Office Security in a Corporate Environment 

With plenty of physical security techniques that require the presence of protective staff, it can be easy to overlook the benefits of well-designed offices. Although most businesses increasingly concern themselves with information security, they rarely stop to rethink their office security to avert physical breaches. As a result, disgruntled employees, protesters, and malicious individuals may perform acts that can adversely impact: 

  • High-ranking executives,  
  • Company assets,  
  • Client files,  
  • Confidential data or all of the above. 

Unlike what some may believe, the physical security of devices is as vital as the information held within. Yes, hackers can access your work environment to a certain degree. Nevertheless, they cannot remotely access the immediate company vicinity, thereby inflicting permanent damage. If the latter were to happen and bad actors find their way in and around a company’s premises, the results can be devastating. So, let us explore more. 

What Is Office Security Exactly?

Succinctly, office security comprises securing access to company equipment, facilities, and resources. Further, it means introducing measures to keep unauthorised personnel away 

Typically, it is considered that malicious actors have compromised office security when property and personnel are threatened in any way.  

Overall, office security entails 

  • Detective measures: alerting security guards to threats of potential intrusions, such as using video surveillance, 
  • Protective measures: preventing intrusions from taking place, the likes of access control 
  • Deterrent measures: discouraging bad actors, as in using physical barriers and security lighting. 

Coupled together, these three types of actions can significantly decrease the risk of physical breaches. Conversely, the absence of a single of these elements can disrupt the workflow of executives and their staff ― and even put them in harm’s way. 

But equally important, office security usually starts in the company’s parking lot and surroundings. Those intending to harm the company in any way often have full access to its vicinity. In fact, many security teams fail to address the importance of surveilling the parking space and nearby buildings that can be used in an impending attack. 

Yet, arguably the essential aspect of office security lies in the security guards. They are the ones who regularly monitor and act upon the signals obtained from cameras, detectors, and other equipment. In fact, they are primarily in charge of physically inspecting individuals entering and exiting.  

office security

In addition, adequately trained security guards need to be able to read psychological and corporeal signs in bad actors. To name a few, these may include: 

  • Sweating and blushing, 
  • Avoiding eye contact, 
  • Fidgeting, 
  • Pacing or swaying, and 
  • Leaning. 

A complacent security guard may ignore these signs that could be an indication of ongoing criminal activity. 

Hostile Terminations and Threat Assessment

Another critical point while considering office security relates to hostile terminations. It is something that can quickly turn into the proverbial nightmare for company leaders. In this case, we recommend hiring an experienced and trained security team to deal with potentially disgruntled employees well before the company delivers the termination letter.  

Furthermore, a skilled executive protection team will know to conduct a threat assessment and evaluate whether the person in question could pose a danger. That is why prevention is much more valuable and practical than merely reacting after the fact. For instance, the EP team’s threat assessor could suggest remotely terminating a potentially aggressive employee instead of in person. 

Additional advice could include: 

  • Making the termination as respectful, thoughtful, and safe as possible, by also having security staff pose as visual deterrents, 
  • Arranging for the termination to occur in the early to late afternoon mid-week in an area that does not entail parading the employee through the work site after the layoff occurs. 

By considering these items, the company ensures fewer people are present if the employee turns violent. Secondly, the worker will suffer less embarrassment after exiting the building or going to their desk to collect their belongings. Thirdly, the employee’s coworkers will pay less attention to the situation due to a certain physical distance. 

In conclusion, the security team needs to enact specific post-termination measures. For instance, revoking passwords and access codes would be the first step. In addition, it could be necessary to change locks to which they had access. Last but not least, the protective staff would have to keep monitoring the company surroundings for future contact by the former employee. 

By implementing these and other safeguards, the security team ensures optimal office security. 

The Role of CCTV in Office Security

The abbreviation CCTV stands for closed-circuit television. However, the general population commonly refer to it as video surveillance. Notably, the phrase “closed-circuit” relates to transmitting broadcasts to a limited (or closed) number of monitors. This is unlike regular television, which is broadcast to the whole public.  

On our point, the positive effects of CCTV are many and various. From increased public safety to improved office security, this equipment is a cornerstone of a sense of safety in any enterprise, large or small. Moreover, with more than one million CCTV cameras in Australia presently, security experts expect these numbers to rise, increasing the peace of mind of executives and their employees. 

Although seemingly expensive at first sight, this type of video surveillance can produce the most tangible evidence should the need arise. But most importantly, CCTV cameras afford 24-hour-a-day monitoring outside and inside a residence or company headquarters. This way, even if the security staff do not notice a crime instantly, they can utilise the camera footage subsequently. 

However, we advise using this type of video surveillance alongside other equipment. This includes fire alarms, intrusion detectors, and other measures of protection.  

