Mitigating and preventing the effects of a security breach with a simple bowtie

In December, we attended the International Airport Review’s IT and Security event at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. This event was all about aviation security and technology and how one can inform the other. We were there to represent CGE’s software products, but also to gain more knowledge about airport security.

At CGE we do not call ourselves industry experts, but we are the bowtie experts. That is one of the reasons why we work with more than 200 partners globally. However, we are still aiming to see the application of bowties in different industries. Barrier management is not very well known in the airport security industry. By all means, not as much as in airport safety. Perhaps they can learn from each other?

Creating an overview with a bowtie to understand what can go wrong

We created a bowtie to understand what airport security is and the possible threats faced by airport security personnel. The bowtie below is not a very typical bowtie, but as long as it helps us understand risks, it must be looked upon favorably. The aim of this bowtie is to have an overview of unwanted events and their potential causes. If we are aware of what the potential risks are, we are more prepared to deal with the consequences of the threat.

The hazard for this bowtie is ‘security operations at airport’. Quite generic, but it fits the purpose of this bowtie. The top event, or the loss of control moment, is a security breach. “A security breach is any incident that results in unauthorized access of data, applications, services, networks and/or devices by bypassing their underlying security mechanisms. […] A security breach is also known as a security violation.” (Techopedia Inc., 2018) .

Now that we have set the scope of this bowtie, we would like to focus first on the consequences on the right side. At the conference, the issue of human trafficking was discussed, alongside with the responsibilities airports have to identify possible at-risk targets. At first, we thought airport security is all about preventing bombs from blowing up, but it is much more than that. For example, human trafficking is an issue where airports play important roles. At the conference, someone shared their personal experiences with human trafficking and how airports can help identify signs of human trafficking. Also, international migration can be a security issue, and although it does not directly cause harm, it is an issue that needs to be managed.

There are probably many more issues to deal with in airport security, more specific threats. The threats are the potential causes that can lead to any security breach. Be aware that not all threats can lead directly to all the consequences, but we did want to highlight issues on mental health. Multiple speakers mentioned mental issues as a large threat to security. In this bowtie, we separated the different issues on mental health, because they need different approaches.

As you can see in the bowtie, there are no barriers. The industry knows exactly what can go wrong, but they do not speak the barrier language yet. Many speakers emphasized that training is key in securing these events, but can we specify what those barriers are? We are sure most organizations can do that and we believe bowties help in this process of defining barriers.

To conclude this blog, there is still a lot to learn about airport security and we think there are many more bowties to specify the security issues. Curious to learn more about bowties in security? Contact us.


Techopedia Inc. (2018, December 12). Security Breach. Retrieved from Techopedia:

2019-01-08T13:55:48+00:00Aviation, Blog|