3 Valuable Lessons for Security Professionals in 2021

security professionals

2020 will go down as one of the most disruptive years of all time. For security professionals, 2020 was filled with many challenges. It also gave us valuable lessons that we can use moving forward.

Here are some of the major lessons we learned in 2020 and how we can use them to thrive in 2021:

  1. The importance of business continuity
  2. The need for cybersecurity awareness.
  3. The value of being resilient

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Even before the global pandemic, security professionals found themselves in a world of constant change. In many ways, the global pandemic called us out and asked a very powerful question: Do you have the skills necessary to overcome these challenges?  

During 2020, security professionals scrambled to find answers, mitigate new cyber threats, and identify the skills required to remain operational. 

3 Lessons Security Professionals learned during the Pandemic

As much as 2020 was challenging it also gave us valuable lessons that we can use moving forward. The top 3 lessons being:

The skills required to be successful in 2021 are a mix of time tested leadership skills and new technological techniques that empower us to remain productive & effective.

Lesson #1: Business continuity planning matters. Set realistic objectives, and involve everyone in the organization to avoid falling into the reaction vortex.

“Business continuity planning is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company.”

The pandemic in many ways (was and continues to be)  an economic earthquake with unknown consequences. Security professionals, know that during economic disruption, business continuity planning is there to provide organizations with the resources and framework needed to mitigate the negative impacts of disruptions to normal operations—while continuing to fulfill key objectives.

In 2020 most organizations with a business continuity plan (BCP) were able to actually see if their plans were up to the task. Organizations that focused on BCP prior to the pandemic performed better than those that decided to make it important during the April-July time period.

Lesson #2: Cybersecurity awareness is more important than ever. All security professionals regardless of specialization must focus on raising the security posture of their organization. 

The pandemic forced organizations and individuals to reconsider the very nature of how we work. Suddenly remote work, telecommuting, work from home, became standard operations.

As the world scrambled to figure out how to go from office spaces to work from home setups, many security professionals in positions of leadership were left searching for answers. At the same time, cybercriminals around the world plotted to capitalize on the crisis. 

Many cybersecurity experts documented a spike in phishing attacks, Malspams and ransomware attacks during the highest of crisis. Unscrupulous cybercriminals used COVID-19 as bait to lure confused employees.

The lesson is clear, in 2021, security professionals regardless of their specialty, sector, or region must focus on cybersecurity. At the very minimum, we have to make sure that our organization’s cybersecurity awareness program is strong, relevant, and supported.

Lesson #3:  In 2020 Security Professionals learned the value of being resilient.

It is fair to say that the entire world was tested in 2020. Security professionals in the leisure and hospitality, wholesale and retail trade, education and health services were some of the most impacted by the pandemic.

Throughout the crisis, we saw many examples of security professionals performing at a high level regardless of the challenges. Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress and hardship. It is the mental reservoir of strength that people are able to call on in times of need to carry them through without falling apart.

Moving forward into 2021, security professionals will have to continue to focus on business continuity and cybersecurity. The only thing that we know for sure about this ongoing pandemic is that is that the challenges are far from over.

As security professionals, we have to continue to cultivate our resiliency both within our organizations and ourselves. Let’s have a safe and successful 2021!

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@DavidSecurity

Tunisia Security Briefing

Friday, December 25th

Every Friday, @DavidSecurity reviews the week’s security news & developments in Tunisia to provide you with a practical security briefing. Stay Safe!


Tunisia Security Briefings are released every Friday. Get the latest Security UPDATES on Tunisia? No junk emails, only actionable security INSIGHTS!

Security & Stability

20 migrants dead off Tunisia after boat sinks, more missing

Tunisian authorities say 20 African migrants have been found dead after their boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea while en route for Europe. More Info…

Turkey exports $150M of defense equipment to Tunisia

Under the coordination of the SSB, five local defense firms exported $150 million (TL 1.14 billion) worth of products

Read More…


Facebook Post of the Week

Travel & Tourism

Hilton to Open A Beach Resort in Monastir, Tunisia

Hilton Skanes Monastir Beach Resort expected to welcome guests in early 2022. The property is a part of the new Palm Lake Monastir residential and commercial development and within close proximity to the historic towns of Monastir and Sousse.

Read More…

Tunisia’s Tourism Returns Drop by 64%

Tunisia’s tourism returns have dropped by 64 percent to 1.9 billion dinars ($691 million) from early 2020 until December 10, compared to the same period in 2019.

