Asian Head Office
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WHO ARE WE?
International Security Solutions consulting services is made up of those from most business sectors – financial, automotive, transportation, pharmaceutical, and others. As a result, we can provide expert advice on all aspects of global security for corporations, executives or key employees. We can address all types of employee and corporate security issues that might arise in countries throughout Asia and Middle East. Currently, International Security Solutions is heavily involved in the Regions of Bangladesh, Thailand and South East Asia.
What is Threat and Risk Assessment?
Without having a clear understanding of risk in this day and age can often lead to disaster for some companies. There are many methodologies that exist today on how to perform a risk and threat assessment. Some that are “open-source” and those that are proprietary; however, they all have the same goal to try to answer the following :
⦁ What needs to be protected?
⦁ Who/What are the threats and vulnerabilities?
⦁ What are the implications if they were damaged or lost?
⦁ What is the value to the organization?
⦁ What can be done to minimize exposure to the loss or damage?
The objective of a threat and risk assessment is to provide recommendations that maximize the protection of confidentiality, integrity, and availability while still providing functionality and usability. At International Security Solutions we take this one step further by ensuring companies and directors are dealing with the right people in the region. In order to determine the answers to these questions, a company or organization can perform a threat and risk assessment. This can be accomplished using either internal external and sometimes unconventional resources. It is important that the risk assessment be a collaborative process, without the involvement of the various organizational levels the assessment can lead to a costly and ineffective security measure or attract unwanted media. The choice between using internal or external resources normally depends on the situation at the time.
The urgency of the assessment will also help in determining whether to outsource or use internal resources. international Security Solutions believes that external resource should not have a vested interest in the organization and should be free from personal and external constraints which may impair his or her independence.
1 The core areas in a risk assessment are: ·
Data Collection ·
Analysis of Policies and Procedures ·
Threat Analysis ·
Vulnerability Analysis ·
Understanding local politics both in front and behind the scenes.
The correlation and assessment of Risk Acceptability Scope Identifying the scope is probably the most important step in the process, In regions with high vulnerability to Terror liaising with key officials ( The right People) and a grassroots understanding of the treats is the key to minimizing loss.
The scope provides the analyst with what is covered and what is not covered in the assessment. It identifies what needs to be protected, the sensitivity of what is being protected and the steps required to do what is necessary to protect the asset.
The Collection of Data
In Relation to the collection of Data, most policies, and procedures that are currently in place and identifying those that are missing or undocumented. Interviews with key personnel can be conducted using questionnaires or surveys to assist in identifying assets and missing or out-of-date documentation.
Four main reliable databases that are searchable databases of vulnerabilities and relevant newsgroups are:
- Incidents.org (www.incidents.org)
- information on current threat activities.
- Packet Storm (packetstormsecurity.org)
- InfoSysSec (www.infosyssec.com)
- SANS (www.sans.org)
At International Security Solutions we believe the data and grassroots information is the first line of defense in a cost-effective analysis and threat & risk evaluation.
Security is a must in this day and age
International Security Solutions includes experts in the field of securing VIPs and delegations operatives with extensive experience in planning and implementing security arrangements for high-ranking local and foreign dignitaries, visiting heads of state, business community leaders, media figures and more.
This service is multi-faceted including issues such as:
⦁ Physical and technological security at the residence
⦁ Screening of permanent and temporary auxiliary personnel
⦁ Safe local and international travel for all family members
⦁ Protection at both work and leisure related activities
Despite these complexities, International Security Solutions operatives know how to do their job with a discretion that minimizes any sense of intrusion or interruption of daily functioning within the family or on the job. This is achieved by paying particular attention to thorough advance planning and preparations to ensure optimal security coverage using models developed by the specialists in their fields. One of the unique features of our service is the provision of very discreet protection. Maintaining a low profile not only provides the client with a work and living environment that is both safe and pleasant but also helps to identify unusual, suspicious behavior, giving another viewpoint that the attacker is neither used to nor prepared for.
International Security Solutions provides protection to delegations all over the world. Based on models developed by only the best Secret Service’s Dignitaries and Delegation Protection Units the protection arrangements are optimally adapted to the unique features and needs of each type of delegation – cultural, sports, commercial, etc. The meticulous advanced planning and preparations always include coordination and cooperation with all relevant security and law enforcement organizations.
