Strengthening Defenses with Security Intelligence

12.06.2019

There’s so much you can do with the Internet—the good and the bad. Cybercrime is so ruthless that experts predict it will incur $6 trillion worth of damages by 2021. It is the largest threat to every company, and one of the toughest challenges of mankind, created by mankind, for mankind.

The evidence itself is in the numbers. Do you think nothing could be worse than drug trade, terrorism or human trafficking? According to Cisco, cybercrime will be more profitable than the biggest illegal drug trades in the world combined. Give it a few more years, and even the most savage syndicates will turn to cybercrime to strengthen their networks—if they haven’t already. Cybercriminals are always two steps ahead—who knows what they’re cooking now?

As a key person in an organization, you have the corporate responsibility to prioritize safety and security—of the employees, finances, and data down to the last detail. You do this through security intelligence, a smart approach to protect your organization from all threats possible.

What is security intelligence?

Security intelligence is the real-time collection, analysis, evaluation and response of data generated from an organization through users, software and IT infrastructure.

By intelligence, we mean information that holds relevant value to your organization. The ultimate goal of security intelligence is to give significant insight to identify, prevent or reduce threats regardless of the size of the organization.

You don’t just collect information in retrospect; you have to know what is going on right now in all nooks and crannies of your network. Then you gather data from every source within your network, so you can compare and see patterns. With analytics, you can perform behavioral profiling and determine false positives. As soon as you have the right intelligence, you present your findings in a concise approach to the top-level management of your organization.

In simple terms, the information provided by security intelligence is laid in front of you. You may not know it, but there may already be a breach of security as you speak—and you’ll never spot it without proper correlation and analysis of data.

How is security intelligence applied?

You’ve heard it many times, but what exactly does security intelligence do? What is it good for? How is it so beneficial?

Here a few ways on how you can apply security intelligence to your business:

Monitoring accounts

What are the odds of having a rogue employee? Even with pre-employment screening, an insider can be a threat. Security intelligence tracks the routine events of your users. It can look into activities and access permissions and alert you for any unusual behavior.

Detecting fraud

Your company’s customer service department is the highest risk vector for fraud. How many users comprise the call center? Imagine all of them having access to clients’ accounts, credit card details, and personal information. This is a serious security risk, but not all internal network monitoring systems can look into this specific network in real-time. Security intelligence, in comparison, can dive deep into this area and detect unusual activity suggestive of fraud.

Recovering compromised accounts

You want to prevent unauthorized access to your network at all times. However, the access itself is not preventable as the attacker enters all valid credentials of the original user. Security intelligence only detects the infiltration through changes in the routine events of the user’s login after the successful access. This will instantly alert your team so you can take immediate action.

How is security intelligence flexible?

Do you own a small business? Do you run a social enterprise? Security intelligence is not exclusive for business giants with a lot of resources, big budgets, and employees. Once you’re in business, there’s always competition.

With your competitors in the background, what can put your business at risk? Complacency.

And complacency opens the doors for security threats to break your defenses. Without security intelligence, you won’t even know there’s a breach going on already.

Open source intelligence and competitive intelligence are both beneficial for strategy-building and decision-making, but you still need security intelligence to protect your company from cybercrime. So whether you belong to a small or large-scale company, security intelligence is helpful.

There is no universal platform used for security intelligence; it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a complex process and the approach done by one organization may not be effective for your own. The good thing is that security intelligence is flexible, and there is room for configuration. You can modify it according to your company’s risk posture and weaknesses. Utilizing the right approach identifies both internal and external threat data and transforms them into threat intelligence, forming the basis for making security decisions.

How does security intelligence provide insight?

Not all companies have their own analysts to perform security intelligence. In many organizations, third-party providers comprising of security intelligence experts trained in IT security do the service. In both cases, what matters is the accuracy of the results from which you derive insight.

Collecting the right information—sifting the relevant data from the less significant ones—is crucial in security intelligence. Do you know how much data you hold in your organization? You’ll be surprised how much big data you have stored in your networks. How do you deal with the overload? Security intelligence can help you make sense of the big data. A comprehensive insight will let you look at the big picture and guide you to make the right security decisions.

