PISF logoThreats to the biotech and pharmaceutical industries have evolved in recent years, away from animal rights extremism towards more modern cyber threats and supply chain risks. Alongside these changes, the traditional security role is increasingly being undertaken by non-security professionals – particularly true in the case of SMEs. Here, Les O’Gorman, Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Industry Security Forum (PISF), explains the role of the forum, helping industry to master the changing security landscape.  

Have you picked up responsibility in your organisation for all things property related? If so, then you are probably Chief of Security too! I am Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Industry Security Forum (PISF) – a group made up of security professionals under the auspice of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), whose aim is to share best practice and knowledge across our industry.

Historically, the biggest threat to the pharmaceutical industry in the UK was from single issue, animal rights, extremism. When this was at its height in the UK, PISF was an important forum for sharing information, advice and support for ABPI members and others in the bioscience sector, and linking its members to other organisations and agencies. In recent years though, the threats to the pharmaceutical industry in the UK have changed. The security threat from animal rights activity has decreased in the UK. On the other hand, threats such as cyber or supply chain risks are on the increase.

At the same time, security roles in many pharmaceutical companies or related industries are changing, with many non-security professionals, from facilities managers to HR staff, increasingly being expected to take on security responsibilities. This can be even more pronounced in small companies or biotechs where there may be no security professionals at all!

This changing landscape raises new and evolving challenges for all of us in the pharmaceutical and bioscience industry.

In the face of this changing environment, the role of PISF in sharing information, advice, and best practice across our industry becomes even more important. PISF has positive links to government, law enforcement, and other security bodies and industries, allowing regular two-way information sharing. However, probably the greatest benefit of the group is simply the opportunity to network and share problems and experiences with other members – taking advantage of the wide range of skills and experience within the forum.

To create further information sharing and networking opportunities, this year we are running a Security 101 one day briefing session in central London on 30 June. The aim of the event is to provide those with a scant knowledge of security with the basics in a range of topics which you may encounter in your day job whilst wearing one of the many hats you have to wear! This Security 101 session is aimed at the security novice and will feature speakers who have been there and done it, as well as plenty of opportunities to ask questions and discuss problems. So if you’re one of the many non-security professionals looking for some guidance on how to master the changing security landscape, keep an eye out for further details of the event and how to register, which will be shared by the BIA nearer the event. In the meantime if you’d like to learn more please get in touch with Nicola Platt at the ABPI or myself.