C Suites at Home and on the Road

June 1, 2009
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Mobility and always keeping in touch are key services wanted by CEOs for their home, second homes and vacation estates. They can look in through a Web-based connection. Photo courtesy of Protection One


The biggest 100 Forbes-listed companies spent an average of $29,300 per firm for personal and home security and $109,800 for personal use of corporate aircraft, the latter often security justified.
     
One example: Raytheon’s CEO received $491,000 worth of perks that included use of the company jet and a Raytheon-leased car, home security services, and travel costs.
     
Enterprises, their security operations and outside security services today are more involved in providing special protection for the CEO and other designated executives. There are also tax incentives. If a company has a bona fide security program in place for an executive, then the Standard Industry Fare Level or SIFL rate for that executive drops from 400 percent to 200 percent. To qualify, the security program must be designed by a third party and have 24/7 security measures appropriate to the risks involved, which may include physical executive protection, home security systems, reinforced limos and other measures.


Security systems can interface into a CEO’s home entertainment and home environmental systems with the ability to display security video in a split screen display. Photo courtesy of ADT Custom Home Division

LUXURY HOME SECURITY

At its basic, there are home security systems – often designed for luxury and second homes and with more bells and whistles than a typical resident installation – and executive protection on a routine basis or instituted when a C Suite person goes on the road.
     
Many top executives travel extensively and often want to access their home security remotely. Another key feature is security video and the expanded ability to access lighting, security and video surveillance remotely through a Web browser or energized PDA. Another optional feature allows the executive to record the cameras to a hard drive.
     
Sophisticated systems in installations everywhere now can link security and home control panels with lighting, residential video surveillance, whole house audio/video systems, home theaters, computer networks, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, environmental sensors that detect smoke, carbon monoxide, natural gas, basement moisture and much more.
     
Security monitoring companies that install have luxury home staff members who spend more time with executives to better understand their specific and expanded needs. Jim Boots, vice president of residential sales at Protection One, said, “While the approach is similar to any prospect, there most often are more extensive security needs and the requirement to conduct a more detailed analysis. How do they use the home? How often is there travel? Is there a second home or a vacation home? There is a need to factor in the family, staff, involved security personnel as well as a walk through.”

MORE EXTERIOR VIDEO

Boots added that in a more complete and layered approach, “There is more exterior video, often around the full perimeter, as well as more remote access into the home’s security system.”
     
Tim McKinney, director of the custom homes division at ADT Security Services, sees video as a major security system driver for C Suite homes. “It’s also a great opportunity for second homes and vacation homes where the executive can look in remotely.”
     
There is also the mobility issue.
     
For example, Protection One has what it calls e-Secure, a Web-based and text message-based home security service. Customers have convenient access to their own home security systems, even when they’re away. The service allows subscribers to monitor and control their security systems using any Internet-connected computer, PDA or text-enabled cell phone and delivers real-time notifications of important events via e-mails or text messages.
     
In addition, the service provides notifications for non-alarm events such as the opening of medicine cabinet doors, pool gates, gun cabinets, or if other dangerous areas are accessed. There are alerts for environmental accidents such as water leaks and temperature extremes, which may damage valuables or hurt pets.
     
The bottom line, said McKinney, “Broadband to and throughout the home makes a difference to this type of homeowner.” It empowers; it’s speedy; and allows for a diversity of system integration and in-home and mobile displays.

Observed Boots, “For much larger homes for CEOs and University presidents, they will have wings and different levels of the home. So zoning is very important to have the ability to arm the basement and others to handle diverse living levels. There could also be safe rooms and panic buttons throughout a home facility.”
     
In addition, there always is the opportunity for security systems to tie into home automation panels.


HIGH QUALITY SERVICE

But, beyond the technologies, McKinney believes it is essential to provide a high quality service experience. His firm, for example, has specially trained incident and dispatch personnel who provide live answers to any client need 24/7. “It’s a matter of the high service level that makes a difference for luxury home security services.”
     
Michael McCann, the former chief of security of the United Nations, and who now heads McCann Protective Services in New York, has some additional advice for security directors advising the C Suite folks on home security.
     
“If the executive is undergoing home renovation, make sure that all security video cameras are in gear and that the household employs a sign-in system for all those entering the home. Visitors should not be left to wander the premises unescorted, and should always have an employee with them. It is vital to convey a sense of ‘serious’ security to those who have access to private areas and who have become familiar with the executive’s routine. If anyone is ‘thinking’ about taking advantage, they’ll know there’s a record and picture of them which will make them think twice before engaging in any problem.”


MAKE EMERGENCY PLAN

McCann added, “Whether facing terrorism threats or extreme weather emergencies, it is of paramount importance that each household develop its own personal escape plan in the event of an emergency. The enterprise security officer or a third-party can draft a plan for family and employees and ensure that everyone knows what the plan is, and keeps a copy of it with them.”
     