In the words of security author Dale L. June, “Overlapping and integrating the systems increases the capability of any particular portion to support another, extending and increasing the effectiveness of the whole system. For example, the lights and cameras instantly activate and trace the movements of the violator in whatever sector an alarm is activated.” 

office security

How Office Design Promotes Security

Placing the executive’s office door close to the entrance is not the same as putting it in a harder-to-reach place inside the building. Distance matters greatly in this regard. The time it takes to arrive at the company leader’s immediate surroundings does play a role in protecting them, as it would take a malicious individual longer to reach them and inflict harm. In the meantime, the relevant security staff could react.  

Still, this is only one aspect of security. 

Additionally, “protectee insulation” should play a significant role. It entails erecting barriers and introducing procedures between the intruder and the targeted executive. In simple terms, it could mean having a counter to separate the reception area from the business section.  

Equally important, it promotes security when designing the office in a manner to have CCTV cameras in stairwells, elevators, and above main doors leading into the corporate building 

As we know all too well in the security industry, design matters, but largely for different reasons than in other sectors. 

In Conclusion

All in all, office security is a topic that continues to attract attention in corporate circles. As a result, companies seek to find ways to protect their assets, employees, and executives, whether it be in response to disgruntled workers, hostile terminations, or violent protesters. 

To ensure office security in a constantly changing work environment, a company needs to: 

  • Implement protective, deterrent, and detective measures, 
  • Mount CCTV cameras in the most relevant areas, 
  • Design the office in a manner consistent with optimal safety, and 
  • Hire a security team to conduct threat assessments and put all necessary measures in place. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched office security services.  

Vulnerability Assessment – The What, How, and When

A vulnerability assessment ― also known as threat and vulnerability assessment (TVRA) ― evaluates existing security programs, identifies vulnerabilities, and provides recommendations on how to manage them. In the field of executive protection, it is a standard tool that protective agents and teams use when a principal’s family moves into or takes over a residence, among other things. 

Overall, proficient protective staff use TVRA to prevent and predict an emergency before it arises. If the principal needs to call in their security team to report an issue ― the vulnerability assessment has already failed. The reason is that it should have anticipated the problem and not allowed for it to occur. Therefore, a vulnerability assessment entails protecting the principal and their: 

  • Family, 
  • Property, and 
  • Business interests and business secrets. 

Using this tool, the security team gains detailed knowledge of the outhouses, buildings, vehicles, garages, entrances and exits. In addition, protective agents can also utilise it to better understand the formation of inner and outer perimeters and ascertain potential perimeter/cordon weaknesses.  

As a detailed, in-depth tool employed by professionally trained personnel, a vulnerability assessment centres around establishing the facts. More importantly, it provides the basis for planning an operation and introducing deterrents. 

Unlike a risk assessment, which primarily serves to do plenty of guesswork about something that may happen, a threat and vulnerability assessment focuses on threats that someone has made or problems that undoubtedly exist (but have yet to escalate). 

In a nutshell, the team leader will scrutinise worst-case scenarios and share them with all protective staff members. Also, there may be some elements of the assessment which could cause concern to the principal. Still, it is important to be transparent with the report and ensuing advice. Full transparency will provide the principal insight into why certain recommendations are being made. It is then up to them to decide if they wish to implement them.  

vulnerability assessment 1

Asking the Right Questions for a Vulnerability Assessment

As with any other type of evaluation, it is crucial to ask the right questions. Secondly, the protective staff must thoroughly assess internal and external variables 

According to security expert and longtime CP practitioner Kevin Horak, there are several questions that protective teams should consider while developing a vulnerability assessment: 

  • Have threats been made? 
  • What would potentially happen if these threats were successful? 
  • Can the threat change? How many threats are there, and how do they impact the principal’s daily life? 
  • Who is the principal: What is their line of work and professional life, and what is their public status? 
  • What are the principal’s assets, such as residences, vehicles, and offices? 
  • Who else is affected by threats and vulnerabilities? 
  • What is the medical history of the principal? 

It may be especially critical to find answers to these questions when the principal’s family relocates. They ― the principal, their family, and their entourage ― may be particularly susceptible to assaults or attacks during this time.  

Thus, it is vitally important to secure the vicinity before they arrive at the new location. For instance, it can be helpful to check the surrounding roads and establish the potentially dangerous hotspots in the area.  

In less regulated corners of the world, including some regions in Southeast Asia, it could prove invaluable for the security team to: 

  • Collect sufficient local connections, 
  • Establish if the principal has a good relationship with the local authorities and law enforcement, and 
  • Verify if the local community has a favourable view of the principal, their associates, employees, family members, etc. 

These considerations may not necessarily apply to most westernised nations. Yet, it certainly makes sense to explore the three above items when visiting or staying in less safe areas of places like Indonesia. 

