PMI-Montréal project management blog

Smoothly Managing Event Security

Author : Cassie Steele

Business planners internationally are on high alert when it comes to security concerns

 Canada businesses lose $3bn yearly to cybercrime that isn't necessarily all conducted from the internet, according to the Chamber of Commerce. Whilst online-based attacks are a big source of loss, so too are physical security breaches. 

An area where security can be overlooked is corporate events, where the pomp and benefits of a well-run event can take precedence over the fundamental security essentials. For event planners, security is a key detail. As the world changes, so does the way in which security works, and the factors you need to incorporate into your risk planning. Apply modern project management techniques to your security planning and you'll have a secure first step of your event.

First impressions at business

First impressions are crucial in business. According to a study by the University of Western Ontario, first impressions can stick - sometimes for life - and so getting it right the first time is important. What's more, consumers and stakeholders value security highly; a study by PwC  found that 40% of business leaders are concerned about the impact of security breaches on their business.    

For a heavily digitized business, the first step at your event is your physical security. The process of filtering who has access to your event is crucial, and it's important that your security arrangements are professionally managed and supervised. Your security system should ideally include a pass system that is quickly and easily digitally managed, and security arrangements that are professional and aware of the digital requirements; be wary of excessive electronic devices or anything out of the ordinary for the itinerary delivered to participants ahead of time.

Guaranteeing cyber assurance

Physical security may be less of an issue to a closed-door, invite-only event, but cybersecurity is huge. According to Statistics Canada, there's at least one successful cyberattack per week with up to 50 attempts per week. With PwC finding that the average cyberattack cost is CA$4.2m in 2017, it's crucial that your event doesn't cough up an opportunity for fraudsters.

It's likely that your event will be highly digitized - and if it isn't, it should be. Research has shown that gamification of events leads to greater engagement, and that people will be more willing to provide thorough feedback on a digital platform as opposed to wrestling with pen and paper. Ensure that you have a closed network in case of data breach, so it can be quickly shutdown. Operate end-to-end encryption and monitor traffic from your event that leaves your attendees - this will prevent out of organisation breaches. As all of this can completed backend, you won't impact the smooth running of your event.

Running a modern corporate event will inevitably include use of digital technology. It's a great way to engage with staff and many colleagues will already be digitally active. However, it's important to note that security is heightened in these situations, and it's crucial to keep up your vigilance and invest in tough barriers to any would-be attacker.