Among questions for the top executive to ask: Do you have a brother or sister who lives 30 miles outside of your city?  Is there a close family friend who lives outside the city whose home could be your family’s meeting ground?  Do you have a vacation home that can be used as a meeting point?  Commented McCann, “Depending on the nature and scope of the crisis, it’s prudent to pre-determine a place outside of the CEO’s home city where the family can congregate.”
     
He also suggested that security or the CEO’s staff create multiple “go bags” that includes essentials such as extra eyeglasses, house keys, a small amount of cash, that emergency plan, a spare credit card, prescription medications, whistle, a pair of comfortable shoes or sneakers, portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, and a three-day supply of food and water.


EXECUTIVE PROTECTION

There are numerous large, customized and temporary sources for executive protection services.
     
Many chief security officers have U.S.-based relationships as well as executive protection firms in other countries in which the CEO travels.
     
There also is common sense training of the CEO and his or her family that can pay dividends. One area is defensive driving. There have been incidents, especially in the northeast, in which CEOs have been tracked and threatened in their vehicle as well as challenges driving overseas.
     
During Michael McCann’s tenure as United Nations’ security chief, and running an executive protection firm, he has witnessed every conceivable driving mishap by executives and diplomats. He has developed a top ten mistakes driving business executives make. “Effective security precautions for driving require a conscious awareness of one’s environment, as well as the need to exercise advance planning, prudence, judgment and common sense. This is especially true where the traveler must acclimate to different cultures, customs and laws.  People driving abroad on business, or in unfamiliar routes here in the United States, should chart their travel ahead of time – or seek help from their security executive -- to ensure that they drive on main roadways and avoid poorly lit streets where they may be vulnerable to predators.
The top ten mistakes business executives while driving are:
  1. Being Carjack Bait by Failing to Maintain Distance from Other Cars – Potential carjacking situations can be avoided by maintaining your car’s distance from other vehicles.  Do not stop directly behind the vehicle in front of you, and leave room to go around them even if you need to drive on the sidewalk or over the curb.  You want to be able to go around the car in front if the driver stops short.  With carjacking, the car in front often stops and the second car blocks you from the rear. 
  2. Driven to Rural Outposts – Preparation is key when driving in unfamiliar territory.  Be sure to maintain a steady course on highly populated major roadways.  Avoid driving on poorly lit streets, particularly when you are out of your normal element.  Your unsteady, unsure driving could attract predators.  You need to learn about region you’re driving in before you arrive.  Learn what areas are unsafe or unsavory at night.
  3. Stopping at Every Red Light – While it’s certainly not advisable to run a red light, it’s best to time your arrival at each intersection to meet a green light. Every moment that your car idles at a red light provides opportunity for predators to ambush you.
  4. Failure to Keep Vehicle Mechanically Fit and Not being “Tanked Up” -- If the CEO is driving his or her own car on business, it’s imperative that the vehicle be professionally maintained. If renting a car, opt for the newest models that are available. Make sure the car to filled up to the rim with a full tank of gas. Don’t wait until it is below a half a tank.
  5. Driving a Rolls When a Honda Will Do – While it’s an ego boost to drive a high status car, it’s also a red flag to criminals.  Avoid the “bling” when renting, leasing or buying automobiles for business travel, and ride reliable, high quality automobiles that won’t attract undue attention.
  6. Failure to Keep Safety Equipment Onboard – When driving, the CEO, his or her staff or corporate security should maintain a safe driving arsenal including flashlight, spare tire that’s not flat, jumper cables, first aid kit, maps, and a global positioning system. Always travel with a mobile telephone and a car charger.
  7. Parking in Dark Areas – A common mistake is to park a vehicle in the day time without thinking whether the parking area is remote and in an unlit area come evening.  Be sure to park where there are attendants nearby, and try to park where an attendant is on duty 24 hours a day.
  8. Failure to Check the Car and Back Seat before Entering the Vehicle – Predators like to hide in the back seat or any other roomy area in a vehicle that may be undetected.  Never leave a pocketbook, laptop, cell phone or attaché case on the front seat. Even if windows are closed, it’s a common practice for thieves to smash the window, reach into the vehicle and steal the purse or other personal belongings.
  9. Driving Solo Sans Strangers – Sometimes it is unavoidable to drive solo, but there is always safety in numbers. Whenever possible, advise the CEO to drive with a fellow passenger or two.
  10. Failure to Send SOS – If your CEO is being forced off the road, be sure to advise him or her to engage in defensive driving. Make noise, flash your lights, and find a well lit, populated place to pull into. Find out what shops are open light if coming home at night. Do not try to be smart and throw the car keys away so a carjacker can’t take the car.

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