In a world of contradictory and misleading information, intelligence provides situational awareness of cyber threats, security risks, political instability, or other trouble brewing. Smart business leaders consciously use intelligence to shape their decisions.
Every day, private-sector intelligence professionals legally and ethically steer companies away from trouble and towards opportunity and decisiveness. Organizations, such as the Association of International Risk Intelligence Professionals, are establishing standards and codes of conduct, and academic institutions, are producing a new generation of private-sector focused intelligence professionals.
Companies invest in security and intelligence because it helps the bottom line. These functions are now ubiquitous. Virtually every major company either has a security intelligence capacity or is building one.
The best intelligence functions help leaders understand what is happening and what is likely to happen next. Intelligence is the first step in understanding your risk.
Further, intelligence can create a competitive advantage by enabling operations where others fear to tread. In high threat environments, strong intelligence enables companies to efficiently target security resources on the most relevant risks. When entering new markets, intelligence teams help executives avoid becoming entangled with dodgy partners or overspending on security while closing the deal. You don’t need all the armed guards if you have good intelligence.
The value of private-sector intelligence is giving the business confidence and avoiding overreactions. For example, after Microsoft executives saw alarming external reporting about security dangers in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Microsoft’s in-house intelligence team provided a nuanced assessment, specific to the company’s footprint, that gave the C-suite the confidence to continue operating safely.
Prior to Covid-19, many corporate intelligence teams largely focused on security, but the pandemic has shown the broader value of intelligence. The same skills used to assess security risks can be used in identifying trends and opportunities.
Intelligence analysis can simply relay facts to protect people and assets but is most valuable when used for strategic, proactive decision-making support.
From The Shadows Emerges Knowledge