Dec. 4, 2020

Business aviation companies have faced unique challenges in 2020 due to the worldwide pandemic and increased civil unrest domestically and around the globe. Reduced activity and staffing levels, personnel working from home and other factors mean facilities, including hangars and office spaces, have fewer eyes on site, leading to increased concerns about security.

An NBAA GO Virtual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (VBACE) education session on the issue, titled, “Business Aviation Security: Changing Approaches to Protecting Your People and Company,” was hosted by Doug Carr NBAA’s vice president of regulatory and international affairs. The panel included Clay Hendon, senior director of operations for Twenty20 Solutions; Greg Kulis, past chairman and current member of the NBAA Security Council and Eric Moilanen, president of premier corporate security and chairman of the NBAA Security Council.

“Basic security processes – simple things that are routine to us like locks and alarms are often verified by multiple people – now might be verified by someone working alone,” said Kulis. “It is now essential to know who is in the facility and when.”

Mollanen added: “It’s almost a perfect storm of increased stressors that [can] create these situations and decreased observation from our peer groups.”

Hendon encouraged attendees to “proactively and purposefully check in” with personnel to potentially identify factors that can contribute to insider threats.

Civil unrest, particularly the rapid development localized unrest, is a much broader threat in 2020 than in the past. Moilanen explained civil unrest, which was previously considered a concern for third-world countries, is now a significant concern in many U.S. cities.

Experts recommended implementing “hot zone” best practices on every trip.

Kulis’ organization diligently researches destination cities and chooses accommodations for passengers and crewmembers that mitigate the risk of disruptions. Ground transportation must also be a consideration in such cases.

“Every flight is going to start and end with an arrival to and from a [ground] vehicle. You can’t skip over that part [in planning],” said Hendon. “Follow a process each time to verify those things are being considered.”

Finally, remote work, now commonplace due to efforts to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, has increased cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Personal devices are used heavily and home networks are often not as controlled as an organization’s networks, leading to increased exposure.

Companies should invest in the right equipment for employees to work from home, if resources allow such an investment. Employees working from home should take measures to secure their devices, separate work tasks from personal devices or use a VPN or appropriate firewall to secure their organization’s sensitive information.

Review NBAA’s security resources.