Breakfast Meeting – Security Infrastructure


Guest Speakers:

  • Kimberly Jones, Regional Security Officer, US Consulate General
  • K. Sivanthu, Head of Security, DELL and Chairman, Overseas Security Advisory Council, Chennai Chapter

On 29th April, the AmCham Tamil Nadu Chapter organized a meeting of security managers, facilities managers and others responsible for the safety and security of people, property and information, from member companies. Safety and security are two very important functions that is of concern to every employee in an organization. The objective of the meeting was to connect security managers with the Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai and to identify emerging trends related to perceived security threats, management challenges and operational issues; and also to enable them to join OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council) where they can jointly define priorities and strategies, develop business plans, create budgets, and set management agendas.
A recent study revealed that the top security threats are:

  • Cyber/communications security – internet/intranet
  • Business continuity planning/organizational resilience
  • Workplace violence prevention/response
  • Employee selection/screening
  • Environmental/social privacy concerns
  • Property crime – theft, vandalism
  • General employee theft
  • Crisis management and response – domestic terrorism
  • Identity theft
  • Unethical business conduct

These are just some of the perceived threats for which we can plan and take action. However, security concerns have become even more complex and there are many unseen, unknown and unfelt issues that may blow into a major crisis. We need to prepare and be alert at all times.

Ms. Kimberly Jones, the RSO at the U.S. Consulate spoke of how it is important for AmCham members to join the OSAC Chennai Chapter and she listed out the objectives of the Council as outlined in its charter:

  • To establish continuing liaison and to provide for operational security cooperation between State Department security functions and the private sector.
  • To provide for regular and timely interchange of information between the private sector and the State Department concerning developments in the overseas security environment.
  • To recommend methods and provide material for coordinating security planning and implementation of security programs.
  • To recommend methods to protect the competitiveness of American businesses operating worldwide.

Mr. K. Sivanthu, Chairman, OSAC – Chennai Chapter spoke about the OSAC membership, its meetings, calendar of activities, security audit compliance, incident management, external threats, best practices and challenges. Giving an example of the Secure Workplace Program at the Dell plant, he said all employees observe a SWR week each year. A general awareness is created using broadcast mailers, standees and tent cards to sensitize employees on security aspects. There are stalls, quizzes, prizes and feedback questionnaires.


Participants discussed financial frauds, identity thefts, harassments, loss of confidential/propriety information, phishing attacks, virus and malware and social engineering effects. Given the internet penetration, cyber theft and associated attacks are on the rise. A recent study revealed that companies in the U.S. are the most active when it comes to using encryption to protect their data, while India is not far behind. Encrypting data is perhaps the safest way of protecting critical information, because it allows only the receivers who have the unique unlock keys or passcodes to access the data. ‘The State of Encryption Today’ report, suggested that companies in the U.S. (56%) are the most active when it comes to deploying encryption on their networks. In India, 46% companies are actively using this technique to keep their critical data safe from hackers and prying eyes. For 60% of the companies, encryption is to protect proprietary information. Worryingly though, 31% of organisations do not encrypt the financial details of their employees, while 30% do not protect the company’s financial data.


The meeting ended with an announcement by Ms. Kimberly Jones, RSO at the Consulate that AmCham companies are welcome to connect with her for an onsite visit. The RSO has offered to review the security arrangements and practices and make recommendations where required.