Security Awareness

While conducting a vulnerability assessment, the executive protection team needs to have full access to information that has the potential to endanger the principal. However, sometimes it is challenging to establish what kind of details could prove excessive. Thus, we recommend signing a written agreement that obliges the protective staff or security company to not share the obtained information with third parties. This document is also known as a Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA. These are common practice within the security industry when working with a family office or corporates. 

By doing so, the EP team can have access to a variety of data that could help improve the security of the principal. Still, some principals may be hesitant to share this information. At this point, it is vital to note that the executive’s security also depends on their action or inaction. Further, it partially depends on their family, staff, close associates, and employees. 

Unfortunately, some protective agents neglect this fact, mistakenly believing that they are the only responsible actors. Thus, they cater to the principal’s actual or perceived needs (and threats) as if they were equally important. 

For instance, suppose a principal requests the protection team leave them alone in a neighbourhood with questionable safety. In this case, it is the responsibility of the EP team to attempt to indicate otherwise. If the principal is persistent in this request, there are ways in which protection can be provided other than overtly. In fact, either covert protective surveillance should be considered in this case or some form of proximity cover. 

In other words, the principal and their entourage can significantly enhance the efforts of the protective team by taking precautions. Thus, the individual’s safety also depends on their own security awareness. 

vulnerability assessment 2

The Takeaways

It’s unlikely that too many enterprise executives and HNWIs would look down on the practice of conducting a TVRA. It can seem like something that consumes plenty of time that the protective staff could have otherwise invested in “actually protecting the principal.” However, this cannot be farther from the truth. The vulnerability assessment itself is part of “actually protecting the principal” and sets a road map for security to follow and cover.  

As Kevin Horak put it in his Practical Guide to the Close Protection Industry, “A good threat assessor must have the ability to communicate with the principal as well as other authorities and must handle all situations and communications with tact and absolute discretion.”  

Ultimately, the role of a vulnerability assessment is to identify weak spots and provide recommendations on how to manage them. For example, suppose the security team gains no insight into the daily workings of the principal, their business, residence, and family. In that case, one cannot realistically expect them to complete their assignments to the best of their abilities. 

Simply put, protection is a two-way street that requires buy-in from both the protector and the protectees. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched threat and vulnerability assessment services.  

Risk and Security Management in Australia 

People often hear in the news how a public event’s security went sideways. From time to time, we even read that protective agents did something wrong while on an assignment. However, we rarely get a chance to see in the media how risk and security management (sometimes known as security and risk management) measures helped protect a person, property, or company. As a result, the public seldom gains insight into the process behind ensuring safety for high-net-worth families and business executives.  

No wonder then that some people tend to look upon risk and security management as something they could do without. Psychologists call this phenomenon the negativity bias. Negativity bias is the notion that “something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.” 

We can find the negativity bias everywhere around us, in decision-making, attention, learning, memory ― and as part of risk considerations.  

For instance, if media audiences are fervently exposed to proof of how some politicians are corrupt, they will become rooted in their belief that all politicians are corrupt all the time. They will, however, miss contrary information that refutes this belief because it is positive and not readily available. 

Interestingly for the topic of risk and security management, some enterprise leaders could mistakenly conclude that their company does not need security measures just because they have read countless media reports of how numerous corporations have been successfully targeted by disgruntled workers, bad actors, protesters, or any number of malicious individuals.  

Notably, these same companies have been boasting about their risk and security management safeguards for years. Thus, some sceptics would inquire: Why even bother? 

So, how should you go about risk and security management in Australia? Do you genuinely need it, and why? 

Planning and Assessment: The Cornerstones of Actioning

Worryingly for corporations, as many as 41% of Australians feel unsafe at some point at work. This fear is present chiefly among females. Yet, high-level executives are not immune to this trend, while fear of violence has been linked to decreased productivity in companies. Fortunately, there is a way ― one of many ― for businesses to address this matter. 

First and foremost, risk and security management serves to identify security weaknesses and shortfalls. Consequently, this enables the security provider to deliver mitigation measures and strategies.  

But before doing anything, protective agents need to have a plan and assessment. However, if reliable information is not available, this affects the quality of both items. For instance, to enhance risk and security management measures, a security company or protective staff need to know everything there is to know about: 

  • Locations, timings, and meetings, 
  • Available assets, 
  • Budgets,  
  • Threats, 
  • Principal profile, and 
  • Staffing strength, involving the number, roles, capabilities, and training background of the protective staff in charge of the operation. 

Speaking of responsibilities, the team leader usually collects and consolidates information. Secondly, this person creates a solid plan and transforms it into an efficacious practical operation. By this, we mean that every member of the security team becomes clearly aware of their roles and responsibilities before the assignment starts. 

risk and security management

Levels of Protection

Plans exist to anticipate worst-case scenarios, not prevent them permanently. In other words, Mike Tyson famously remarked that “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Likewise, in the world of close protection, planning and assessment foresees the “punching in the mouth” and acts to forestall and mitigate the outcomes. 

