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Why security today needs to be driven by intelligence

In a world of growing global tension and increasing interconnectivity, where information and misinformation are widely shared, the demand for actionable intelligence is crucial to both mitigate risks and capitalise on opportunities.

In the last decade, the threat landscape has evolved rapidly. Understanding the increasingly complex methods by which threat actors operate is crucial for making informed decisions in security, risk, and resilience.

"In a world where everyone is interconnected, there is more opportunity than ever for businesses to flourish. But where there's opportunity, there is also risk," says Michael Evans, Director of Securitas’ Risk Intelligence Center (RIC).

This has become more evident in recent years, with scenarios such as geopolitical tensions between various global actors highlighting these challenges. While information today is accessible on many open sources, theinformation landscape is as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) as the the landscape, and is also increasingly undermined by the spread of misinformation, disinformation and malinformation.

Misinformation is shared by individuals who have been misled; disinformation is the intentional spreading of false information to advance specific agendas. Malinformation involves using true information for malicious purposes, such as doxing, where personal information is shared online. These risks are heightened as organisations and their people, including executives, are increasingly connected to the online world.

“The world is still going to happen, but by utilizing intelligence services you will be better prepared, informed and in control. That means less chance of disruption, greater opportunities,and the ability to focus on what matters to you most. It also means greater confidence from not only your employees and your organisation but also your customers, shareholders and stakeholders,” says Michael Evans.  

The opportunities for intelligence
Intelligence plays a pivotal role in managing risks and identifying opportunities in a connected world. However, it is essential to approach intelligence collection and utilisation in a responsible and strategic manner.

“By using intelligence services, you will get guidance in making decisions. Essentially, you’ll have decision-making advantage and the situational awareness and assessment necessary to plan and implement contingency plans. This enables you to make proactive decisions in real time or adjust the course of action as needed,” Michael says, adding:

“This applies to the day-to-day, such as planning security postures, typical business-as-usual decisions, such as selecting a venue for an event, or major events such as market entry and geopolitical developments.”

The wide availability of data and information implies that anyone can collect intelligence, but the accuracy, timeliness, and relevance may vary. Reliable and credible intelligence requires subject matter expertise, access to various sources, and industry insights. Actionable intelligence is crucial, as it enables organizations to protect their people, premises, operations, and brand reputation. However, it’s crucial to integrate intelligence in the whole organization and all departments, in order to truly benefit from it, says Michael. 

"Intelligence can help break down silos. Leaders can integrate intelligence into their business across the different divisions, departments, and functions, and find value for everyone,” Michael says. “It's about getting it in all levels of an operation and an organisation, not just the security officers and the frontline, not just the C-suite."

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