The footprint of technology can be seen on every aspect of our lives and upon practically every industry. Statistics indicate that in 1985 only 31 million homes worldwide had personal computers compared with 1069 million in 2007.
In 1985 there were only 340 thousand cell phone users in the US, compared with 262 million in 2008. The fact is that over the past twenty years technology has not only changed the way we live, it has changed the way we think and the way we communicate. Communication is not only the way we send and receive personal information, it defines the way we examine the world and the way the world examines us.
Most people have been shocked into the reality of identity theft. In response to this cyber menace, huge and lucrative industries in identity protection have popped up over night to allay people’s fear of financial ruin. Those who work in the Executive Protection Industry need to stay ahead of this movement primarily because the men and women we protect often have so much to loose in terms of their finances and their reputations.
Therefore, it makes sense to include identity protection as one of the constituent elements of the protection portfolio we offer to our clients. Most Executive Protection Professionals have figured out the need to keep their clients out of harms way physically. However, when you are able and willing to offer a total package of protection which includes threats from the cyber world, you have given potential clients an additional reason to request your services.
The image of security has reacted to cyber threats and is now more inclusive of the dangers that exist both in the physical realm and in the cyber world. The time has come for the image of Executive Protection to evolve as well. In the past one used to associate security professionals with the uniformed officer wearing a utility belt.
Now when you do an internet search for security jobs you find page after page of companies looking for security analyst and IT professionals. The security industry had to change from the concept of protecting clients from physical threats only, to protecting clients from cyber threats. The time has now come for Executive Protection specialists to include protection from cyber threats as well.
In a July 2nd 2007 article entitled, “Hackers Target Execs and their Families, “ InfoWorld, www.inforworld.com, reported that cyber hackers are targeting corporate executives and their families in an effort to steal company information. These hackers have developed software that can actually track keystrokes made by top level executives on their personal and business computers.
They often entice family members of these executives through emails and word documents that are disguised to look familiar or to come from someone they know and trust. Imagine the value you can bring to your client when you are not only able to protect them and their families from physical harm but you are looking out for hackers that can compromise their entire empire with a few strokes of the keyboard.
Sometimes it is necessary to enter into the criminal mind in order to protect your primary. One does not need a Master’s Degree from MIT to provide valuable protection from cyber threats. On a regular basis, do an internet sweep of your clients and see what public information is out there about them. Do an in depth analysis of the information you discover. Is there public information out there regarding relatives names, places of residence, birthdates, hobbies, vacation spots, and their acquaintances.
Tell your primary how much public information is out there about them and make good recommendations about how they can keep themselves and their families safe from cyber threats. Keep abreast of cyber scams by subscribing to websites and other organizations that track such things.
Advise your primary about the scams you learn about and let them know where they may be vulnerable. Recommend that your primary take steps to stop feeding more personal information to the internet through social networking sites and other areas. In most cases, they will not be able to completely stop the flow of information, but they can set up protocols within their homes and work places to keep themselves safe in the cyber world.
Taking the threat of hackers seriously is another way to raise the bar in Executive Protection. By making this information available to your primary you add value to the service you provide by providing forward thinking which out paces your competition.