In terms of assessments, the security team decides on the levels of protection that they will afford to the protectees. For instance, this could entail: 

  • Technical surveillance countermeasures,  
  • Electronic countermeasures,  
  • Armoured vehicles,  
  • Dedicated medical assistance (such as remote medical support), and 
  • Protection of residences and places of work. 

Similarly, some high-ranking officials and executives may require a more strategic approach, such as concentric circles of protection. This safeguarding method entails multiple physical layers of obstacles and security rings. In fact, concentric circles of protection are best known for their objective to dissuade, deter, and delay the assault on the client. 

At any rate, thorough planning and assessment prior to implementing or actioning the plan are critical to a well-executed operation.  

Training and Qualifications for Risk and Security Management

In Australia, as in most Western nations, it is necessary to attend training and obtain qualifications to provide this service. In fact, Certificate 4 is the minimum qualification for the provision of risk and security management services. However, more widely, hiring companies accept a diploma in security and risk management. 

As for the corporate area and multinational sectors, tertiary qualifications are helpful and result in providing state-of-the-art services. These may include bachelor’s or master’s degrees in risk and security management. For context, to obtain these qualifications, a protective agent must first attend courses and learn about: 

  • Coordinating security operations, 
  • Assessing security and risk management options, 
  • Managing quality customer services, people performance, and personal work priorities,  
  • Planning professional development, and  
  • Ensuring team effectiveness. 

The primary considerations concerning risk and security management in Australia stem from the country’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism. Apart from being familiar with this landmark document, a security risk specialist must maintain a high level of autonomy while evaluating the changing threat environment. 

For example, a high-net-worth individual may have been trapped in a corporate building due to protesters blocking the entrance and exits. We call this a “changing threat environment,” something that a plan and assessment must have considered ahead of the business meeting. 

Interestingly, however, risk and security management in the corporate environment does not solely depend on traditional hard security skills. In fact, commercial skills and experience are slowly starting to take the lead. 

According to some security authors, risk and security management has now begun incorporating areas such as disaster planning, business continuity, corporate and social responsibility, but also brand and reputation risk management — a reason more to get the team leader and other protection staff members involved. 

In Conclusion

Risk and security management comprises the ongoing process of identifying security risks. That is only the first step, while the second entails implementing plans to address them.  

According to different reports, it is evident that there is a need for increased safety in Australia due to a myriad of concerns. 

Reading the ASIAL Security Industry Licensing Report 2021, we may notice an increase of almost 4% in licensed security personnel for the past 12 months. Conversely, an Australian-based security index concluded that 36% of Australians feel unsafe during daylight hours. But even more worryingly, this number rises to 53% after dark.  

As expected, the citizens of Australia fear robbery, physical and sexual assaults, as well as terrorist attacks. These make up their biggest concerns.  

But moreover, as high-level members of society, enterprise directors and business executives may be frequently targeted by malicious actors inside and outside their organisations. 

Overall, chief executive officers are in charge of running companies, while security managers protect their immediate environment. But allow us to ask the obvious question here. What CEO would not wish for a trusted security expert skilled in operational resiliency by their side at critical moments? 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched risk and security management services. 

How a Close Protection Officer Keeps Executives Safe 

The general public holds many misconceptions pertaining to the close protection officer and the industry as a whole. For instance, some people scorn protective agents due to mistakes or oversights made by a small percentage of the workforce. 

Basing their assumptions on what they have seen or heard in movies or on TV, the general public usually lacks an understanding of the complexities of the job of a close protection officer. Thus, this article clarifies how CPOs help protect high-net-worth individuals, CEOs, families and other notable persons. 

The Changing Threat Landscape

In the age of COVID-19, when many countries are enforcing lockdowns, executives were not required to be present in the office. Thereby, their exposure to threat during commutes underwent a decline.  

Although COVID has altered the threat landscape to a certain degree, and for the better in terms of physical assaults, many western countries continue opening up, bringing the situation back to pre-COVID, but with some restrictions (such as face masks and disinfectants) and the return of attacks against high-ranking individuals. 

According to one study, respondents, who were made up of senior security leaders, stated that almost half of all physical incidents could have been prevented if only cybersecurity and physical security intelligence were synced in a way to allow the sharing of information. This data points to a conclusion that is all too evident: security is often a confluence of cyber and physical protection. 

Nevertheless, that is not to say that high-level executives face no threats any longer or that dangers exclusively lurk online. Conversely, it is true to assert that news of cyberattacks are dominating headlines, leading us to believe that enterprise leaders are as safe as ever. Although the former is accurate, many CEOs are upping their security budget nonetheless.  

According to the above study, as many as 24% of security leaders confirmed that their CEO and/or their family members received threats and/or were harmed while travelling or when working from their private residence. 