Read More…


We will continue to monitor the security situation in Tunisia and provide more security updates & insights.

Follow our Tunisia Security Facebook Page for all the latest news updates!

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@DavidSecurity

2 Reasons Why Every Security Manager Needs Tactical Security Reports

@DavidSecurity here and I have one question for you: “Is your security reactive or proactive?”

If you’re like me then you would definitely say PROACTIVE, but let me explain to you why that attitude may actually be working against you.

My Quick Proactive Story…

As a United States Marine I was trained to take initiative and carry out my duties with honor, courage, and commitment. While this mindset helped me become a respected security professional it wasn’t enough…

The truth is that unless you’re receiving tactical, tailored, and tested Security Reports there’s NO WAY you can truly be PROACTIVE.

Security Fact #1: In a predictable world Security Risk Management and Asset Protection would be a STRIAGHTFOWARD process..

Question: Is the world predictable or volatile?

Security Fact# 2: We don’t live in a Predictable World!

There’s one reason for you to rely on Security Reports. To stay a step ahead. To be able to assess risk and take the proactive steps that will keep your business operating safe in a volatile world.

Mitigating Risk Through Timely Information

As a security professional I know first hand the value of having access to real-time actionable information. While serving as Security Director at the American Cooperative School of Tunis I was able to use Tactical Security Reports to help our community overcome a major security challenge.

On September 14, 2012 following attacks on the US Embassy, protesters attacked the nearby American School. The security reports in addition to other sources enable me to give clear actionable advise to the school director.

” David Santiago, the head of security at the American Cooperative School of Tunis, also indicated that Tunisian security had fallen short.”-Associated Press

Fire and smoke damage spread to 12 adjoining classrooms rendering them unsafe. The entire block was condemned. The remainder of the campus was ransacked and looted for several hours resulting in over $5.5 million in estimated damages and loss.

However, the school commenced within a few days and is now back and flourishing better than ever, thanks to rebuilding efforts from the many countries and persons involved.

Some may say that we got “lucky” on that day. Had we hesitated or failed to act who know what would’ve happened. I like to think that we were FOCUSED because we acted swiftly in large part thanks to the Actionable Security Information that enable us to make regular assessments and operational adjustments.

If you think your organization would benefit from such a service or would like to request a DEMO then please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.

Stay Ready…Stay Safe!-DavidSecurity

“I would like to know more about Tactical Intelligence Services and Security Intelligence Reports. Please contact me…”

Hilton signs deal for resort in Tunisia

Hilton Skanes Monastir Beach Resort to open in 2022

Article Highlights:

  • Global hotel operator Hilton has announced plans to open a 332-key beachfront resort in Monastir in Tunisia.
  •  The agreement with Societe Marhaba Beach is slated to open in two years.
  • Investment may signal as a vote of confidence in Tunisian Security Forces.

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  • An industry leader such as Hilton investing in Tunisia in light of the 2015 Sousse beach attack where a gunman killed dozens of people, mostly tourists, on a beach in the Tunisian resort of Sousse.
  • Continued security & social economic challenges throughout the country.

It’s been more than four years since the Sousse Beach attack and Tunisia has grown a lot in terms of security readiness. This was highlighted in October of this year (2020) when US Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Tunisian Defense Minister Ibrahim Bartagi agreed on a road map for defense cooperation.

Secretary Esper said he was: “Impressed by the Tunisians’ efforts to enhance their capabilities against terrorists, but also to promote stability and security on the African continent.”

However, persistent challenges, worsened by the ongoing pandemic, continues to block economic progress which explains the recent uptick in protests throughout the country.

A Vote of Confidence…

Hilton’s investment may appear for other investors as a vote of confidence of the progress made by Tunisian Security Forces since the 2016 attack and potential of the North African tourism sector.

Hilton Skanes Monastir Beach Resort…

At least that’s what Hichem Driss, owner of Societe Marhaba Beach, thinks as noted by his statement: “We are delighted to form a partnership with Hilton to open a premier resort – part of the Palm Lake Monastir development – a new investment in Skanes that will feature retail, entertainment and residential. We are proud to bring Hilton’s renowned hospitality to the Tunisian coast, which will further enhance the tourism offering and international appeal of the destination.”

