How ‘Widening the Aperture’ Can Transform Your Corporate Security Program
For a complete overview of this year’s Ontic Summit, take a look at the Ontic Summit 2022 Recap.
The 2022 Ontic Summit was a momentous gathering of the vital community of safety, security and protection professionals. The event was notable not only because it coincided with Ontic’s fifth anniversary year, but in many ways, it reflected the changes underway in our world. Over 150 professionals convened in person in Austin, a significant expansion from the 50-person gathering two years ago, just prior to COVID shutting everything down. This focus at scale on corporate physical security transformation, collaboration and effectiveness by our industry’s foremost influencers and business impactors is a reflection of the increasing need to protect business continuity, mitigate risks and head off growing threats.
Where is our industry today, what are the changes afoot and what direction must it head? Just as a camera lens aperture allows light in to better expose an image so we see a picture’s detail, the more a business prioritizes and shares their corporate security program across their organization, the greater the effectiveness and impact. Said another way, the wider the aperture, the more light to illuminate what can be seen.
Corporate security program manager’s focus may start with a single entity or event, but widening the aperture to the intelligence from physical and now digital environments about potential threats to an organization is a powerful indicator of the vulnerabilities. It helps provide exposure to the broader conditions that lead to “The How.” Think of widening the aperture in stages and within each, how you can Frame, Focus and Capture the critical insights corporate physical security intelligence can provide.
Aperture 1 – Bring all Your Digital Environments Together
Many organizations are using multiple platforms and tools to manage their corporate security programs. The frame may encompass multiple independent workstreams with their own tracking, processes and reporting management. To better focus, it is important to inventory your corporate security systems and tools – hardware, social, darkweb, etc., and pull them all into the field of vision. To capture the picture and connect the dots, integrate information and push for standardization and a single source of truth as you manage your security risks and threat landscape. This applies not only to physical, but cyber and operational security. This is foundational to building a trusted source of information and intelligence for those who can best act on it.
Aperture 2 – Seek Intelligence and Impact
In today’s data-rich world where every interaction yields a digital footprint, the information isn’t as hard to come by as it was three decades ago when pavement-pounding techniques were the norm. But data doesn’t always equal insight.
Security has become mainstream. The cost of an incident is well-known and well-publicized. It affects brand reputation and resilience, has financial implications and worst of all, can be a reason employees and people assets don’t feel safe when they walk into work every day.
You may think you can frame the security picture because you have an abundance of data, but if that data is light on intelligence or insight it can be difficult to extract value. To ensure focus, then, intelligence needs to be operationalized so the whole threat landscape is visible in one place. The capture is the communication of what it means and curating what’s important for a company’s leadership to know in something like an intelligence report. Such a report should be holistic and provide organizational alignment incorporating your standards, guidelines and a recommended action plan for your most vulnerable areas.
Aperture 3 – Involve your Business Partners
With an increasingly connected world and expanding threat landscape, businesses face greater risk exposure than ever. That is why security professionals and intelligence teams must think broadly about involving business partners across the organization. Intelligence should align with organizational risk mitigation efforts. That is not just a security issue.
This means understanding the frame for corporate security assessment must encompass other areas since issues often originate outside of the security team. Threats from cybercrime, climate, fraud, activism and unrest are on the rise and the ability to respond quickly can be the difference between a minor procedural disruption and catastrophic loss. Focus needs to include others in the business to ensure business continuity. Senior leaders even beyond the security department must have greater visibility of threats and vulnerabilities across the organization to employ a centralized approach to minimizing risk to their employees and maintaining business continuity. Security teams ultimately are well-positioned to capture and be at the center of a proactive, technology-led early threat detection, assessment and corporate security training program, but to also lead this transformation for the enterprise.
Aperture 4 – Capture the Intelligence Picture
A connected corporate physical security strategy involves communication that brings together every functional area across the organization, bridging intelligence gaps and breaking down silos of threat and risk vulnerabilities information that can exist across an organization. Greater focus is gained through insights and intelligence, not just information. Every organization has an opportunity, given the advances in technology, to expand their field of vision, let more light in, work across the organization to mitigate threats, protect the business from liabilities and greater damage, and capture the full intelligence picture with an effective corporate security program.
To learn more about where our industry is today and gain a bigger picture of the current environment, download the 2022 State of Protective Intelligence Report.