Recently, I gave a presentation to the Business Resumption Planners Association, an independent professional association of people employed in all aspects of disaster recovery, contingency and business continuity planning. I focused my talk on the most important priorities for many top-tier executive protection programs today. If you’re interested in downloading the full presentation, click here. For those of you interested in a summary brief, here are the top four priorities I chose to highlight out of the full collection of ten.

1. Cyber Security: A Strategic and Growing Risk to Executives

Just a few minutes ago, news stories broke across the country announcing that the personal email account of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency had been hacked. The same risks apply to members of the executive suite.

Think beyond ease of use and assumptions of data protection and ask tough questions that will help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current information security strategies.

  • Are we protected? Are we doing enough?
  • What is the financial impact if we incur a data breach?
  • Do we have a data recovery plan in place?

Employ technology solutions that balance the highest level of security against ease of access and operational robustness. Also maintain an acute focus on the insider threat; that means knowing your options – and limitations – in monitoring employees.

2.  Open-Source and Social Media Monitoring: 24/7 Protection

Although this proactive executive protection countermeasure has been available to executive protection teams, Directors of Security and even HR leaders for several years, relatively few corporations realize the benefits of protective information, insights and intelligence that can be gained through this channel. As one tactic in the executive protection toolbox, open source and social media monitoring allows you to:

  • Uncover escalating behavior demonstrated by angry rants, calls to action or cyber threats
  • Monitor websites or blogs for references about the executive, their family, interests and assets
  • Discover misinformation designed to damage reputation
  • Gauge public sentiment in real time
  • Track an individual’s unusual interests and share this information with various experts for analysis

3.  Workplace Violence Prevention: The C-Suite Can Be a Prominent Target

While broader by definition than a program dedicated only to protecting executive leaders, workplace violence prevention plays a critical role in managing threats to corporate leaders. A best practice executive protection team is a major stakeholder for any strategies that increase workplace safety
and employee security. Protective and other risk management benefits to the C-suite include:

  • Early identification of risks and red flags that offer a greater chance for intervention before violence occurs.
  • Higher employee morale, better productivity and lower liability if an incident occurs and the correct prevention-oriented steps have been followed.
  • Stronger enterprise risk management.

4.  Threat Assessment and Management: At Work, at Home and in Transit

The fourth priority critical to protecting the senior executive team is excellence in the identification, assessment and management of behavioral threats – and intervening before a potential attacker embarks on a path toward violence. This requires establishing robust protective intelligence collection capabilities. It also means enhancing open-source intelligence and social media monitoring, as I referenced above. And it requires, in most cases, conducting a security survey on executive residences and ensuring, at minimum, that baseline security elements (such as CCTV, alarms, panic devices) are in place. For executives at high risk, there is a much broader spectrum of protocols that should be considered – from safe rooms and in-home protective details to having the company’s Security Operating Center monitor the executive residence’s security systems and alerts.

As I mentioned above, if you’d like to review the other six elements of my presentation, it is available here. Or reach out to me in person, if you like. I can be contacted at 312. 869.8500.

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