The facilities, slated to open in 2022-23 will include eight F&B venues, including a food truck, two swimming pools, a spa and wellness center, a fitness center, tennis courts and kid’s club.

We will continue to monitor the security situation in Tunisia and provide more security updates & insights.

Follow our Tunisia Security Facebook Page for all the latest news updates!

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@DavidSecurity

Ten Years later, Social Media Still Matters in Tunisia

Tunisian protesters.

Was Social Media responsible for the Arab Spring? Did a single YouTube Video spark the Jasmine Revolution? And what is the state of social media in Tunisia today? LET’S TALK SECURITY!

Article Highlights:

  • Social Media’s IMPACT on the Arab Spring. 
  • Social Media’s Role in the Jasmine Revolution (Tunisia).
  • State of Social Media in Tunisia (2020).

Social Media’s Impact on the Arab Spring

As we approach the 10th year anniversary of the Arab Spring, we’re going to take a look at this article entitled Arab Spring: The First Smartphone Revolution.

The Arab Spring which took place all the way back in late 2010 (feels like a lifetime ago!) was called by many as The First Smartphone Revolution mainly because of the significant role that Social Media had in the events throughout the region. Smartphones gave youthful Arab Spring protesters a technological edge that helped topple aging dictatorships a decade ago and made their revolutionary images go viral.

@DavidSecurity with Tunisian Security Forces

I remember it well because I was there working as the Security Coordinator for the American Cooperative School of Tunis. And I can personally attest that social media, specifically Facebook played a major role in the events that lead to the Tunisian uprising that was later labeled the Jasmine Revolution.

Was Social Media responsible for the Arab Spring?

Many of the recent news articles offering analysis on the Arab Spring are now downplaying the role of social networks choosing to see them more like the spark that toppled the first domino.

I tend to disagree with this assessment because I believe that without social networks the uprisings would not have succeeded on such a massive scale.

THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE ARAB SPRING | Pangaea Journal

Social Media Important Role in the Jasmine Revolution (Tunisia)

There can be no denying that without social media the Jasmine Revolution would not have happened, at least not as quickly as it did. In fact, without one specific YouTube Video, it may have never happened.

Here’s how it went down:

DEC. 18

People witnessing the fiery act of defiance and the street demonstrations that followed capture the scenes and post them on YouTube. In the Tunisia of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, public protest was strictly banned, yet now there is proof: videos of the protest in Sidi Bouzid that show hundreds of people on the streets, chanting Mr. Bouazizi’s name in open defiance of President Ben Ali. The videos also show how violent the security force’s response was.

DEC. 19

Slim Amamou, an influential Tunisian blogger, sees the video and posts it on Facebook. A middle-class university graduate living in Tunis, Mr. Amamou has little in common with a poor, rural fruit-seller other than hatred for the corrupt Ben Ali regime. After Mr. Amamou posts the video, it goes viral in the Arab World. Al-Jazeera broadcasts it, fuelling copycat demonstrations around the country.

DEC. 27

Protests reach the capital city of Tunis, with about 1,000 demonstrators taking to the streets. Once again, Tunisian activists rely on social media to spread their message. They publicize the protest by hacking into Tunisia’s main labour union website, sending a message to its members to join them in the city’s central Mohammad Ali square. The protesters use Twitter to route demonstrations, avoiding security forces in the streets. Mr. Amamou uses his cell phone to live-stream video of the massive turnout. Others capture and post video of protesters being shot dead on the streets.

JAN. 4, 2011

Mr. Bouazizi succumbs to his injuries, dying in a Tunisian hospital. By now, protests inspired by those in Sidi Bouzid have spread across the country.

JAN. 14

Ben Ali flees Tunisia for Saudi Arabia via Malta, ending his 24-year-long rule. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi takes over as interim president.

Social Media Still Matters in Tunisia

Today social media continues to play an important role throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region). In Tunisia, Facebook remains the leader with over 7 million users on the platform. That accounts for 62% of its entire population!

The majority of them were men – 55.7%.

People aged 25 to 34 were the largest user group (2 700 000).