We at International Security Solutions believe Bangladesh is a prime hub for investment and manufacturing base providing companies maintain a clear understanding of risk in relation to Terror and political stability, which is, in fact, the case in most regions. Medium- to long-term political risk remains medium in Bangladesh although the country manages to preserve macroeconomic stability. One major explanatory factor lies in the long history of political instability and violence that peaked last year. The general election boycott by the opposition last January has maintained political uncertainty with the risk of renewed social unrest and business disruption. A military intervention could become necessary at some point given the absence of compromise prospect in a deeply polarized country. The spread of Islamism and terrorism together with ethnic tensions are also risks to take into consideration.
The garment sector, the country’s top exporting industry, was hit last year by tragic factory collapses, thereby putting it under the spotlight. Since then, the government and world’s major textile groups have been cooperating with the aim to improve future working conditions. Even though the low-cost advantage is expected to remain, there is an underlying risk due to Bangladesh’s economic dependence on a sector in a transition phase and subject to fierce regional competition. Moreover, the economy is vulnerable to climate change, with frequent natural disasters, and poverty remains huge despite significant progress in human development and a decade of resilient and strong growth. Weak public finances, especially regionally low fiscal revenues, hamper anti-poverty policy and public investments in infrastructure that are badly needed, thus hindering economic development. Looking forward and despite several vulnerabilities, Bangladesh has the potential to raise its growth trajectory, notably, thanks to a fast-rising middle class, provided the business environment and political stability are improved, which is a big challenge for the country.
Bangladesh presents a more favorable short-term political risk profile thanks to much improved external liquidity fuelled by record-high foreign exchange reserves. These have been sharply built up mainly as a result of robust garment exports in an adverse climate and strong workers’ remittances from the Gulf. Until a satisfying outcome is found, the short-term outlook is, however, clouded by risks related to the political crisis.
Uncertain and unstable political outlook after boycotted elections
Bangladesh is living one of its worst political crises in a decade. Political turmoil and violence are recurrent in a country historically polarized between two parties that have alternated power since independence, namely the ruling secular Awami League (AL) and the Islamic Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The AL’s previous mandate was rather stable until it was plagued last year by deadly textile factory collapses, high violence and radicalization of BNP supporters. Their anger has been fuelled by adverse judicial proceedings (jail or death sentences) against their – and their ally Jamaat-e-Islami’s – historical leaders at the International Crimes Tribunal set up to try criminals during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war from Pakistan. The risk is that those tensions eventually fuel radical Islamism in a Muslim country where the majority of the population is moderate and defends democracy over an Islamic state. Faced with a government criticized for corruption and electoral fraud, domestic terrorism could grow and the popularity of Islamic parties – supported by the poor for their positive social role – be boosted as witnessed at recent local elections and in previous polls.
In this tense climate and given that BNP contested AL’s refusal of a neutral caretaker government to monitor last January’s Parliamentary elections, the internal situation has been chaotic for months with strikes, violent protests (with a record of victims last year) and business disruption. The BNP’s election boycott has harmed the credibility of AL’s easy victory and strengthened the political stalemate. In spite of the domestic and external pressure, AL’s historic leader and re-elected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has so far resisted from holding new elections for fear of losing them – as expected – and being the target of retaliatory actions from BNP if it returns to power. As a consequence of this political deadlock and increasing domestic polarization, a powerful but reluctant army could be compelled to intervene. It would thereby become more influential in the political game by installing, as in 2007, an interim military-backed government until fair elections are organized.
Calm has returned and activity normalized since January. However, unless a difficult political compromise is found and leads to new elections or the army ultimately intervenes, the political situation is likely to deteriorate and again increase political risk.
The outlook is cautiously positive on the back of economic resilience
Thus, against the odds, Bangladesh’s key industry keeps recording strong performances. Increasing garment exports partly illustrate Bangladesh’s remarkably high economic resilience as they have been growing by over an average 6% in the last ten years despite weather-related and exogenous economic shocks such as the 2009 global recession. Latest adverse developments have however lowered annual GDP growth in the 2013/14 fiscal year to around 5.5%, i.e. below 6% for the first time since 2003, before moving up towards 6.5-7% in the medium term. The economic outlook will nevertheless largely depend on the resolution of the political crisis. Political uncertainty renewed social unrest and business disruption are main risks as they can hamper economic development, foreign investment plans, and affect public finances and a weakened banking sector.