Selecting Small Teams

Fortunately, protective services have evolved to such high expertness that many business executives choose smaller, two-person or three-person teams. In fact, the advent of modern gear and improved tactics and procedures has proven invaluable, resulting in a review of the number of protective staff members. For example, instead of needing a team of 10+, CEOs can often now have the same level of protection with just two CPOs and security trained drivers, with the assistance of modern technology, communication devices and revised techniques. 

Note: According to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, phishing attacks have increased by 11 percent. Therefore, malicious actors are increasingly shifting to the online world, leaving many high-ranking individuals poorly aware of their immediate, physical surroundings.  

A similar subpar security mindset has led to accidents like the pieing of Qantas Airways chief executive Alan Joyce during a public address. Unfortunately, many top echelon directors tend to disregard the necessity for upping their security. 

On that note, a tried-and-true process that close protection officers use include: 

  • Anticipate – what could, would or might happen to jeopardise the place, person or thing receiving protection, 
  • Plan – the itinerary of the protectee, the means and method of protection provision, alternative plans and emergency contingencies, 
  • Prepare – by visiting and learning about the specific location or locations where protective services will be offered, including timings, exits and entrances, people, heating and air conditioning, facilities, parking, weather, etc. Essentially, this means conducting an “advance.” 

Notwithstanding the importance of hard skills, a close protection officer follows these three steps to help ensure high-end security services. 

Regulation, Training, and the Close Protection Officer

The negative reputation that afflicts most of the close protection field primarily stems from celebrity protection. This is primarily due to the nature of celebrities making a living off of being in the spotlight. This inherently brings often unwanted attention to the close protection officer or close protection team. Therein, some unqualified staff or those maintaining a particular “look” or “image” are often in charge of protecting the high-net-worth individual, singer, athlete, entertainer, etc.  

Incidentally, the celebrities with such protective staff are extensively televised and reach the general population as the model of what it means to be a CPO. 

Still, plenty of positive change has ensued over the years, including in 2021, when the close protection industry has made significant leaps to regulate the field of protective services, at least within the United States.  

Similarly, the United Kingdom has regulated the provision of physical security services by requiring individuals to obtain a Security Industry Authority licence to work as security operatives. In fact, the UK licencing process entails five types of manned guarding licences: 

  • Close protection, 
  • Cash and valuables in transit, 
  • Door supervision, 
  • Public space surveillance, and 
  • Security guard. 

Australia’s Laws

Finally, depending on the jurisdiction, Australia has various licencing requirements for security personnel operating in its territory. Generally speaking, there are six security titles that individuals need to acquire through a lengthy process of certification, including: 

  • Unarmed guards, 
  • Bodyguards, 
  • Crowd controllers, 
  • Guard dog holders, 
  • Monitoring centre operators, and 
  • Armed guards. 

Within the Australian Qualifications Framework, Registered Training Organisations have the ability to offer certificate III in close protection operations. The qualification details are outlined within regulations and training programs. 

In order to gain this certification, a close protection officer operating in Australia needs to complete 14 units of competency, divided into core and elective units, including but not restricted to: 

  • Managing conflict and security risks through negotiation, 
  • Determining and implementing response to a security risk situation, 
  • Carrying out vehicle inspection, 
  • Coordinating provision of quality security services to clients, 
  • Providing advanced first aid, 
  • Providing advanced resuscitation, 
  • Controlling persons using empty hand techniques, 
  • Planning provision of close protection services, 
  • Implementing close protection services, 
  • Maintaining work health and safety, 
  • Responding effectively to behaviours of concern, 
  • Gathering, organising and presenting security information and documentation, 
  • Implementing security procedures in order to protect critical infrastructure and public assets, and 
  • Applying safe car driving behaviours. 

It is worth noting that being assessed and qualified does not always equate to being competent. Competency comes with ongoing experience and continued training. The above qualification should be seen as the minimum standard and a starting point for those without previous experience or close protection training in other government agencies.  

close protection officer

How CPOs Plan For Success

The public face of the close protection industry features most evidently the following two elements: suits and sunglasses. However, far away from the public’s eye, large swaths of the CPO’s job responsibilities lie in pre-planning and planning arrangements 

To bring home the point, security expert Dale L. June speaks to the importance of this component in the role of a close protection officer: 

“An advance man must plan for any eventuality! This means anticipating everything that could happen and plotting a course of action to respond. For a simple example, all carpeting and cables must be soundly taped down. Walkways must be inspected for cracks and loose stones that could cause the VIP to stumble or fall. In the extreme case, a protectee may be attacked or suffer a medical emergency.”  

In addition to planning, the modern CPO is a proficiently trained and sophisticated protector. This person relies primarily on preventing trouble rather than responding ad hoc in a crisis.  