Facebook users in Tunisia

Internet users in Tunisia

  • There were 7.55 million internet users in Tunisia in January 2020.
  • The number of internet users in Tunisia increased by 48 thousand (+0.6%) between 2019 and 2020.
  • Internet penetration in Tunisia stood at 64% in January 2020.
Social media users in Tunisia:
  • There were 7.30 million social media users in Tunisia in January 2020.
  • The number of social media users in Tunisia increased by 473 thousand (+6.9%) between April 2019 and January 2020.
  • Social media penetration in Tunisia stood at 62% in January 2020.
Mobile connections in Tunisia
  • There were 17.77 million mobile connections in Tunisia in January 2020.
  • The number of mobile connections in Tunisia increased by 219 thousand (+1.2%) between January 2019 and January 2020.
  • The number of mobile connections in Tunisia in January 2020 was equivalent to 151% of the total population.

Was social media responsible for the Arab Spring? No, years of suppression, economic disparity, and corruption were the main ingredients. Instead, Social networks provided the channels for the masses to organize and eventually overthrow the regimes that denied them basic freedoms for so many years.

Ten years later Tunisia stands as the only Arab Spring “success story”. Even so, it’s tolerance for social media will continue to be tested as it deals with tough economic as well as security challenges in the coming years.

@DavidSecurity

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France looks to work with Tunisia on returning extremists

Scene of the October 29 killing of three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice.

November 9, 2020

Article Highlights:

  • Tunisian nationals constitute a significant portion of foreign jihadists in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
  • Tunisia is willing on certain conditions to take back its nationals expelled from France.
  • Public opinion in Tunisia is hostile towards the return of suspected jihadists.

Little Tunisia has a BIG jihadist problem

In 2015, the United Nations released a report that highlighted some 5,000 Tunisians traveled to Syria, Iraq and Libya over the past decade.

The Washington Post documented that in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, Tunisians traveled to Syria, Iraq and Libya “more than any other nationality from outside those countries.

While it is important to note that Tunisian authorities claim the figure is lower, around 3,000, it still is highest number of foreign fighters per capita in the world.

The alleged perpetrator of that attack, 21-year-old Brahim Aouissaoui, who arrived illegally in Europe in late September, is not the first Tunisian suspected of carrying out a deadly jihadist attack in Europe.

France wants Tunisia to take Jihadits fighters back…

France is focused on dealing with this sensitive situation following the October 29 killing of three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice.

For starters, France wants to expel some 20 Tunisians already convicted on terrorism charges or suspected of jihadist inclinations.

According to several reports, Tunisia is willing to take back its nationals from France under specific conditions.

Tunisians are NOT in a rush to take back fighters…

Most Tunisians are against the return of the suspected jihadists as they seem them as a threat to their young democracy and modern way of life. Authorities have refused the return of their troubled citizens from France on the basis of travel restrictions linked to the ongoing pandemic.

Tunisia Security Outlook

Security Insight: The return of the suspected jihadists are a security concern in Tunisia. Security analysts calculate that some 70 percent of over 230 foreigners illegally in France and suspected of radicalism are from the Maghreb region which includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

Operational Impact: While this development may not have an immediate impact on foreign businesses operating in Tunisia, it is important for companies to monitor the negotiations for future risk assessments.

Travel to Tunisia: The latest State Department Travel Advisory for Tunisia is a Level 3: Reconsider Travel. On 28 October the Tunisian authorities introduced new measures due to the ongoing pandemic. These measures include a national curfew and travel restrictions. 

We will continue to monitor the situation in Tunisia by providing up to date analysis and support. Currently, our Security Portal which provides advanced tactical and in-depth forecasting, is proving to be an effective tool for organizations operating in Tunisia.

Request Access to our Security Portal:


Tunisia bans travel within country as cases INCREASE…


Source:[Reuters News] October 29, 2020


Tunisia on Thursday banned travel between the country’s regions, suspended schools and public gatherings and extended a curfew, as it tried to contain a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases with hospitals nearly full.

"Tunisia cannot afford a second lockdown with the government already fighting the central bank over a projected deficit double what it had originally foreseen."-Tunisian PM 

🇹🇳Tunisia UPDATED Pandemic Control Measures:

-Banning internal travel in most cases, -Suspension of schools until Nov. 8th -Two-week suspension of universities -Ban on protests and public gatherings of more than four people.

A night curfew that was already in place in several regions has been extended across the country and brought forward to start at 8pm instead of 9pm on weekdays, while remaining at 7pm on weekends.


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Tunisia sees rise of “Criminal Violence”

Tunisia: According to the September report of @FT_DES released on Wednesday, October 28th:

“Criminal violence topped the list of forms of violence over the past three months, with a rate of 75.6%, followed by institutional violence, violence in public spaces and then economic violence.”

