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Help in a Crisis

Feb 01, 20052 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

In the wee hours of Dec. 26th, Tim Weir’s BlackBerry went off, alerting Accenture’s director of global security to the disaster that was unfolding in Southeast Asia. Although the tsunamis that devastated coastal portions of Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives did not hit business centers, Accenture had employees in the vicinity on vacation; the company’s first priority was locating them and ensuring their safety. This process continues as of press time.

In times of crisis, many companies turn to travel safety providers such as Securitas Security Services USA, Control Risk Group and iJet.

Accenture, for example, has been using iJet Travel Intelligence to provide its employees, both inside and outside the affected regions, with up-to-date information about the communications infrastructure, travel, security and the health situation on the ground. “People need to return to work in the region. And because of iJet, we can drill down, and employees can weigh whether they want to travel,” says Weir. Accenture employees that were in affected areas were able to call in to iJet’s crisis hotline to get information. Weir continues to monitor the situation through alerts on his BlackBerry.

Aside from health concerns, iJet is also tracking the security situation for its clients. iJet works with several relief agencies that have sent up to 600 employees into the hardest-hit areas. Bruce McIndoe, chairman and CEO of iJet, cites security concerns in countries such as Indonesia. “People are trying to distribute aid [food and medicine], and the police are stealing it, the military are stealing it, and local people are scrambling for relief,” he says.