What Does It Mean to be a Next-Generation Executive Protection Program?


The duty of protecting executives has progressed to a whole new level in recent years. With an increase in remote work, the predictability of routines, and refamiliarizing ourselves with our surroundings and communication both in person and online, it has made the job of executive protection professionals increasingly complex. 

“Today, executive protection has advanced far beyond securing locations and bodies in the physical realm to also safeguarding online identities and reputations in the digital realm,” states Rich Matta, CEO of Reputation Defender in a recent Security Magazine article. 

The 2022 Ontic Summit featured a panel that addressed these topics and more and was led by security professionals with decades of experience in Executive Protection (EP). Cindy Marble, Senior Director of Training Solutions at Ontic, moderated the panel and was joined by Michael Trott, Vice President of Global Safety and Security at Discovery Land Company, and John Haynes, Senior Director of Protective Intelligence and Operations at Dell Technologies. 

Adapting to a Technology-Forward Approach

The panel kicked off by discussing executive protection’s many forms, whether it be for celebrities, high-profile individuals, corporate executives or government/dignitaries. While each category has its own nuances, there’s one common understanding amongst them all: the use of technology to better assist with identifying and mitigating threats is imperative for success. 

Manually keeping track of activity patterns and threats in different corporate locations leaves room for error. Identifying how it’s all connected in one, streamlined view allows for EP teams to take action with confidence instead of stepping aside to assemble the pieces together.

“The commonalities between all facets of EP is how programs can be set up to leverage technology to monitor trends and issues that would impact your team or your protectee. All good teams should be doing this whether you’re in the private sector or public sector,” said Haynes.

Identifying Intelligence Gaps 

The group went on to discuss the importance of EP teams interacting with other departments in an organization. Haynes shared how his team at Dell takes advantage of relationships they’ve formed in other departments to bridge intelligence gaps that often occur in enterprise security teams. For instance, an employee that routinely expresses concerns or hostility towards an executive’s decisions needs to be surfaced from HR to see ahead and mitigate potential for risk.

Acknowledging the Evolving Job Description

From there, Trott outlined several of the unique skills he sees as important for an EP professional to have, emphasizing the need to seamlessly transition between a variety of roles while also being creative and innovative to accomplish a goal or mission. On any given day an EP professional could be reviewing intelligence on a threat actor, to conducting pre-operational surveillance before an event, to something as simple as driving their protectee to a meeting. 

He shares, “Small to medium EP details today require EP operators to shift between protective roles frequently, and you may never know exactly when you have to make those adjustments. Principals today are more dynamic, and within the course of the day or while on travel, and as an EP operator you better be prepared for various roles — to include covert protective surveillance and giving your protectees distance.”

Looking for ways to ensure the safety of high-profile executives with an elevated risk? Check out Ontic’s Executive Protection solution.