As someone who has worked closely with executives on matters of security, I’ve come to learn this bit of wisdom: the most important business conversations don’t always happen in the board room. They can happen in the ride on the way to the airport. Or on the flight heading back from an overseas engagement. They happen when executives – whose daily agendas overflow with engagements – finally collect those moments of quiet, clarity and, presumably, privacy.

But what happens when, for a brief window of time, the company plane is left unattended on the tarmac, and an eavesdropping device is planted in the cabin? What happens when that conversation on the flight back home from London – seemingly confidential and proprietary – has an unexpected listener on board or a tiny device in the vent right next to the CEO’s ear?

Undetected surveillance represents a stealth threat to any corporation. Unless this kind of activity is aggressively countered, its insidious effects can corrode an organization – from the inside out. Technical surveillance countermeasures, more commonly known as TSCM, can help mitigate those risks.

3 Potential Outcomes of Undetected Corporate Surveillance

1.      Loss of Your Proprietary Information

A single, carefully hidden eavesdropping device can accumulate hundreds of hours of conversation, potentially capturing intelligence on a company’s most closely held technologies, processes and systems. Once collected, this information can make its way into the hands of competitors (or even nation states) looking to gain a market advantage – or any number of individuals seeking to exploit an organization’s expertise and success.

2.      Exposure of Your Strategic Vision

Behind every successful organization is a core set of tactics that underpin a winning strategy. These are the decisions – at the absolute highest level of the company – that define the scope, scale, purpose and market differentiation of the business and set the course for success. The loss of privacy surrounding such high-level commitments can unsuspectingly place an organization at a major competitive disadvantage.

3.      Damage to Your Brand – and Reputation

We live in an ultra-connected world. In a matter of minutes, sensitive information can leak to news outlets and spread like a wildfire across social media. Undetected surveillance devices can equip malevolent eavesdroppers with the ammunition to badly cripple a company’s public standing and spawn a potentially devastating public relations nightmare.

 

How Technical Surveillance Countermeasure Sweeps Deliver Value

1.      Technical surveillance countermeasure experts leverage front-line knowledge and technology.

State-of-the-art counter-surveillance equipment can serve a powerful tool against corporate eavesdropping. But a technical surveillance countermeasure entails much more than simply deploying the latest technology (which, by the way, is constantly changing). A comprehensive technical surveillance countermeasure sweep is conducted by highly qualified technicians who have the requisite skills, training and experience to comb through sensitive areas meticulously for hidden surveillance devices and sanitize rooms and areas before vital meetings and conversations occur.

2.      Regular TSCM sweeps establish baselines that can pay off up the road.

When properly deployed by qualified experts, technical surveillance countermeasure services can detect well-concealed electronic surveillance equipment. But the true value of a technical surveillance countermeasure sweep is in its ability to help an organization establish a baseline understanding of the radio frequency transmissions emanating from an area where sensitive conversations take place. Such information can help focus future sweeps by serving as a benchmark for comparison. This is how the smallest and sharpest of needles are found in the electronic haystack.

3.      TSCM sweeps are crucial prevention strategies – particularly for some entities and industries over others.

The costs of undetected surveillance can be staggering. Prolonged, messy and public legal battles. Massive expenditures on crisis communications services. Losses in market share that cannot be easily recovered. Investing in a baseline TSCM sweep – and regularly following up with periodic re-sweeps, can be a valuable avenue for an organization to protect itself against the silent hemorrhaging of information. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Keep Your Private Conversations Private

Organizations are more vulnerable today than ever before. As surveillance technologies continue to advance, the threat of being “bugged” – and the potentially destructive aftermath – are increasing. Taking a proactive approach – and partnering with experienced, highly skilled professionals equipped with advanced TSCM technology – can be a comparatively small down payment on long-term organizational privacy and security. If you’ve got questions on TSCM and countering the risks of corporate eavesdropping or espionage, you can reach me at (312) 869-8500 or john.orloff@hillardheintze.com.

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