Oftentimes when companies start operations on foreign soil, their focus is more on production and distribution rather than security. When the topic of security does come up, it’s oftentimes in response to an incident and predominantly focuses on gates and guards with little thought on traveling employees.
As executives traverse international borders to establish and manage operations in Mexico, it’s imperative they have a robust executive protection program and implement proactive security measures. While the opportunities for nearshoring in Mexico are abundant, the complex socio-political landscape, coupled with security challenges, underscores the critical need for proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of corporate travelers. The following explores some ways to mitigate potential risks and enable the expansion of business endeavors while keeping corporate personnel safe and productive.
OSINT For Brand & Executive Protection
The systematic collection and detailed analysis of publicly available information through Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) has become crucial for not only brand reputation management but also executive protection. By leveraging data from online platforms, social media, public records, news articles, and the dark web, companies can enhance their situational awareness and make proactive decisions which greatly reduce impact on a business.
For today’s executive protection agent, ongoing OSINT work provides real-time insights into potential threats to high-profile individuals, allowing security teams to scale and adjust in a shorter amount of time. At CAI, OSINT work is performed ahead of advance work and on many occasions has resulted in the identification of planned protests, intentional event disruptions and early stages of executive targeting prior to the start of a detail.
Advance work is a critical component of protecting corporate personnel and serves as the foundation for a successful operation. The goal is to create a secure and seamless environment for the person being protected by addressing logistical concerns and streamlining security measures.
While some still believe the pre-planning process of identifying primary and alternate routes, conducting site visits, and identifying emergency facilities is unnecessary, most corporate leaders expect it to know that in these challenging times, anything can happen without advance notice, and being prepared is a must.
By investing time and resources in advance work, security teams can proactively mitigate risks, enhance situational awareness, and ultimately save the protectee valuable time. This strategic approach not only ensures the safety of the individual but also provides a level of convenience by minimizing disruptions to their schedule and allowing them to focus on their responsibilities with confidence and peace of mind.
Travel Security Programs and Corporate Traveler Communications
Ensuring the safety and well-being of corporate travelers is paramount and implementing a robust corporate travel security program is crucial in mitigating potential risks and safeguarding employees. By proactively communicating with travelers prior to their departure, companies can provide essential information about their destination, potential security concerns, and the necessary precautions to be taken.
Having managed corporate travel security programs, CAI recommends programs include:
A policy where corporate travel is booked through an approved corporate travel program and security is notified of each trip.
A relationship between HR, Risk, Legal, and Security to establish protocols and define duty of care expectations.
A travel risk rating system that defines what level of security measures will be provided to the traveler.
For trips with higher risk ratings, a process where corporate security or a global security operations center will monitor the employee’s travel.
A post-trip conversation with the traveler to address any non-urgent issues, issues with any recommendations made by the travel programs, and changes that could be made to benefit the next traveler.
Occasional but consistent security messaging with useful tips and reminders about the benefits of the company’s travel security program.
Country or Location Risk Rating
When traveling to or operating in a foreign country, it’s imperative to have a clear understanding of the political, economic, social, and cultural landscapes and to be able to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities. One way to accomplish this is through country briefs, where analysts can provide timely and accurate risk assessments. Moreover, country briefs facilitate the development of tailored security strategies and contingency plans, ensuring that organizations can proactively address challenges and mitigate potential risks.
Vetted In-Country Services
Vetting venues and services in a foreign country greatly reduces risk and adds an extra layer of security and comfort for the traveler. At a minimum, companies should assess in-country transportation services, security, emergency services, and venues such as hotels and co-working spaces.
Thoroughly vetting emergency facilities in each country ensures that corporate travelers have access to high-quality medical care when needed. This involves evaluating the capabilities of local hospitals, clinics, and emergency response teams. Some corporate travel security programs may even go as far as establishing partnerships with healthcare facilities known for their medical expertise, modern equipment, and responsiveness.
Oftentimes accommodations are selected based on expense policies and are rarely vetted. Carefully selecting and vetting accommodations is a crucial aspect of ensuring the safety and well-being of corporate travelers. Assessing hotels should include assessing their location, understanding their security staffing levels, reviewing security procedures, and understanding evacuation protocols.
Vetting car services not only ensures reliable transportation but also minimizes the likelihood of encountering unsafe situations and ensures they are well-equipped to navigate the specific challenges of the foreign environment.
In years past, corporate travelers have been reluctant to utilize GPS technology due to privacy reasons. However, with the implementation of proper controls and safeguards, GPS becomes an effective tool for ensuring the safety and security of solo travelers during international journeys.
Advanced apps and technologies now offer travelers the ability to have real-time control over their GPS data, enabling them to share their location with designated contacts or security personnel during their international travels. Additionally, features such as geofencing can be employed to create virtual boundaries, triggering alerts if the executive strays from predefined safe zones. It is essential to ensure that these applications are selectively activated only during travel, minimizing privacy concerns when executives are not on the move. This tailored approach empowers traveling executives to proactively manage their security while maintaining a balance between connectivity and privacy.
// COOKE & ASSOCIATES INC.
At Cooke & Associates, Inc., our cross-border mission has always been clear: Ensure the safety and productivity of executives traveling between border cities. We recognize the importance of understanding local and regional culture and adapting on the move, which is why our agents are extremely successful in the intricacies of each region they operate in. Whether it’s conducting business in bustling urban centers or remote locales, our experts ensure a seamless and secure journey for our valued clients.
We understand that executives have a multitude of responsibilities and business goals to focus on. That’s where we step in. Our trained and experienced agents manage all logistics and coordination, taking the worry off our clients. From transportation arrangements to executive protection, CAI manages all aspects of the movement allowing our clients to concentrate on their business objectives without any interruptions or inconveniences.