Intelligence-related activities are commonly found within today’s global security programs. Information gleaned from these functions aids in the protection of people, physical assets, finances and intellectual property. 

These programs typically relate to prevention or mitigation of obvious and known risks routinely covered in global media. Often, the problems require an immediate or near-term operational response to threats or crises. These are important and valuable processes in support of an organization’s current or future strategic objectives. 

Intelligence activities do not always reside within the corporate security function, but are overseen by other business units. Multiple credible sources have published information in the past year on just this topic. Their combined research shows it is common to find only one-quarter of corporate intelligence teams sit within the CSO/security function. The remainder reside across other business units. 

Intelligence and counterintelligence activities support a wide range of critical and strategic business objectives. Reviewing all corporate intelligence sources regardless of where they reside in a company provides a more complete picture of risk for corporate decision-makers. Senior leaders require a wide range of assessments to reach informed conclusions. 

A broad view of people, organizations and geopolitical and societal dynamics surrounding business objectives is a good starting point for security leaders operating relevant intelligence programs. Next, consider predictive intelligence and proactive probable risk impact assessments that rely upon deeper analyses of wide-ranging issues. 

This approach should be tailored to address and support the security-related risk concerns of a wide range of individual functions within the organization. The target objective for security leaders is to ensure corporate security is aligned as a critical enterprise partner in the support of intelligence-driven decision-making. 

The low percentage of corporate intelligence teams residing solely within corporate security programs could signal that a significant majority of corporate security organizations are not currently viewed as strategic partners. To change this, security leaders should look closely at the underlying factors within their organizations that may contribute to the perception. Analysis of potential gaps in talent or program capabilities may offer an opportunity to enact change that will shift leadership’s view. 

Future security leaders can build on their current skills and competencies by continually gaining knowledge about the interconnectivity of their organizations. Innate curiosity and critical thinking skills will grow abilities to view disparate circumstances and events as having a combined, enterprise-wide effect. 

Intelligence, regardless of where it exists in an organization’s structure, is a valuable corporate asset. The ability to influence through collaboration with more than one source of intelligence can be more effective than ownership and control of just one function.