Let’s break it down and dive deep into what concerns those receiving protective services, i.e., principals. In other words, why is executive protection important to an organization?
The reasons why these services ring vital are many and increasing in number. Most importantly, they provide two crucial elements: the safeguarding of the most prominent members of the corporation and, in the case of the highest-level executive protection, providing companies with strategic competitive advantages.
People at the CEO level make up less than one percent of the global population. But the reason these individuals require maximum protection is their importance to the economy. High-ranking corporate elites account for at least forty percent of the world’s wealth.
In the worldwide business community, the role of corporate protection and the EP industry is held in high regard. High yearly turnovers and the jobs of thousands of security professionals are credited to the necessity of corporate protection.
This article explains why close protection of the C-Suite is imperative to the organization and its survival.
Interestingly though, the art of close protection is not limited to the C-Suite as far as a location goes. Executive protection begins upon arrival at a facility. Frontline security officers act as the first layer of executive protection concurrent with the overall concentric circles of protection (i.e., the building entrance is the first layer, the organization reception area is the second layer, etc.).
Furthermore, executive protection is not limited to that of the physical body of the principal(s) but also the data and information that he/she/they possess for the organization.
This article states, “after all, executive protection is not all about avoiding physical harm, but protection from all potentially harmful acts that involve the executive and their organization.” Therefore, cyber executive protection needs to continue to develop in order to counter existing and evolving digital theft and extortion.
— Matthew Porcelli, Safety and Security Management Specialist
Why is Executive Protection Important to an Organization
For many in the corporate world, personalized protection is a necessity — either on an ongoing basis or during certain trips or events. By the nature of their role, senior executives attract physical harm and potentially hostile acts. In fact, they are in charge of protecting sensitive information from compromise by entities proficient in business espionage.
Simply put, opponents often want to get their hands on the company’s confidential data to disrupt the entire enterprise.
Executive offices, homes, private aircraft, vehicles, or hotel rooms are gateway opportunities to spy on company executives and gain knowledge of sensitive information. For this reason, we suggest incorporating counterespionage measures into executive protection programs to get out of harm’s way.
After all, executive protection is not all about avoiding physical harm, but protection from all potentially harmful acts that involve the executive and their organization. However, the extent of protection typically varies, relative to the value of the person to the company, and their exposure to personal danger.
Who Needs Executive Protection
Boards of directors typically stipulate protection according to rank or status. In some businesses, only CEO-level individuals and above warrant receiving protective services. Reasons for this vary, but might include the following:
- The board of directors sees no need for it.
- They consider the threat not to be at a high enough level to merit a security program.
- The high-ranking executive refuses to accept it (a rare occurrence).
- The cost of a program is not competitive enough.
In addition, we provide you with a few important questions to ask when assessing which persons necessitate a protection program and at what level:
- Who is entitled to receive protection?
- Who will provide the protection?
- What circumstances merit who should be protected, the extent of protection, the composition of the security party, etc.?
It’s not uncommon for an executive ranking third or fourth from the top of the organizational chart to receive greater protection than the CEO of the company. Why is that? It all comes back to the value of the person to their organization and their exposure to danger.
Take, for example, the CEO of an oil company who spends most of their time sitting at the office headquarters in California and is provided basic protection except when traveling on location in Nigeria. On the other hand, the company’s field manager who is based in Nigeria will require greater protection. So, it may be due to geographical reasons, risk of kidnap-and-ransom scenarios, and because without them, the facility might have to be shut down.
All Things Considered
We hope to have so far scratched the surface of why is executive protection important to an organization. For one thing, persons providing EP services understand the protocol and level of requirements needed to defend from any potentially adverse acts or outcomes involving the executive and the company.
In the case of a senior executive traveling abroad overtly to a conference that is well known to the public, protection will be provided with a greater number of EPAs. In fact, a local security firm may be brought in as a supplemental element.
The team leader of the protected executive’s party must ensure that the security company is reliable, fully vetted, and has a history of successfully performing executive protection duties. They will deliver proper measures while remaining flexible and maintaining professional standards that align with the organization.
Remember: The extent of protection will vary relative to the value of the person to their organization and exposure to personal danger.
Expectation of Services
It takes a collaboration of different units to ensure the successful protection of an organization. Rarely is there a single point of contact, but rather, multiple individuals work together to see the mission accomplished. This can refer to security drivers, a motorcade, a security operations center, and other considerations.
Likewise, some of the most common threats protective agents face when safeguarding organizations and their executives have to do with business continuity and competitors. As such, perhaps the most important security measures revolve around elevated levels of planning, coordination, and management for optimal defense.
Executives and security personnel equal top priorities. However, many other people can be brought into the education and training phase. Office workers, maintenance staff, chauffeurs, etc., may receive training on matters involving security measures including:
- Prevention strategies,
- Personal security,
- Recognizing and reporting suspicious occurrences,
- Response to bomb threats or postal bombs, and
- Skills such as defensive driving.
Furthermore, it helps to focus on access control and office security. More specifically, the placing of physical barriers – CCTV cameras and identification equipment – to promote the safety of the company environment.
In conclusion, let’s provide a definitive response to the question of why is executive protection important to an organization. The simplest answer is that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
With that in mind, here are some of the benefits that executives and their companies reap when hiring EP teams:
- Assessing threats on an ongoing basis.
- Providing special protection of communication devices and selected meeting areas to prevent covert listening.
- In-house and external event organizers engaging in matters related to the executive and the family are aware of all security issues.
- Vetting all persons with special or unlimited access.
- Keeping a database of “persons of interest.” These are people with a history of trying to reach executives either in person or via different forms of communication.
Faced with these advantages, most high-ranking individuals will think twice before forgetting to select proficient agents to maintain a safe environment.