Eddie Lampert, then the CEO of Sears, was kidnapped by four men at his office. It all ended well and the kidnappers were taken into custody. The ransom demand of $5 million was never paid, but the case demonstrates that the risk of attack is a very real one for senior business executives and wealthy people.
Your status, associations, or wealth may put you at risk of attack. You may benefit from executive protection. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Executive Protection, What Is It?
People with wealth, power, or a high profile are potential targets for all kinds of threats. Executive protection is a response to that threat. It offers customized close protection, delivered by professionals that meet that threat appropriately.
Effective executive protection uses a risk management approach. It’s applied to the task of protecting at-risk individuals.
It is strategic as well as tactical. It’s all-around protection. It’s as comfortable rebuffing a physical assault or an attack using the latest technological means.
Reasons for Protection
Executive protection is for senior business people. These people have personal influence and corporate power that make them a target for those who might want to disrupt their businesses.
They may also have significant personal wealth. They may have such value to their corporations that they are a potential ransom target.
The implications of an attack on a prominent business leader can be devastating for them as individuals and for their friends and family. There are other implications too.
An abduction or an attack can remove the senior leader from their position, either temporarily or permanently. The impact can be very significant to a business or even an industry. When succession in corporations is often planned and managed with care, an unexpected incident that disrupts the continuity of leadership can be very damaging and costly.
VIPs and celebrity figures can also be potential targets for attack. Celebrities are individuals who attract a lot of media attention. Some unscrupulous individuals and groups might seek to use this fame to draw attention to a cause or simply because they seek attention.
Just a Bodyguard?
Many prominent individuals are regularly seen in public with one or more bodyguards. It’s certainly a feature of many celebrities’ images to have a large, smartly dressed individual to open the car door and accompany them through a crowd. They seem to operate as a deterrent to would-be attackers simply by being bigger and perhaps more threatening than potential assailants.
Bodyguards are often recruited for a specific event. They turn up with no clear understanding of potential threats or of how they might address them. They may not even know much about their client other than what they glean from the media.
Some permanent bodyguards are little more than members of an entourage. With little training outside of a gym and no expertise in protection, they look tough and hope that is enough.
Specialist executive protection is much more than bodyguarding.
The range of risk management measures available to a professional executive protection service includes things that are not visible to either the general public, potential hostile persons, or even the person being protected.
Surveillance of the client’s home and work environments helps identify and control risks. They assess and neutralize any threats.
They reconnoiter journeys and mitigate risks. They assess the risk for specific events or locations.
Of course, executive protection also handles the physical protection of the client. But this is done much more effectively because it is based on an assessment of the likely risks. The service also includes emergency medical care.
Understanding the threats that might face a client includes addressing emergent threats. Rather than focus on the limited threat of a direct attack, executive protection addresses these new factors.
Terrorism in all its forms has existed for many years. Terrorists are now sophisticated in their approach. Their use of technology is particularly worrying.
Executive protection addresses these threats by recognizing the need to understand these tactics and use technology in a more sophisticated way too. Examples of this are encrypted communication and high-tech surveillance equipment.
Cybersecurity is a significant risk to businesses. One set of breaches in 2019 amounted to 2.2 billion accounts being exposed. With perpetrators that include “state actors,” combatting it takes determination and ingenuity.
There are cybersecurity aspects to the protection of VIPs that are not likely to be addressed by a big guy in a dark suit riding in the car with a client. Executive protection has to recognize the potential for criminals to use this route to get at their target.
Selecting an Executive Protection Service
Hiring an executive protection service starts with an assessment of the risks. Is the client at risk? Are these risks best met by recruiting an executive protection company?
These issues depend on the individual, their business, and on the environment they operate in. Start your search by having a professional risk assessment carried out by a firm such as SMART Security Pros and evaluate the results.
After an assessment, consider the proposal. You need an executive protection service with a credible team, a reputation for service and effectiveness, and the ability to deliver safety and security for their clients.
Executive protection isn’t about bodyguards. It’s about protecting an individual, but more than that. It’s about protecting all those that depend on that individual to be there when their company, audience, family, and friends need them.
So make sure you get executive protection when appropriate. It’ll be a long-term investment into your future.
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