Lastly, domestic demand (accounting for 75% of GDP) has been hit by slowing credit growth, workers’ remittances, and stagnating investment. The current account balance is in surplus although it is expected to turn into a deficit as from next year as investment-related imports are expected to pick up. Remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad are a powerful buffer against external shocks as they account for one-third of total current account receipts and tend to be very resilient. They offset the country’s huge trade deficit and allow the current account to fluctuate chronically around balance. Last year’s restrictions against recruitment of Bangladeshis in the Gulf countries, where they are mainly working, have slowed the growth in remittance inflows though. The country’s balance of payments is not expected to face pressure as foreign direct investments (FDI) should meet future financing needs.
Economic performances are clouded by a weak budget position
Bangladesh continues to be granted IMF financial support from a successful three-year Extended Credit Facility, which shows constant government commitment to macroeconomic stability and thus participates to improve overall fundamentals. Still, public finances remain a source of real concern with a budget deficit chronically above 3% of GDP as the government keeps recording structurally very low fiscal revenues (stuck at 12.4% of GDP, cf. graph) that have also been hit by the recent economic slowdown. Raising fiscal revenues is crucial to financing not only heavy interest charges (equal to 18% of budget receipts) but particularly high social spending and necessary public investment in poor infrastructure. Nevertheless, fiscal policy is cautiously managed, fiscal reforms are underway or still to be implemented and public debt is moderate, increasingly domestic and expected to gradually decline under 40% of GDP.
Stability prevails for the monetary policy with the inflation rate maintained around 7%, and for the exchange rate with the taka kept stable against the USD over the past 12 months. Besides, default risk on foreign debt is low as it is sustainable at 20% of GDP and principally contracted at favorable terms with multilateral creditors.
Bangladesh’s external liquidity has never been so strong, boosted by foreign exchange reserves soaring to a historic peak – enough to cover 5 months of imports and more than twice the short-term debt – which is mainly explained by a combination of slowing imports and rising exports and FDI. The situation is less rosy for the banking sector. In a context of political instability and weaker economic activity, its health has been deteriorating. This is particularly true for the four State banks (representing about a quarter of total banking assets) where bad loans are high and rising due to malpractices and non-compliance with rules in lending activity. Hence, a partial recapitalization is planned provided governance is improved.
One of the most significant achievements for Bangladesh probably lies in progress in human development as shown by the steady improvement in a range of indicators such as literacy, child mortality or life expectancy. This is primarily due to the key role of women as working force (mainly in textile), to a broad supply of microcredit and large money transfers to rural areas from workers active abroad. Therefore, Bangladesh fares better than the Indian neighbor in health and education, which contributes to raising its economic potential.
Poverty, climate change, and infrastructure gap impede economic development
Yet, deep poverty is one of Bangladesh’s three structural challenges. It is still widespread throughout its overcrowded territory (157 Mio people) where GDP per capita is around USD 850, which is one of the lowest levels in Asia. Although poverty has been gradually reduced in the past ten years, Bangladesh needs to address high food price inflation, achieve a more inclusive growth to fight rising income inequality and record higher growth rates to reach faster and more significant results, especially when compared with poverty levels in other fast-growing countries in the region.
Another risk comes from the vulnerability to climate change (e.g. rising sea level) with the threat of worsening and more frequent weather-related shocks (cyclones, floods…) in the future, thereby further affecting socio-economic activity and poverty. A third one, infrastructure deficiencies, is common to all South Asia. A poor transport network and recurrent power cuts hinder business and hold back economic development and growth. Therefore, major multi-year (public and private) investments are planned to boost infrastructure development. Infrastructure shortfall, together with red tape and high corruption – among the highest in Asia (ranked 136th out of 177 countries according to Transparency International) – make the business environment difficult. Despite this, Bangladesh’s systemic commercial risk is classified in category B thanks to good domestic economic and financial conditions enjoyed by local companies.