Security Forward Workshop & Dinner - 10 January 2019 - HSBC Head Office

Thursday, 10 January 2019
By Now&ZYen

Security Forward-Risk & Intelligence Forum’s quarterly meeting was held at the HSBC Head Office in Canary Wharf on Thursday, 10 January. We were very kindly hosted by Chris Smith, Global Head of Corporate Security, and given the opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the outstanding works of art in the HSBC art collection.

Our first speaker was our Speaker in Residence Lt Col Crispin Black who argued in his presentation "Civil Unrest - UnBritish Or Very British" that we have a long tradition of civil unrest dating back at least to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 but still active in modern times. Leaving aside difficulties in Northern Ireland, the mainland has seen at least three episodes of serious civil unrest in living memory - the Miners' Strike of 1984-85, the anti Poll Tax demonstrations and riots of 1990, and the London riots of 2011. The Miners' Strike was particularly significant in that usually law-abiding communities were prepared to oppose the police violently in a political cause.

In Crispin's assessment, politically motivated action on the streets, including violence, has become more likely. The reputation of the police, the judicial system, and the political establishment has been fragile for some time. Add to the mix that the result of the 2016 Referendum has not been accepted by key players in our national life - Parliament and the BBC to name possibly but two - and there now exists a political tension that is going to be hard to resolve through the UK's existing institutions. We wait upon events.

He concluded with a brief look at the United States. Again, the continuing non-acceptance of the legitimacy of President Trump's election in November 2016 by many Democrats and large swathes of the US Establishment has already led to large and occasionally violent demonstrations. The 2020 presidential election looks set to be raucous at the very least. If Trump wins again (particularly if the result is close), Crispin predicts widespread unrest, particularly on the coasts, that the authorities will find difficult to control.

Our second speaker was Jon Cosson, Head of IT and CISO at JM Finn and a Member of Security Forward. Jon is a technical leader and security specialist with extensive experience delivering transformative security solutions. He has a passion for IT Security and is risk-focused, delivering secure business objectives through a grasp of broad industry trends and new technologies. His presentation was entitled "Risk Based Approach To Human Behaviour Profiling" and he gave us a really interesting and informative case study. The rationale behind the project looking at insider threat was:

  1. To prevent physical and electronic sabotage.
  2. To prevent unauthorised disclosure of private and sensitive data.
  3. To prevent the facilitation of a third party to access the organisation.

Jon kept us all really engaged and shared some of the work that is being done in this area. Interestingly, most people are creatures of habit, so should there be a break in normal behaviour, that raises questions. The answers may be very simple or may trigger a closer look at why certain behaviour changes are happening. The ability to track people around secure offices allows for both the maintenance of their safety but also picks up any unusual behaviour. Jon posed the question - ‘How can organisations mitigate the risk posed by trusted insiders who may have access to sensitive areas of the business?’ He shared with us some of the technology being employed, such as a BlueTooth sensor embedded in a security card holder. The technology allows Jon and his team to track people's locations. And Jon and the team actively use the data. They have built a dynamic analysis of zones in their buildings that flag unusual activity for almost real-time intervention. The question and answer session went on into the coffee break, covering topics of privacy, employee reaction, and Jon's point that he's trying to exonerate people (e.g. the ever-takes-the-blame cleaners) as much as indict them.

Following the coffee break, we had our usual session on ‘Sharing Your Current In-Tray’ during which participants introduced themselves and identified issues of particular interest and concern. This a very valuable session which allows all participants a platform to raise issues and concerns of interest to them. We then adjourned to yet another impressive room with even more fine artwork and enjoyed our traditional cocktail, chosen by Crispin, as is customary with have some relevance to the meeting. He chose a cocktail called ‘The Cavalry Charge’ in honour of our dinner speaker Lt General Sir Barney White-Spunner KCB CBE late of the Household Cavalry, who gave a talk about his latest book, "Partition-The Story Of Indian Independence And The Creation Of Pakistan In 1947". The General is a truly gifted speaker and his talk resulted in a Q&A session that lasted for the whole of dinner. His breadth of historical knowledge and grasp of world affairs led to a wide-ranging discussion. All those present were given a copy of his book and the usual exchanging of cards and networking took place before the event ended.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on 11 April at Furniture Makers' Hall, another on 17 July at The Gunmakers' Livery Proof House. Further meetings are scheduled for 17 October 2019, 16 January 2020, and on St George’s Day, 23 April 2020. Our previous blogs can be found on