Protective intelligence is a term that may not be commonly used in everyday conversations, but it plays a vital role in the EP industry. Many people associate protective intelligence with high-secret government programs and the work of security intelligence analysts in 24-hour operations centers, protecting important individuals and officials from terrorist plots. However, protective intelligence extends beyond these specialized contexts.
It encompasses a range of proactive tools and processes that can be utilized by any EP professional or company to stay left of the boom and effectively mitigate threats.
Protective Intelligence and Risk Mitigation
Protective intelligence involves a proactive approach to risk mitigation.
It goes beyond the notion of simply reacting to incidents and instead focuses on identifying and preventing potential threats before they manifest. This position requires constant monitoring and vigilance, with a particular emphasis on identifying behavioral anomalies that may indicate a threat. By examining the behavior, tactics, techniques, and procedures employed by threat actors, security agents equip themselves to anticipate and counter potential attacks.
Daily vetting alone is not sufficient to ensure effective risk management. Instead, the key components of risk mitigation revolve around:
- identifying threats,
- investigating the risks they pose, and
- taking necessary steps to alleviate potential harm.
Attacks do not occur out of nowhere; they are often the result of careful planning and execution by threat actors. By understanding their behavior patterns and modus operandi, EP professionals can better prepare themselves and their clients to mitigate potential threats.
Protective Intelligence is Proactive
One of the fundamental principles of protective intelligence is the proactive nature of its implementation. EPAs must plan for the worst while operating at their best, striving to anticipate every possible scenario. This requires maintaining situational awareness, eliminating distractions, and constantly being prepared. By adopting these vital aspects of proactive protection, agents can reduce the vulnerability of their clients and enhance their overall safety.
Protective intelligence planning must encompass out-of-the-box thinking and practical solutions. Conducting regular table-top threat identification exercises and pressure testing standard operating procedures and intelligence assessments through Red and Blue Teaming exercises ensures preparedness and adaptability.
A 360 Degree Perspective
A crucial aspect of protective intelligence is the ability to examine situations from various angles. While EP teams are generally adept at looking from the inside out, this encourages them to adopt an outside-in perspective.
Some key areas of focus include:
- analyzing the principal’s schedule,
- investigating transportation routes,
- identifying overt security assets in crucial locations, and,
- performing countersurveillance.
By combining these tactics and applying creative and proactive strategies, EP teams can keep hostile threat actors off-balance and increase their chances of early threat detection.
Furthermore, CSOs can promote intelligence sharing among their protection teams to bridge any gaps that may arise due to information silos. Sharing intelligence and analysis within the team allows for a more comprehensive understanding of threats and enhances situational awareness.
For instance, if a specific C-suite executive is threatened, it is likely that other executives involved in similar activities may face similar threats. By circulating information about initial and subsequent threats among the EP team, a higher level of situational awareness can be achieved.
Preventative Protective Intelligence and Sources
While having a protective intelligence program is essential, it is crucial to understand that a program alone is not sufficient to prevent acts of violence. Protective intelligence serves as the engine that refines raw data and information, but it must run continuously in the background and enable crucial decision-making to make a difference.
Protective intelligence should not only focus on collecting data but also on implementing measures to prevent attacks or crimes. This requires advancing the programs to ensure that they can come full circle and translate intelligence into effective action.
The internet has become fertile ground for gathering valuable investigative clues. Many individuals and groups leave behind digital footprints that can aid in a threat assessment.
Private sector protective intelligence can alleviate the strain on law enforcement agencies by providing assistance and crucial information. This bridges the gap between EP professionals and law enforcement, enabling the timely sharing of intelligence to prevent attacks. However, the human decision-making element remains essential. It is the responsibility of EPAs to evaluate and act upon the information provided by protective intelligence programs.
One of the most valuable sources of intelligence comes from individuals close to the potential threat. Neighbors, family members, co-workers, and friends often notice concerning behavioral changes in individuals that may indicate a potential threat. This can include increased anger and hate speech, fixation on a person or location, posting violent and vulgar material, acquiring weapons or ammunition, or associating with individuals exhibiting similar concerns and mental health issues.
Reporting such changes can provide critical intelligence that contributes to threat assessment and prevention.
As we said, protective intelligence is a proactive approach to threat mitigation that involves constant monitoring, analysis, and proactive decision-making. It goes beyond reacting to incidents and focuses on identifying and preventing potential threats before they occur. By employing comprehensive risk management strategies, looking at situations from different angles, and encouraging intelligence sharing, EP professionals can enhance their ability to protect individuals, property, facilities, and operations.
With actionable and preventative protective intelligence, EPAs can bridge the gap between information and action, making a significant impact on the safety of their principals.
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