Interestingly, according to a famous pyramidal structure that some security experts popularised, the close personal protection specialist ― i.e. close protection officer ― stands on top as the best-trained, educated professional. Next in line are: 

  • Bodyguards (limited training, one-person focused), 
  • Security officer (interacts with people and property, better trained than the security guard), and 
  • Security guard (protects property, limited training). 

Yet, this nomenclature must not be the determining factor of whether high-ranking executives hire individuals with specific titles but serves more as orientation. 

Last but not least, proficient CPOs carry with them a stature of dependability, demeanour and discretion that seeps into every aspect of their service ― including the relationship with the protectee or client. 

Guns and Good Service

In conclusion, let us address weapons and good customer service in the close protection industry.  

CPOs do not need to carry weapons in most cases, as their communication, de-escalation, and hand-to-hand combat skills may suffice, specifically in countries and regions where the carriage of weapons is prohibited.  

According to Australia’s strict gun laws, a person must have a firearm licence to use or possess a gun. In line with government policies, “handguns used in the private security industry must be registered to a cash-in-transit or armed guard security business.” As such they are not permitted for use within close protection at this time. 

Thus, HNWIs and CEOs travelling to Australia are best off hiring a local close protection officer or team. By doing so, they exponentially increase the security level in their surroundings and the immediate environment of their family and entourage.  

In many cases, foreign CPOs travelling to Australia may have difficulties adapting to or upholding local regulations. This will significantly hinder their ability to provide prolific security services, thereby adversely impacting the protectee. 

Similarly, high-profile individuals are increasingly seeking close protection services in Indonesia. In a country that some statistical offices label “moderately safe,” it is extremely difficult to obtain a gun permit, while some experts call the country “the most anti-gun nation in the world.” In fact, the Indonesian Police Force conducts thorough background checks and psychology tests for those wanting to obtain the permit to carry a gun. 

However, unlike Australia, high-risk areas still exist in some parts of Indonesia, inevitably requiring the carriage of firearms. In this sense, executives travelling through or visiting Indonesia may need to hire protective escorts accompanied by local armed forces, as this is sometimes the only way to safely conduct business in this diverse Asian country. 

In Conclusion

Speaking of services, the ultimate goal of the close protection officer is to be responsible for the safety, health, well-being and life of a person or corporate entity. Making “best friends” with the client often proves disadvantageous in a professional setting. And so it does in close protection. 

Accordingly, protectees expect the very best from their protection team. In fact, negligence, error, or omission have no place in the vocabulary or mindset of an experienced CPO. Ensuring that the protectee is healthy and comfortable while not even noticing the actual position of their protective staff members ― that is the ideal that many CPOs strive for. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched close protection officer and bodyguard services.  

Close Protection in Indonesia: Challenges and Resources 

Experts define assets in several ways. Usually, they think of them in relation to physical, economic, institutional, and human assets. As for the CP industry, local assets are seen as one of the most valuable items for a security team travelling to a foreign country with distinctive demands. If you were to require services of close protection in Indonesia, you would need to engage a proficient team of security specialists offering a wide range of services, including:  

  • Transport and logistics, 
  • Risk management, and 
  • Remote medicine. 

Apart from the obvious need for physical protection, foreigners travelling to Indonesia want to feel unimpeded by security concerns while conducting business. As the world’s fourth most populous nation and a member of the G-20, the Asian country has plenty on offer to investors looking to spend and grow their wealth. These include high-net-worth individuals and families, executives, and business leaders. 

Speaking of which, the Indonesian economy has been steadily rising over the last few years. In fact, some of the biggest industries in the Asian country include: 

  • Petroleum and natural gas, 
  • Textiles and apparel, 
  • Mining,  
  • Footwear, and others. 

In other words, plenty of room for foreigners and locals seeking to invest. Nevertheless, many high-profile individuals do not stop to consider their security and safety, with only a relatively small number hiring experienced teams. We see proof of this in numerous news reports and hear compelling stories in the security industry. 

For this and a plethora of other reasons, we shall explore close protection in Indonesia. In addition, this article will investigate how this type of service can benefit high-ranking business people and government officials alike. 

close protection in indonesia

Indonesia: The Center of Global Attention in 2022

The current year promises to be eventful for the Indonesians. Especially bearing in mind that G20 will be taking place there toward the end of the year. For those not too interested in the news, G20 comprises 20 countries representing more than 80% of the world’s GDP, 60% of the world population, and 75% of international trade. 

Simply put, the strategic multilateral platform will summon heads of state and governments of some of the most powerful countries. They shall travel to Indonesia to sign trade and financial arrangements, furthering their interests. Expectedly, hundreds of high-ranking government officials will gather in Bali, the Indonesian province and island. As a result, security forces will be on high alert. 

Moreover, the memories of the 2002 Bali bombings and the 2016 Jakarta shootings are fresh in the minds of many.  