There is a need to add layers of defense to your organization’s network. This reflects on how you secure your assets, including business data, IT infrastructure and intellectual property. In turn, your ability to secure all these will reflect your organization’s reputation.

Security intelligence is more defensive than it is offensive. Fortunately, this approach is within reach to any organization who takes security seriously. This matters because as you innovate, threats become more sophisticated. As you read, enemies may be breaching your organization’s defense layers right now—utilizing complex measures to infiltrate your network in ways you have never imagined. Can you stop them?


7 Questions on Person Background Checks answered

06.06.2019

Reading a random person’s resume is one thing, but doing a background search is another. For a company screening qualified job-hunters, running a person background checks is often the best and only measure to identify the best applicant of the bunch. By “best”, we not only refer to intelligence and experience, but a whole lot more.

1. What is a Background Check?

A background check is the process of investigating and gathering relevant information such as past or present employment, commercial experience, financial history and criminal records of a person or organization. In layman’s terms, background checking an individual involves digging through many documents and interviewing people to verify facts.

The result of a background check reveals information taken from different sources, such as, but not limited to:

● Schools
● Former employers
● Business interests
● Social security
● Credit history
● Criminal history

2. What is the Purpose of a Person Background Check?

The practice of background investigation extends throughout many industries to provide managers with insight and protect every industry’s best interests:

Recruitment

This is the biggest piece of the pie. Background checking is most availed by recruiters or hiring managers during employee screening. This is particularly true for very sensitive positions such as those belonging in the security, academic, medical, airline and banking industries. Even in the public sector, positions in law enforcement, military and finance need trust and confidence from higher authorities.

The main purpose of person background checks in the context of pre-employment screening is to find out an applicant’s weakness in character and health, and to spot security and safety risks. Any offense within the past work experience is a serious matter, especially for government positions. The ultimate goal of background investigation is to ensure that current employees in the company or organization remain safe and secure.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Background checking is also useful for other people, such as SME owners who want to get to know their prospective business partners, and landlords who want to ensure that their tenants have no criminal history.

Firearm License

Depending on the country, certain affiliations or interests also require background checking. In the US, the Brady Bill requires those who intend to buy firearms and explosives to undergo criminal checks first.

Immigration and Citizenship

In light of issues on national security such as terrorism and drug trafficking, many states do a thorough background and derogatory check on all aliens who wish to enter their respective countries as workers, immigrants or refugees. This is to protect public welfare and minimize, if not eliminate, the threat of undesirable aliens.

3. Who Runs a Background Check?

Ideally, a government agency is the most qualified, unbiased provider of background checks. However, because of their own laws and regulations, not all countries may easily provide this kind of service to anyone who wishes to do an investigation.

For their convenience, companies may have their own private background investigators, but it is not uncommon to employ third-party providers to cross-check information about applicants. Most security companies that provide services like executive protection, business intelligence and fraud investigation also offer individual background checks.

4. How Much does a Background Check Cost?

The rates for requesting documents vary across countries and states. Records from offices like trial courts, professional bodies and motor-vehicular agencies range from $5 to $15, while federal criminal records may go up to $65. Meanwhile, sex offender databases are almost always free to use by the public for online criminal checks.

Private security firms who provide background reports will, of course, charge a premium fee for performing the investigation and gathering all the records. The rates also vary depending on the number of applicants and the extent of the background check as desired by the company. Retrieving records from international groups such as INTERPOL will also cost more considering the overhead costs and difficulty of acquiring information from an outside agency.

For an exact quote, security firms usually propose a plan tailored for a company’s needs and convenience.

5. Is It Essential for Companies to Perform Background Checks?

It’s alarming how many jobseekers misrepresent information in their resumes. According to a 2015 TIME magazine article, more than half of recruitment specialists detect lies on applicant resumes.

Because of bad hire, employers end up in a catastrophic situation—losing their profit, reputation and time. This is a real scenario in Poland, where wrong selection of employees forced 77% of companies to re-recruit due to issues on dishonesty, inefficiency, tardiness and even theft.

Rather than losing thousands or millions of dollars in repeating the recruitment process, why not make it a protocol to perform routine background checking on all prospective applicants? If you’re a business owner, it’s a small price to pay when you know you’re hiring an applicant with a clean record.

