Corporate Intelligence Programs Offer a Rare Opportunity to Be Strategic
It’s surprising how often senior managers in Corporate Security take for granted that their people are working the right angles and executing in the best interest of the firm. When applying Intelligence to the Corporate Security Strategy, the selection of the right target to collect against, which also means choosing how we invest our time, is one of the few strategic things we can do as advisors.
Think about it.
Most of what we do in Corporate Security involves executing in a repetitive fashion. In EP, we work with the principal, set the stage, and secure the venue.
Security Management excels when they figure out how to demonstrate value-added processes to an otherwise heavy-laden decision chain, and then execute those systems repeatedly. But this is where an effective, well-funded intelligence program pays dividends as a rare opportunity to step back from the grind and ask the important, big picture questions.
What aspect of the client’s business is the most vulnerable? What are the common characteristics of likely attackers? Where is the client’s business most active, geographically? What do those threats “look, smell, and feel” like? Which threats will they face in a joint venture? What vertical markets represent the biggest challenge in executing the security plan?
A program that is based on client-centric Intelligence in corporate security will answer these questions and much more. This will enable your consultative approach with the flexibility it needs for success. You need to know how much time you should allocate to the analysis of tactical issues facing projects. On the other hand, know how much time should you place on intelligence to drive business growth? These are questions to answer.
Corporate Intelligence Objectives Must Be Defined, Focused, Written, and Achievable
Define Your Target
Identification of the target set is essential for a successful program based on Intelligence in corporate security. Intelligence Advisors who succeed in identifying threats to their clients lock in on a finite number of strategic threats. They’re confident in their selection of targets and can communicate that clearly.
As intelligence is matched to the business model, the program will naturally guide key leaders in the decision chain. Also, it will inform on mergers and acquisitions, and even disrupt threats to proprietary data. This can only happen when Security Management allocates the freedom and creativity necessary to deliver.
Intelligence has a life cycle, and we are judged based on our ability to deliver a finished, relevant product in a timely manner. But once released, a quality Intelligence Program will penetrate those areas of the client’s portfolio. What’s more, it will define levels of vulnerability and generate layered solutions to match.
Limiting the number of security issues to focus on drives the discovery effort. Focusing on a certain market, a particular group threatening your client, and how those threats directly impact revenue streams, does have many benefits.
For one, it will allow you to grow in the language, nuance, and business complexities facing your client. Above all, communication is key to our success.
Two, it empowers your personal growth and your confidence in communicating your findings. When Security and Intelligence Advisors lead with their product, i.e., what they do, it’s difficult for the client to trust us as strategic advisors.
Lead with client issues. No one cares about how amazing you believe your product is. However, most people will listen to how your product can resolve their immediate concerns. Remember, we don’t want clients to commoditize our service. We want them to value it as essential to solving their problems.
Three, as we expand our application of intelligence into the security plan, we discover the right questions to ask and when. Because a lot of what we do is consultative in nature, we must ask the right questions to formulate solutions. Address client issues upfront and use them to lead the conversation.
And four, as we collect and disseminate intelligence in corporate security that is focused on threats to our clients, our reputation builds along with our credibility and arsenal of case studies to demonstrate our value. Success has a particular rhythm in security, and it becomes easier and easier to replicate early success.
Complete a Written Target List
It goes without saying that the most successful people in business and life clearly articulate their goals in written format. The most prolific security practitioners I know live by their target lists with discovery goals to match.
This could be the capture of a new client account or a profitable inroad toward relationship access into a supporting department. Write it down and apply your methodologies to that end. Top performers commit strategy to paper and can always point to their Defined, Focused, Written list at moment’s notice.
Ensure Your Target List Is Achievable
So how many threat targets should one Advisor work on? There are as many right answers as there are types of businesses.
It completely depends on the vertical market, the type of relationship security plays in the business plan and the overall expectation of the client you serve. At Tactical Rabbit, we relentlessly pursue threats to trade secret protections, disrupt efforts toward industrial espionage, and at times, these cases can run into the dozens.
I have seen other aspects of intelligence applied to threats at a project level or even tactically specific to Executive Protection Details abroad. But Achievable is the word I like to use in assigning quality to the Defined, Focused, Written list. Too many threats and it’s impossible for the advisor to address them all.
In other words, they don’t get the attention they deserve. But too few threats identified on the front end and you left canvassing the news. Depending on Security Management (typically where Intelligence in corporate security falls) and its integration into the overall business strategy, an appropriate and defined number of targets should be established upfront with a specified period to be collected against. This drives the effort forward and remains principal to the product life cycle, keeping the intelligence centered on core objectives and workable toward an achievable end.