The initial World Security Report released by G4S, a leading global integrated security company, sheds light on the looming security challenges faced by large global companies operating in Kenya.

This comprehensive report, which gathered insights from 1,775 Chief Security Officers (CSOs) across 30 countries, each representing companies with a total revenue of over $20 trillion, highlights the significant concerns surrounding supply chain attacks, malicious damage to company property, and violence against employees in the Kenyan business landscape.

According to the report, the threat of supply chain attacks is expected to surge, with 33 per cent of respondents anticipating an increase this year, up from 26 per cent who experienced such attacks last year.

Similarly, 35 per cent of those surveyed anticipate malicious damage to company property, up from 28 per cent who reported similar incidents in the previous year.

Of notable concern is the anticipation of internal security threats in the form of violence against employees. A substantial 48 per cent of CSOs expect this threat to affect their companies, up from 39 per cent a year ago. This percentage exceeds regional and global averages.

Laurence Okelo, Managing Director of G4S Kenya, emphasized the necessity for enhanced security measures.

"CSOs will need to be laser-focused on their security over the coming year given the expected rise in threats across a number of fronts - and the detrimental impact on business continuity when breaches do occur. Good security is a strategic imperative as the threats we face become more complex and multi-faceted," Okelo stated.

The report also underscores the tangible impacts of previous security incidents on business continuity in Kenya.

Notably, 35 per cent more Kenyan CSOs than in any other surveyed country reported supply chain disruptions resulting from security incidents.

Furthermore, Kenya witnessed higher business interruption costs and a loss of revenue following such incidents, with 37 per cent of respondents acknowledging a fall in stock price value, ranking Kenya as the second-highest country to report such an impact.

Kenyan-based CSOs anticipate facing some of the highest security threats among the 30 surveyed countries over the next 12 months, with fraud and misuse of company resources or data as their top external and internal concerns, respectively.

Climate change emerges as one of the country's top security-impacting hazards for the coming year, cited by 56 per cent of Kenyan CSOs, exceeding the regional average of 44 per cent.

Disruption to energy supplies is also identified as an expected security-impacting hazard by 44 per cent of Kenyan CSOs, compared to the global average of 33 per cent.

Mel Brooks, Regional CEO G4S Africa & Middle East, emphasized the importance of robust processes and early warning security systems to prepare for and address the challenges companies face in Africa.

"Economic unrest creates security pressures in many forms, and leaders will need to be vigilant and innovative in tackling these, through the use of well-designed security programs that combine good situational security intelligence, the right people, and security technology," Brooks stated.

The report also sheds light on specific concerns unique to Kenya. CSOs in Kenya view subversive elements, including hackers, protestors, and spies, as a more significant threat for the coming year compared to any other country, with 63 per cent expressing concern.

Economic criminals are also perceived as a substantial security threat, with 63 per cent of Kenyan CSOs ranking them as a top concern.

Looking ahead, Kenyan companies are taking proactive steps to bolster their security infrastructure.

The report reveals that 50 per cent of companies in Kenya plan to significantly increase their physical security budgets in the next 12 months, in line with global and regional trends.

Moreover, 78 per cent of Kenyan CSOs prioritize risk assessments and threat analysis as their top budget priority over the next year, exceeding both regional and global averages.

In terms of technology adoption, 69 per cent of Kenyan companies plan to implement biometrics and facial recognition technology over the next five years, outpacing both regional and global averages.

The G4S World Security Report underscores the critical need for Kenyan businesses to enhance their security preparedness and adapt to the evolving security landscape.

As Africa continues its rapid economic growth, bolstering security measures will be essential for safeguarding business continuity and mitigating the risks posed by a diverse array of threats.