Local officials warned in January 2018 that Cape Town could reach "Day Zero," when the city's water resources are depleted, as early as April 21, 2018; however, various measures are expected to be implemented to mitigate the shortage before this date. The local government began instituting basic water rationing Jan. 8 and has a six-step, phased approach for such restrictions that will likely be implemented as water scarcity increases.
US State Department Updates Travel Advisory for Mexico

State Department Puts 5 Mexican States on ‘Do Not Travel’ List

On Jan. 10, the United States Department of State unveiled a new travel advisory system in which countries, as well as some individual provinces, are assigned a safety rating on a scale from one to four. The lowest level on the scale, Level 1, is reserved for areas in which the Department of State advises travelers to exercise normal precautions, while a Level 4 designation means that US citizens should not travel to the area. The State Department’s purpose of releasing travel advisories is twofold, in that they set guidelines regarding where diplomatic personnel may travel, and inform US citizens of where there are significant threats to security.
Human Trafficking in Libya

Human Trafficking in Libya: A Tool within a Volatile Political Environment

Libya has made headlines recently for the horrific conditions endured by migrants and refugees detained in the country, but what the media has drawn less attention to is the prevailing security conditions and political dynamics in Libya that facilitate human trafficking. Much like oil facilities in Libya, human trafficking hubs represent strategic points of power due to the lucrative nature of human smuggling. On a broader level, controlling the flow of migrants also affords legitimacy in a politically competitive environment.
Winter weather & storm advice

Winter Storm Advice

The impact of a winter storm can be severe. In addition to heavy snow, high winds, and extreme cold, winter storms can cause flooding, storm surges, and road closures, as well as bring down power lines. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and can cause power outages that may last for days. Roads and walkways may be impassable or closed except for critical transportation needs. Injuries may occur from exposure to cold temperatures and dangerous road conditions. Understand your risk before a weather event occurs with these tips.
Measles virus.

European Measles Epidemic: Regional Outbreak in Decline, but Romania Continues to Bear the Brunt of Disease Activity

Measles transmission is continuing to decline across the region, though risk of infection remains highest in Romania. Greece is currently experiencing a measles outbreak, primarily in southern areas. Regardless of country of destination, health experts recommend that expatriates, students, and business travelers ensure they receive a booster immunization against measles, which remains a significant risk in the region.
View overlooking Sana'a, Yemen

Assassination of Former President Saleh Makes Ending the War More Difficult

The assassination of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside of Sana'a on Dec. 4 not only led to an increased spasm of violence between Saleh's supporters and the Shi'a Al-Houthi rebel, but has ultimately made ending a seemingly intractable civil war even more difficult. After more than two years of a conflict that has killed roughly 10,000 people, wounded nearly 50,000 others, displaced more than three million, and destroyed much of the county's infrastructure, it has become increasingly apparent that a military solution to ending the war cannot be attained by either side. A mediated settlement was seen as the only viable solution, and with the elimination of Saleh, the opposing sides will likely dig in their heels for a protracted conflict that will further decimate the poorest country in the Arab World.
Satellite image of Southern California wildfires driven by Santa Ana winds

Santa Ana Winds: The Perfect Ingredient for Extreme Fire Conditions

Firefighting crews in Southern California are hard at work battling destructive wildfires that ignited Dec. 4-6 in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. As of Dec. 7, nearly 190,000 residents in both counties were ordered to evacuate ahead of the fast-moving fires. Four large fires of note - the Thomas Fire in Ventura County and the Rye Fire, Creek Fire, and Skirball Fire in Los Angeles County - have burned a combined 46,943 hectares (116,000 acres). While personnel are working to restrict fire growth, containment of these major fires is still in its early stages. Since Dec. 4, weather conditions in Los Angeles and Ventura counties have hampered the success of firefighters. The US National Weather Service (NWS) maintains a Red Flag warning for both counties, meaning that conditions will be ideal for wildfire ignition and rapid spread. Strong winds, known as Santa Ana winds, are the leading cause of the recent wildfire outbreak.
Concerns Rise Over Call for US Military Personnel Dependents to Depart South Korea

Concerns Rise Over Call for US Military Personnel Dependents to Depart South Korea

When examining the nuclear tensions in the Korean Peninsula, it is essential to separate rhetoric from reality. It is easy for the US to threaten North Korea with a preemptive strike against Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal. It is also very easy for Kim Jong-Un to speak of a devastating war against the United States and its allies. However, it is much more difficult for either North Korea or the US to carry out these threats without inviting retaliation from the other side. Assuming the essential strategic rationality of both the US and North Korea, neither country is likely to purposefully initiate military action.
2017 Atlantic hurricane season map