Note: Another major event in Indonesia is this year’s motorcycle Grand Prix. It is an exquisite event and a constituent part of the motorcycle racing World Championship. In other words, a prominent happening that will attract dozens of thousands of racing lovers, including business executives and government officials. 

The gathering of such large crowds calls for increased vigilance to secure the immediate surroundings of some of the most influential people in attendance. In the event of traffic congestions and floods in some parts of Indonesia ― including Bali as the country’s most-visited island ― it may be easier for malicious actors to plan and execute kidnappings, assaults, and robberies. 

To combat this issue, high-profile individuals need to engage security teams with experience as: 

  • Security drivers, 
  • Risk management specialists, 
  • Close protection officers, and 
  • Security medics. 

A combination of these skillsets is bound to help make their stay in the Asian country safe and sound. 

Expat and Local Resources

In a globalised world, skilled workers and educated professionals are increasingly taking up positions outside their home country. These arrangements are set up either independently or by their employers. And Indonesia is no exception to this trend. 

Accordingly, numerous CEOs and enterprise leaders travel to Indonesia to conduct business. Furthermore, many have now settled there, mainly in the capital city of Jakarta. According to local authorities, around 350,000 expatriates live in Indonesia, with approximately 20,000 Australians and 10,000 Americans. 

A considerable number works in the sectors we described above. But most importantly ― while living or staying in this Asian nation ― one must consider their physical security, especially those working for foreign companies with branches in Indonesia. These individuals are particularly vulnerable to assaults, attacks, and robberies of all kinds. 

Conversely, many expats work for security companies in Indonesia. In fact, some estimates suggest that more than 100 safety and security companies operate in the country. However, not all of them are well-versed in the art of close protection in Indonesia. Therefore, identifying a firm that has access to those trained in this space is imperative when travelling to the Asian nation.  

Economic Resources

Apart from being a significant exporter of natural gas and crude petroleum, Indonesia is one of the world’s leading suppliers of coffee, cocoa, rubber, and palm oil. With its manufacturing sector contributing to 20% of GDP, the government intends to propel Indonesia into the top 10 largest economies globally by 2030.  

These are only some of the economic resources and sectors that attract foreign investments and companies. For instance, as the refinery production has been under control by the government-owned petroleum company Pertamina, foreign oil companies operate as part of a production-sharing formula. As per this arrangement, the Indonesian government remains the sole owner of the oil, while foreign companies act as contractors who provide the necessary capital. 

In addition, private domestic and foreign banks operating in Indonesia are among the most suitable Asian countries to invest in and grow the wealth of HNWIs, executives, and business leaders. In fact, with more than 120 commercial banks, there are plenty of growth opportunities. 

close protection in indonesia

The Challenges of Providing Close Protection in Indonesia

Switching back to delivering close protection in Indonesia, we want to address the security outlook in the country as a whole. Since the nation declared independence in 1945, it has been mainly focused on internal security issues. These include, but are not restricted to: 

  • Secession, 
  • Communal and religious violence, 
  • Ideological tension, and 
  • Political conflict among the elites. 

The four issues produce a substantial impact on internal order and political stability. In 2016, an alleged Islamic State group claimed the lives of an Indonesian and a Canadian in the capital of Jakarta. What’s more, 20 people were also injured, including an Austrian, German, Algerian, and a Dutchman. The series of shootings and explosions took place partially in a shopping area popular among foreigners and close to the United Nations offices. 

It is unclear whether the foreigners, in particular, were on the receiving end of any protective services. However, what is clear is that the challenges of providing close protection in Indonesia are many and various. From terrorism to internal conflict, foreigners and locals find themselves almost equally exposed to the dangers present in the Asian nation of 273 million. 

The Reliability and Dependability of Personnel

It is always challenging to come by protective agents who will meet all the security needs of the principal. The person receiving protection expects to be able to rely on the security staff at all times. For example, the protective agent needs to stand in the proper position and be responsive for all possible situations ― and not enjoy a cup of coffee in a nearby restaurant while the executive conducts business in a corporate office. 

In addition, they must attempt to blend into their surroundings but also have some control over it, discreetly scanning for any potential threats. For example, if the principal enters a shop to buy groceries, the security staff does not need to necessarily follow them everywhere. The risk and principal will dictate the level of proximity of the protection staff.  

In any case, we recommend engaging a multi-gender security team so that either females or males can be close in all situations, including apartments, restrooms, etc. 

Furthermore, the Principal, i.e., client, wants to be confident that the protective staff is ready to implement assignments ― that do not impede the principal’s safety, that is. Because, after all, the well-being of the client comes first. 

As one protection expert notes: “Clients like to know that assigned tasks will be carried out to their satisfaction, without any hesitation or lapse of confidence.” 

Especially in Indonesia, it is vital to know who you are hiring and why. Therefore, reliability plays a crucial role in the process, particularly in a climate where many presumed protective agents claim to be someone they are certainly not. 

