Often called the best and the worst job in the world, executive protection encompasses a wide variety of security measures and techniques aimed at ensuring the safety of very important persons – VIPs. It is its own specialized field within the private security industry.
For most people unfamiliar with the security sector, the protection of VIPs simply means bodyguards for rich people. Movies like Taken or The Hitman’s Bodyguard – awesome though they are, have shaped popular opinion, so we instantly associate executive protection with celebrities needing protection from overly zealous fans.
Theoretically, that is not wrong, but there is just a lot more to it in reality.
For instance, certain CEOs or other high-ranking executives achieve notoriety – or even fame due to their coverage in the media. However, their roles within their organizations usually make them essential to their company’s well-being. If something bad happens to them, it would negatively affect the whole company and all its employees.
And it’s not only about preventing physical harm to the client. Disgruntled employees could disagree with the CEO’s policies, or the competition could try and steal company secrets – both scenarios carry risks for the CEO, other relevant executives and their families.
This is precisely why an ever-increasing number of companies is becoming interested in executive protection programs. EP professionals help them plan for various risk scenarios, anticipate and plan for danger, whether involving the day-to-da operations in their headquarters, during the CEO’s business trips, or even in their personal homes.
The tragedy is that most realize the importance of executive protection only after some terrible event.
Who Needs Executive Protection?
We can try to generalize and say that executive protection is needed by high-profile individuals. This includes people from the entertainment business, but also industry leaders or other individuals with access to trade secrets, as well as government officials.
So, we are mostly talking about:
- Executives and CEOs
- Professional athletes
- Musicians and Performers
- Wealthy individuals, etc.
As we said, EP goes beyond securing one just individual. Even though, individual protection is its main intention and purpose behind executive protection, the process extends to the protection of information and the client’s family as well.
When is Executive Protection Required?
Certainly not all situations necessitate executive protection. Not every celebrity of or CEO needs EP professionals around them 24/7.
On the other hand, there are instances in which executive protection is almost always needed.
Protection on International Trips
Traveling abroad could be quite risky for a company CEO or some other executive, especially when travelling to countries with elevated levels of danger. In these situations, the threat of kidnapping or corporate information theft is very realistic.
Alternatively, due to internal political turmoil, the security situation in a country can change overnight. A place thought of as safe one day, can become extremely dangerous the next.
This is where executive protection comes into play.
Teams of highly trained professionals take all of these factors into account – they plan and cover every possible scenario that could jeopardize their clients.
The Safety of Family Members
Usually, an important figure’s family is as much at risk as the individual themselves. It does not matter that their family members have no connection to their role or business – kidnappers looking to score a ransom or access to company information are not deterred by this.
This makes the protection of the client’s family a very high priority. Teams of experts are specially trained to make sure that they do their job as discretely as possible, without interrupting their every-day rhythm, while providing protection from every possible threat.
Because of their role, CEOs especially attractive targets. Their expertise and function place them at the very top of their organizations. And the CEO’s access to privileged information is the basis of their attraction to competitors who would not think twice about using nefarious methods to obtain that information.
With that in mind, the protection of computers, data and other important equipment is a vital aspect of executive protection services. These usually include the provision of physical monitoring of the client’s devices – computers, mobile phones or tablets.
This service is especially important while the client is travelling abroad.
Protection during Public Appearances
Almost any time that a celebrity of foreign dignitary appears in public, there is a certain potential of threat. Imagine a movie star making a speech during a press conference or a foreign diplomat attending a cultural event or an executive at a conference. There are ideal scenarios for people looking to do them harm.
A crazy fan, an angry protester or a mad ex-employee – or even a potential kidnapper, could be lurking among the crowd. This makes public appearances situations where protection is always needed.
The Benefits of Executive Protection
While the bodyguard’s role is to generally provide protection from physical harm – hence the name, executive protection firms aim at a more holistic approach. They aim to provide a full and complete security service.
This includes a wide array of techniques and practices – such as advance work, operational intelligence, in-depth observation, threat information, etc. The ultimate goal of executive protection companies is to prevent any type of incident from happening. Risk assessments and planning significantly lower the risk of danger, with minimal intrusions and interruptions to the daily goings-on of the client.
Therefore, beyond the client’s immediate safety, some of the benefits of executive protection include:
- More and safer travelling,
- Increased productivity, and,
- Peace of mind.
Security is always a concern while travelling, and this is even truer when a CEO is visiting an emerging market. With the support of executive protection risk is lower, allowing for more and safer trips. And, whether at home or travelling, clients who benefit from executive protection also enjoy increased productivity.
Finally, EP means that the client can finally have some peace of mind. Individuals in positions of power can especially appreciate being at ease, knowing that someone has their back in every sense.
So, what is the take-away?
We learned that executive protection is a special type of security service – it can be either overt, covert, or something in between, depending on the circumstances. Its objective is to prevent harm or loss to the client from threats in the physical or online environment.
EP professionals go to great lengths to ensure that a client is safe. They provide protection services, but they also conduct all the advance work, surveillance, logistics, and driver duties if needed. Because of the specific and complex skills that you need to be an executive protection agent, most professionals have prior military – typically elite, or law enforcement training, as well as real-world experience in combating physical and other kinds of threats.
Simply put, executive protection focusses on maximizing security while minimizing inconvenience to individuals and businesses.