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Steve Vickers: Companies thought they understood risk -- they didn't

The attacks in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, ended an era in which companies and individuals felt immune from threats, forcing them to reappraise their vulnerabilities and broaden their conceptions of risk.

People attend the opening ceremony of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City on May 15.   © Getty Images

  The nature of the 9/11 attacks -- on property and people in a seemingly safe location -- demonstrated that businesses everywhere had to prepare for so-called Black Swan events. They also made clear that the relatively low-risk period after the end of the Cold War -- an era of absolute U.S. preponderance, expanding prosperity and interconnection -- was exceptional and coming to a close.

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