As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and various stages of reopenings occur, the threat landscape is dramatically expanding, which is compounded by global geopolitical issues such as the war between Russia and Ukraine. This perpetual state of volatility impacts the ways businesses operate and their ability to plan ahead to mitigate risks.
According to Ontic’s 2022 State of Protective Intelligence Report, the physical threat landscape has significantly changed and expanded in the last year, which has created an exponential increase in data and pre-incident indicators. In fact, 85% of physical security, legal, and compliance leaders anticipate the number of indicators will only grow and become unmanageable in 2022.
New information pours into businesses daily from Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), social media, the Dark Web, weather feeds, technology systems, real-time news, HR systems, and public event notifications—a panoply of resources that may exist in various areas of an organization. To turn this data from chaotic disorder into useful, critical intelligence means providing a single, comprehensive view of potential threats across the business. Furthermore, being able to keep track of changing situations in real time is the difference between simply knowing a threat is there and proactively acting on it.
Real-Time Threat Detection Is Key for Organizational Resilience
To protect an organization and its employees effectively, security teams can no longer have a “set it and forget it” mentality. Today’s strategies must augment and centralize data sources for an organization to be resilient, agile, and adapt quickly to threatening scenarios that could derail normal operations. It’s important to understand the value various sources of data bring in combination with each other such as:
- Real-Time News: By knowing what events are on the horizon and visualizing their proximity to employees, assets, and virtual assets, teams can collaborate and take proactive steps to mitigate the potential impact of a threat.
- Weather and Interactive Maps: Weather conditions can influence consumer activity, supply chain operations, and employee safety—especially when travel is on the horizon. Moving people or assets quickly out of harm’s way can positively impact business continuity, revenue, and—of course—safety. This is also true for physical office locations. If there is an extreme weather event that could impact a specific office or facility, teams can take the appropriate measures to prevent damage that could disrupt typical business operations.
- Dark Web and Social Media: Monitoring the global web that is not open to search engines gives teams information that isn’t readily available on the surface. Social media can enable quick identification of potential threats and surface anomalies that need to be investigated.
- Human Intelligence and Technology Systems: The value of human intelligence and leveraging experience and intuition to make data-driven decisions should not be underestimated. These decisions are based on viewing information from connected devices (cameras and access control systems) for proactive facility protection and internal systems (HR systems and authentication tools).
Intelligence Informs Action
A bird’s-eye view of all available data in a single platform arms security teams with the information they need to make informed decisions and act quickly. It also allows them to pick up on patterns or anomalies in the data to investigate further and identify trends over time or by region that may not have been identified otherwise. Consider the following example:
Given rising extremism and social and political issues worldwide, an insider threat team identified a potential threat actor within the company who is unhappy with current company policies. This individual has taken to social media with violent and threatening mentions of the organization’s leadership regarding their policy decisions and implementation process.
Because of this information, the team then proactively interviews the employee to understand his intentions and frustrations with leadership. This results in the employee being provided with mental health assistance and neutralizes any impending threats to leadership or bystanding employees. In this situation, while there may not have been an immediate danger to the organization’s leadership, had these behaviors and feelings continued to fester and grow, there could have been a different and more debilitating outcome.
This scenario is unfortunately something that corporate teams are regularly facing. According to Ontic’s report, when corporate security, legal, and compliance leaders were asked “what keeps them up at night” as they consider their company’s 2022 physical security program, increased physical threats and company backlash related to rising extremism, social, and political issues were cited by one-third of physical security executives (33%) and vaccination requirements were cited by 31% of physical security and legal leaders.
Whether it’s the corporate office, related facilities, employees, or events, security professionals and leaders are tasked with collecting the right data at the right time and surfacing important signals to mitigate threats to their environment based on that data.
With an increasingly connected world and a threat landscape that is expanding at a rapid rate, businesses are facing more risks than ever before. The ability to detect threats in real time can determine if business operations are disrupted. Don’t let one unanticipated event have a significant impact on business continuity and financial security—utilize real-time threat detection to help keep your employees and your business safe.
Manish Mehta serves as Chief Product Officer at Ontic, where he is responsible for the company’s product strategy and market execution of software used by Fortune 500 and developing enterprises. Prior to Ontic, he led product and engineering globally for a cloud-based digital marketing SaaS company, spent over 18 years in various roles at Dell, and was Founder and CEO of a social commerce startup.