With data theft, global cyber-crime and fraud cases dominating the headlines every day, there has never been a more important time to have effective corporate security measures in place.
The World Economic Forum reported in March 2019 that two billion data records were breached in 2017 and more than double of that were compromised in the first six months of 2018. The worrying trend prompted a few meaningful discussions between clients and our corporate security colleagues at Blackhawk Intelligence. It is with this in mind that we want to share information about corporate security, why it matters, how it can help your business grow and how to start enacting it in this article.
Cyber-attacks are key
When we discuss corporate security measures, we must consider all areas including online and offline, as well as external and internal to make it a balanced piece. But in this day and age when ruthless cybercriminals are causing billions of damages to businesses worldwide – and yet many company directors still believe that cyber-attacks won’t happen to them – we believe it is only right to put an emphasis on the online side.
Our belief is also enhanced by the fact that criminals always up the ante: they now purchase advanced phishing kits on the dark web, launch remote access targeting cryptocurrency owners, and use smartphone apps to commit fraud. Increasingly, they even use machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to avoid detection and help in phishing and social engineering where AI can write emails or even call potential victims.
The fact is, cyber-crime shows no signs of letting up, instead it will continue to intensify and put more businesses at risk. Accordingly, corporate security is also no longer the domain that concerns only giant corporations and multi-nationals, it is something that every business should be concerned with. But before we go further, let us take a step back to define what we mean by corporate security.
Corporate security explained
The purpose of corporate security is to protect businesses and organisations from internal and external threats to the business interests, data, technology, employees and resources.
It must be said that every company that is trading actively has vulnerable areas. A hacker may spoof your email, ‘clone’ your company and steal customer data. A burglar may break into your warehouse and loot. A rogue employee may manipulate invoices to their advantage. The list goes on because greed is an inherent human trait.
What is clear is any breach to your corporate security has the potential to cause catastrophic damage: your company may lose a significant amount of cash, its intellectual property, data files, and most importantly, its good reputation which is very hard to rebuild. In some cases, directors of the company may even face jail time if negligence is proven.
Since many of these threats can never be totally removed, the goal is both the identification and the mitigation of these risks. This is why a company may enact corporate security through a variety of methods, including but not limited to:
- Access control
- Network design
- System configuration
- Security architecture
- Recovery solutions
- Industrial security alarm systems
- Video surveillance (CCTV)
- Physical guards
- Comprehensive background checks in the recruitment process
Recent trends have also included compliance efforts with regards to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), whereby use of better identity access management software is required to improve network security. The threat that non-compliance with GDPR poses is particularly noteworthy – with failure to comply resulting in fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the global annual turnover of a business. At Blackhawk, we have a team providing GDPR services where we do an extensive analysis of how your company stores data, what you can and cannot do with them, plus what you can do to prevent accidental or deliberate security breaches. If you are interested in our GDPR services, please follow the link to read more.
Corporate security and the potential for growth
It is easy to frame corporate security as a reaction to a negative – such as a risk or a threat – and look at the consequences of poor corporate security measures as a negative. However, a more positive reading of corporate security places it as an important factor in business growth due to the competitive advantages it provides. Here are some examples:
- Excellent corporate security measures can allow a business to expand into markets that previously appeared too risky.
- Knowing where the threats are can offer up opportunities to restructure and extend supply chains.
- Fewer security breaches also mean less money lost and more profit, which can be used to fuel growth.
- For companies that deal with sensitive data, having excellent corporate security measures in place will attract new customers and partners, as well as creating loyalty among them.
Furthermore, we actively encourage company directors not to view corporate security as a tool to protect assets and employees, but also in the area of corporate social responsibility. If you would like to know more about this, follow the link to the article ‘Environmental ethics due diligence’.
Improving your corporate security
To establish well-rounded and effective corporate security measures, engagement from staff at all levels is required. Everyone (from C-level executives to entry-level staff) should receive training, so they can stay alert in their functions to identify the ever-present risks and threats.
The process is also constant, far-reaching and can appear in many forms including:
- A geopolitical security report pertaining to an area in which your company operates. It includes tactical information regarding any potential threats or security issues that could arise locally.
- A fraud strategy that identifies vulnerable areas and maintains the forensic integrity of any evidence fraudsters may have left behind, as this can be used during litigation.
- A tighter building-access or file-access control for all personnel.
- Enhanced due diligence including stringent background checks.
If you are concerned that your company’s corporate security is not up to scratch, one way to bolster it is through third-party specialists like the corporate security team at Blackhawk Intelligence. Our expertise can help you implement enhanced corporate security strategies that are cost-effective and unique to your business needs.
How Blackhawk helps companies be more secure
At Blackhawk Intelligence, we have decades of experience in corporate security and business. Far from offering ‘copy and paste’ corporate security techniques and procedures, Blackhawk’s specialists work with you and your team to introduce bespoke corporate security strategies to suit your infrastructure and needs.
We start by reviewing your current security practices before offering suggestions that could improve the company’s wider security infrastructure – such as changes to your systems, security access and enhanced due diligence. We also provide reports that focus on how likely your supply chain is open to fraud.
Whether or not your corporate security efforts are up to scratch, our comprehensive approach will ensure that your security strategies are working for your business.
This article was first published in 2018 and was updated on 21/08/2019.
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This post is intended to provide information of general interest about current business issues. It should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.