Threat/Hazard

Ask the Expert: When should I consider executive protection?

September 2, 2020 | 2 min read
Executive protection

Executive protection (EP), also known as “close protection,” refers to any security and risk mitigation measures taken to ensure the safety of high-profile individuals, such as executives, celebrities, members of wealthy families, heads of state and other VIPs.

Often EP is used to protect company leaders, but if you or your company isn’t using executive protection already, it can be hard to know who should have EP or when to start using it. After all, not everybody needs executive protection. So how do you know when to consider EP?

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How to use risk analysis to determine your need for EP

A proper risk analysis is key to learning so much about your security needs, and that includes executive protection. A good risk analysis will tell you if your leadership is under threat; if they’re a likely target for a kidnapping plot or an attack, if they’ve been mentioned online by people who are likely to take action against them.

It might not be the leader who is controversial — perhaps the company is a target for specific groups. Or perhaps there’s a big event coming up that might draw the fire of competitors: a big announcement, a merger or an acquisition that competitors might try to disrupt through criminal activity.

Perhaps there is an international trip coming up which may present risk and require more security than usual.

A risk analysis will also tell you what the affect of a kidnapping, assassination, or hostage situaion would be on your organization. Could your organization withstand the emotional, financial, or reputational cost of such an event?

Often the cost of protection is much less expensive than the cost of an actual incident.

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When you don’t need a risk analysis to determine a need for EP

A proper risk analysis will tell you if your leadership requires EP, however there are a few instances when your leadership needs EP regardless of risk:

  1. When an insurance policy requires it: Some insurance policies require executives to have protection
  2. When company policy requires it: Some company policies automatically require anyone appointed to a specific level to be protected
  3. When an individual is critical to an organization: If a person carries a large amount of intellectual property that no one else shares, they should be protected.

Lastly, we sometimes see clients who just want EP. Sometimes when we perform a risk analysis, we see no active threats, but we know EP represents peace of mind for the client. When that happens, we don’t recommend against it.

The best security program is one that doesn’t change when an incident happens. If you feel like there’s a reason you need EP, you probably do need it. Having one EP or two on staff might be the difference between having an incident and having none.

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