Technology and Executive Protection Operations
A business’s executives, the leadership, and board of directors are sources of sensitive, privileged, and confidential information, and that makes them possible cyber attack victims. That’s why a robust executive protection program that protects these individuals both online and offline is so important.
When private information about high-profile, high-net-worth individuals is exposed, it carries a high degree of risk for both the individual and the business. This includes threats against the physical security of the executives and their families.
But it’s not just the high-profile executives of the world who need sophisticated protection. In today’s world, even those who keep a low profile are targets of hackers who carry out thorough research to identify targets and exploit their most private details.
Today, top executives are more likely to be the target of social incidents than in the past. Taking the safety of their business, associates, and family seriously means taking their own safety seriously. It’s now crucial for executives to work together with their physical and cyber security teams alike to understand risks in the physical and digital environments and develop a plan that protects them against it all.
Executives have to travel all over the world to do their jobs, sometimes at a moment’s notice. Their tight schedule usually leaves little time to prepare for anything outside the purpose of the business trip, but a lack of preparation could have devastating consequences. As law-abiding private citizens, it may feel unnatural to consider themselves targets of surveillance or espionage, but business executives of this caliber are closely watched by a host of potential adversaries.
These adversaries include industry competitors, sophisticated hacking groups, and even far-ranging espionage wings of national governments — each of these groups is hot after the IP of global businesses and have executives in their crosshairs, which is why it’s never been more critical that executives traveling abroad lean on counterintelligence and situational awareness.
Executive security teams need to know the criminal and geopolitical environment of the area in which they’re traveling so they can identify all possible threats, whether exposed or more off the grid and provide a thorough briefing to the executive. Traveling executives have been the target of kidnapping plots in certain parts of the world. This context may be the difference between a safe, successful trip abroad and being hacked or tricked into giving up sensitive information that could materially harm the company.
Global espionage and insider threats to business are nothing new on their own, but the fact that they are now overlapped represents an impending threat to companies and their executives. Employees themselves could also be targets of competitors practicing espionage.
Sometimes disgruntled employees have a personal issue and simply want to inflict as much damage as possible to a business or its executives.
Physical security teams are rarely technical enough to detect a cyber threat, and cybersecurity teams usually don’t understand how a cyberthreat can manifest itself into a physical situation if not properly handled. While many companies have both teams in some form, they each have different terminology and tactics. It is critical to introduce physical and digital security teams, establish a standardized language and process to communicate and collaborate effectively, especially in a crisis. The higher the degree of cooperation, the fewer the threats that come to fruition.
*External Risk Management, riskiq.com