Tunisia is ranked significantly lower than the UK, France and Germany on the Global Terrorism Index, and heavy government investment has beefed up protective security in major cities and resorts.

Still, sociologist Mohamed Al-Jouili warned of the danger of paving the way for the emergence of a new pattern of crimes, which are not restricted to convicted criminals. “The time span between a simple quarrel and a murder has become very short, which carries negative connotations that invite us to search and look for the underlying causes,” he said.

Make sure to JOIN our Facebook Page for all the latest updates on Tunisia and to CONNECT with our community of travelers.

Tunisia Security UPDATE

Tunisia: Over 400,000 tourism jobs eliminated after Pandemic Shutdown

Tunisia empty medina.
Global tourism losses due to coronavirus amounted to $460 billion in the first half of the year;

Highlights:

  • Tourism revenue has declined 61 per cent in Tunisia as a result of coronavirus, the Central Bank of Tunisia reported on Friday.
  • tourism industry in the country, which includes more than 1,300 travel agencies and provides 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.
  • 28 per cent of the sector’s workforce were sacked following the imposition of a general quarantine.

Tourism Sector takes MASSIVE hit

October 26, 2020

Tunisians are waking up to the fact that while they may have survived the first wave of the pandemic, their tourism industry is NOT looking good at all. For starters revenue has declined 61 percent!

Tunisian Economy was already in Trouble: Even before the pandemic, Tunisia had suffered a poor economic record, with sluggish growth, high unemployment and declining public services, since its 2011 revolution ended autocratic rule.

It’s no mystery that the North African country depends heavily on its tourism sector for many social economic reasons. Tunisia relies on tourism for foreign currency, jobs, and security.

Bankruptcy threatens about 98 per cent of travel agencies in Tunisia…”

In many ways the the fact that thousands of businesses in Tunisia are declaring bankruptcy is as much a security issue as it is an economic one. Why? More than 4,000 families make a living from the tourism sector in Tunisia.

If the situation does not improve it will lead to civil unrest and increase security risks throughout the country.

Tunisia’s tourism sector is in TROUBLE

An industry expert recently confirmed, the danger of bankruptcy which threatens about 98 per cent of travel agencies in Tunisia if financial support measures approved by the government since the start of the health crisis are not implemented.

This will not surprise those monitoring the situation as we learned in September that global tourism losses due to coronavirus amounted to $460 billion in the first half of the year; that’s a 65% decline in the number of tourists worldwide!

Tunisia Security Outlook

Security Insight: The Tunisian Federation of Travel Agencies (FTAV) held a protest on Tuesday outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts in the capital, Tunis, to ask authorities to support businesses which are on the verge of closure.

Operational Impact: Moving forward we may start to see more of these types of protests & activities throughout the country in response to the economic hardships and ongoing curfews.

Travel to Tunis may continue while adhering to all security precautions. Consult with us for itinerary-based tactical monitoring and ground support options.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Tunisia by providing up to date analysis and support. Currently, our Security Portal which provides advanced tactical and in-depth forecasting, is proving to be an effective tool for organizations operating in Tunisia.

Request Access to our Security Portal:


@DavidSecurity-Security Awareness

Greetings, my name is David A. Santiago also known as @DavidSecurity and for over 15 years I’ve helped hundreds of organizations, expats, and travelers understand

Security Awareness Program:

A full spectrum Security Awareness Program covers pre-travel training, arrival safety briefing, and ongoing safety/security training for:

  • Business Travelers
  • Expat staff and their families
  • Security conscious travelers

The Challenge 

Life can change in a SPLIT second.  How can you be aware of your surroundings while at the same time have the awareness to identify potential threats? In a fast paced world, where everyday new security, health, and cyber threats are emerging, how can you go about your day in a security conscious manner?  

Answer: Being aware of one’s surroundings and identifying potential threats and dangerous situations. Think AIR! 

  • Aware
  • Inquire 
  • REACT

A Valuable Skill…

The bottom line is that Situational Awareness is more than just a concept, it is a skill you can learn.  A habit you can incorporate into your everyday life without appearing paranoid and ultimately it is a lense that will assist you as you seek to accomplish your mission.

Of course I can write a book on this topic but the best way to experience the power of timely information is to test our service.

Contact us for a FREE DEMO.

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