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Keeping high-profile meetings safe and secure

Harlan Calhoun | Dec. 3, 2013
Before the advent of smartphones, planting covert listening devices was the most popular way to illegally record content from a private meeting.

Effective meeting security must also consider the health and welfare of all meeting attendees. If an attendee has a medical emergency, can the company access medical personnel quietly and without public incident? A CEO of a publicly traded company who suffers a heart attack, for example, should not be wheeled out to awaiting ambulances at the main entrance where people can observe his condition. Crowds can impede departure and news of a CEO's negative health issues could adversely affect stock price.

Confidentiality for all -- Everyone who comes into contact with the meeting personnel (event planning personnel, security, audiovisual technicians, foodservice, administrative personnel, etc.) should sign a confidentiality agreement on behalf of the corporation and/or hosting hotel or venue. This should include not just those assisting the day of the event but those involved in pre-event preparations as well.

Post-meeting review -- Conducting a post-mortem meeting analysis is a valuable way to identify and document lessons learned from the project. The security and administrative team benefits from this post-meeting review of protocol and processes and is better equipped and prepared to face the next big meeting.

Meetings should not be publicized beyond the scope of meeting attendees. CEOs and other executives traveling to the meeting should be met by a driver who does not display the company name on their sign. There should not be any signs in the meeting location that draw attention to the nature of the meeting. Attendees should all understand that information should not be disseminated on any public Wi-Fi and that only secure, encrypted networks should be used.

These important events should never be an opportunity for corporate spies to gather proprietary information and intelligence. With proper planning, training and resources, all meetings can be safe, secure and productive.

Harlan Calhoun is vice president of operations for AlliedBarton Security Services,, the industry's premier provider of highly trained security personnel to various industries. Prior to joining AlliedBarton, Harlan was a police officer, hostage negotiator and academy instructor in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.


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