Communication Challenges

On a similar note, the security staff needs to be well versed in the art of communication. In this instance, it is not only necessary to have CPOs who are proficient in using words to de-escalate. As a matter of fact, the protective agents must know how to read expression, posture, and tone of voice to derive meaning. 

Therefore, they should comprehend this information to best respond in certain situations, especially those that require de-escalation. In fact, the security staff needs to attend proper training to learn how to talk down a potential attacker. 

Within major built-up areas, telecommunications tend to be semi-reliable. On that note, messaging services are utilised commonly in Indonesia due to low costs. In addition, floods and other natural disasters can also affect communication channels while operating in Indonesia. However, most people work across multiple networks to ensure continued access.  

Further, the disruption of electricity provision implies that protective agents need to use a satellite phone. In Indonesia, there are no restrictions on satellite phones. Hence, we highly recommend that CP teams or personnel carry one, especially when operating outside of major cities. 

More worryingly, however, the frequent power cuts can leave some cities in darkness during long periods. All this can promote the conditions for jeopardising the security and safety of the protectee, their entourage, and their family. 

To say the least, the country is facing various issues that influence the provision of close protection in Indonesia. Communication challenges are only one among many. 

Governmental and Administrative Challenges

According to one report by the Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo, five major issues continue to plague Indonesia due to poor regulation, social unpredictability, and other issues: 

  • Role of the state and government vis-à-vis the people, 
  • Capacity and resources available to the Indonesian government, 
  • Separation of powers between the administration, judiciary, and legislature, and how they operate internally, 
  • Manner in which the political system functions, and 
  • Relationship between state and markets in Indonesia. 

All these issues serve as destabilising factors of the situation on the ground. Yet, the proclaimed goal of the government’s decentralisation efforts since 2000 was to decrease corruption in governmental institutions. Regardless, Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index ranked Indonesia 102th out of 180 countries, a drop from 96 in 2019. 

Corruption specifically impacts how the country’s justice and civil service sectors operate. Furthermore, the complex bureaucracy and unpredictable regulatory and legal environment tend to adversely affect the country’s locals, expats, and people visiting Indonesia for a short period. Expectedly, those offering close protection in Indonesia need to bear all this information in mind to plan for contingencies and corrupt officials who may want to take advantage of the principal. This is another argument as to why it is so important to utilise a quality local team specialising in close protection in Indonesia.  

close protection in indonesia

Climate Challenges

One of the biggest challenges facing Indonesia pertains to environmental conditions. In 2020, Indonesia ranked 9th out of 106 countries with the worst air quality in the Air Quality Index. A factor to consider for principals with respiratory or health issues affected by this. This is largely due to the heavy use of transportation by such a large population. However, additional factors such as industrial use of fossil fuels and volcano activity, impact the environmental conditions as well. 

With an exceptionally varied topography, climate, and geography, the Asian nation is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. These include extreme events like floods and long-term changes, including shifts in rainfall patterns, increasing temperature, and sea-level rise. 

For instance, Jakarta has a high risk of flood as more than 40% of the capital city is situated below sea level. According to one report, “Another source of flood hazard is due to the 13 rivers that pass through the area. Different low-lying parts of the city experience flooding on an annual basis resulting in disruption of local economic and social activities.” 

Flooding significantly impacts road movements. Not only does the actual water create a safety risk. But it leads to large amounts of congestion on already overcrowded roads. Information such as this is valuable while doing close protection in Indonesia. Proficient protective agents know how to constantly obtain the latest updates, including meteorological data.  

By meticulously reading the news in search of potential threats to their client, the close protection officer tries to predict adverse events and respond to them appropriately. 

Road Challenges

In terms of its road infrastructure, Indonesia ranks 60th out of 138 economies, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. An unsatisfactory ranking, the poor state of its roads contributes significantly to how the country functions ― including its business sector. 

Many categories of the population experience trouble driving around and working properly. Likewise, HNWIs and executives are not exempt. Notably, foreign investors sometimes hesitate to invest in Indonesia. The reason being high logistics and transportation costs resulting from poor road infrastructure. In fact, the state of the country’s roads also has the potential of endangering the security of people. 

Besides, Indonesia does not have a sufficient number of roads, airports, harbours, and bridges, while the existing infrastructure is weak. Therefore, protective agents must consider this while planning transportation and logistics. 

In Conclusion

The problems that Indonesians and foreigners experience whilst living or working there are manifold. Thus, it is up to the close protection industry to offer creative solutions that take into consideration all the variables. From natural disasters to political unrest, and other relevant elements of day-to-day life in the Asian nation. 

Finally, we hope this article has helped shed light on the complexity of doing close protection in Indonesia. Furthermore, it is worth stressing that local quality teams are probably the number one asset in delivering state-of-the-art CP services. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by delivering unmatched close protection in Indonesia.