Threat Exists for Above Average Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2018

The conclusion of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season on Nov. 30 likely comes as welcome news to those who were impacted by tropical activity in the US, Caribbean, and Central America. While individuals should take advantage of this respite in activity to rebuild devastated communities, it is never too early to start thinking about next year's hurricane season. Individuals and organizations with tropical vulnerabilities should remain vigilant and review contingency plans, particularly following the hyperactive 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
Risk Business: How geopolitics and compliance are intertwined

Risky Business: How Geopolitics and Compliance are Intertwined

Global organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the need to effectively manage regulatory and compliance risk, to understand local business practices, to be fully informed on regulations including corruption legislation, and to fully investigate the practices of both the business itself and partnering organizations. Those that fail to address risks to global integrity, and fail to perform due diligence on the people and companies with which they choose to partner, face significant financial losses in the form of fines and other legal costs, along with a disparaged brand that impacts future customer acquisition, retention and loyalty.
protect-online-privacy

How to Protect Your Online Privacy

On a daily basis, the global media reports a huge loss of personnel data, damaged reputations, pilfered intellectual property, or millions of dollars stolen as the result of cyber incidents. An event reported in the news today will likely be eclipsed in scale or audacity in a few months’ time. Neither banks, global corporations, celebrities, nor even governments seem able to protect themselves from these digital events.
fed-rate-increase

What the Fed Hike Really Means for Emerging Markets

On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate target range to .75%-1%, up from 0.5%. The announcement followed the release of an impressive ADP job report last week, which documented 289,000 jobs added to the US economy in February, 100,000 above the expected level. The report also noted personal consumption expenditure policymakers preferred barometer of inflation to be finally nearing the Feds 2% target, while prospects of a large fiscal stimulus under President Donald Trump is mounting additional pressure on the Fed to begin its series of anticipated hikes to plan accordingly for higher growth (and inflation) in 2018 and 2019.

Forecasting Risk: How to Maximize Assessment Efforts Using Minimal Resources

Many organizations commit significant resources to forecast a market's growth potential. Before investing in a company, it is likely we would review a summary prospectus of their potential earnings. We also look to the National Weather Service for a forecast to determine our resource needs for a weather-dependent activity, days or possibly weeks, in advance. So why, given the need to conduct effective and efficient risk analysis beyond picking low-hanging fruit, is there such a limited effort to forecast risk? 
world-water-week

World Water Week: How Preparations Today Can Mitigate A Crisis Tomorrow

Why is World Water Week celebrated globally? Water is vital to life and all business operations. Whether its individuals traveling across the globe, operations abroad, our food and drinking water, or pharmaceutical, energy, or other production industries, current issues of water security and future concerns over water scarcity will touch us all.
drug-trafficking-organizations-in-mexico

Drug Trafficking Organizations in Mexico

Organized crime groups, commonly referred to as drug trafficking organizations, operate throughout Mexico, and are the primary threat to business activity in the country. Since the disintegration of the Cali and Medellin cartels in Colombia in the early 1990s, Mexican drug trafficking organizations have come to dominate most aspects of the wholesale illicit drug market, including major supply chains into North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. The fragmentation of Mexico's DTOs suggests that the proliferation of groups relying on revenue from localized sources that can affect commercial income will remain a threat in the foreseeable future.

Building a Global Security Operations Center vs. Outsourcing

Building a Global Security Operations Center (GSOC), versus outsourcing the activity to a third-party provider, can create substantial controversy around the conference room table. The best way to offset this is to frame the discussion by documenting key points. This provides the data necessary to move the process forward. Let’s look at four major areas in defining the scope and aiding decision-making...

Understanding the EU Air Safety List

The European Union’s EU Air Safety List, commonly (but incorrectly) referred to as the EU Airline Blacklist, is frequently used by travel risk managers and other authorities to help determine the safety of an airline. However, the Air Safety List is widely misunderstood. We address some FAQs to help security managers understand what it can – and cannot – do to support travel decisions.

Traveler Tracking: Upgrade your Study Abroad Program

Student traveler tracking presents a solution to some of the biggest challenges our university clients face, which are centered on properly preparing and effectively tracking student travelers. Many students are novice travelers with limited prior knowledge of potential threats associated with their travel destinations.