An adversary can only approach to the edge of your awareness

The goal of protective security is to build concentric rings of awareness around the principal using a combination of people and technology. Identifying potential threats well in advance provides time to make decisions and effectively navigate the risk landscape. The challenge is that perfect security is not only unattainable, but not even desirable. The principal desires security in order to conduct his or her daily activities; i.e. to live life. Living on a fortress island in order to be secure defeats the intent of protection as an enabling effort.

The principal interacts with the world, meets people at work or home, receives visitors, attends public events, receives mail, makes home improvements, runs errands, orders food, has contractors work on the home, and conducts countless other every-day activities. While for most, these interactions carry little to no risk, each one of these could be a threat vector to a principal. The short space between a car and the venue is statistically the primary target for most threat actors. At any public event, hostile actors can potentially cause physical or reputational harm to the principal.  Mail to the home can carry chemical or biological agents. Food deliveries can be a method of initial surveillance on the home. Housekeeping staff who know the location of the spare key can be pressured to share that information. These are just some highlights of the countless risks that exist. And this is before the digital risks in the cyber world are discussed.

A principal’s digital persona is just as valuable as the health and safety of the principal. The principal’s online presence is often a brand in itself, many times tied to his or her company. Private company data and sensitive private information are all stored online. Company websites, personal social media accounts and internet of things at the home all expose the principal to increased risk of physical, reputational, financial, or informational harm. Protecting the principal’s cyber presence has become just as critical as protecting the physical person.

Extending beyond the personal layer of protection, intelligence collection efforts can gain indicators and warnings of impending threats, spot threat actors during initial planning and surveillance stages, and deter operations in progress. Intelligence is the widest concentric ring extending awareness to maximum extent possible.

It is only through the effective layer and integration of all of these efforts can a principal be truly protected, and more importantly, enabled to live life as he or she sees fit.