While it is not required by law, background investigation has a lot of weight in employee selection. Human resource managers now use it as part of a rubric to gauge an applicant’s overall qualification for the job. In the long run, this will be beneficial for both the employer and employee.

6. How Long does a Background Check Take?

A typical background check will need 3-7 days to complete. For federal documents like FBI records in the US, it may take up to 30 days to generate a thorough check which justifies why they cost a lot more than other records.

The number of applicants and the extent of the investigation also affect how long a background investigation will take. An urgent background report will also demand a higher rate.

7. Does a Background Check Violate Privacy?

The disadvantage of background checking is the increased likelihood of employment discrimination, identity theft and workplace bullying which stems from the invasion of privacy.

While it is not illegal to perform background checks, it is best to check your country or state for applicable regulations regarding its practice. In almost all cases, companies ask the applicants for their consent to undergo person background checks as part of the selection process.

Despite the few unpopular notions and the intimidating process of background investigation, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

Are you a business, entrepreneur or hiring manager? Would you consider performing person background checks on your current and future employees? Let us know what you think.


Business Partner Compliance Checks

04.06.2019

Spotting Red Flags, Achieving Business Success

When you apply for a new job, the hiring officer will run a background check on. When you apply a loan from a bank, the manager will look at your credit history. When you visit another country, the immigration officer runs a derogatory check on you.

When you’re a business owner, you also need to know about business partner compliance checks.

For your business to grow, forging partnerships is imperative. Even small businesses need the services of other entities to achieve their own goals. The resulting alliance is a win-win strategy; all parties need to benefit from one another. If one or two partner fails in one aspect, the whole business will dwindle.

What is a Business Partner Compliance Check?

The term “business partner” is any commercial party with external business ties to the company. This includes, but not limited to, consortium partners, consultants, auditors, suppliers, contractors, distributors, sales agents and customers.

Can you imagine if any one of your business partners underdelivers? What if a consultant gives the wrong advice? How would you react to a supplier that provides substandard quality? Is there poor credit history among any of your partners?

For your business to thrive in a competitive world, these are valid concerns. When your partner, for instance, engages in illegal or improper conduct, you may be held liable as well. A company, whether how small or complex, needs to perform compliance screening on all its business partners.

A business partner compliance check is therefore a measure to verify compliance to all requirements as applicable by law. This concerns regulations and policies like money laundering, human trafficking and customs bribery. The extent of what laws should be followed depend on the country; the United States has The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 and the United Kingdom has the UK Bribery Act, for instance.

The goal of a business partner compliance check is to protect the company from potential liabilities and negative reputation. This procedure determines a risk before it becomes an actual problem.

There is no one-size-fits-all compliance check as companies utilize their own screening procedures or hire the services of a professional firm that specializes in these checks. Most of the time, companies exceed their country’s legal requirements for business partner compliance checks.

The Concept of Due Diligence

By definition, due diligence is the process of investigating any commercial entity before a major event or milestone, such as contract signing. Although the term is heavily used in legal contexts, it is a central concept in business partner compliance checks.

Through data collection, verification, and evaluation, you will be able to identify potential risks or red flags that should bear weight in your decision-making.

As a businessman or manager, you practice due diligence by investigating every aspect of a potential business partner. From the largest consortium partner down to the last customer—every business should look into its partner’s corporate responsibility, financial performance and client feedback.

The Business Partner Compliance Check vs Other Procedures

It is worthy to note that there are other measures to investigate a business partner: the business partner background check (or company background check), and the business partner integrity check.

The “Fishy” Business Partner

So what makes a shady business partner? Once you have the results of your compliance checks, here are common red flags that you should look out for:

● History of deception, bribery, corruption, money laundering, human trafficking, terrorism and other illegal acts

● Poor feedback from co-vendors, contractors or customers

● Refusal to comply with requirements and instructions

● Close ties with government officials resulting in unnecessary recommendations

● Non-transparency in financial transactions

● Failure to provide complete and correct invoices

● Ludicrous quotation for services or demanding advance payments

● Absurd proposed outcomes that seem “too good to be true”

The Benefits of Business Partner Compliance Checks

Performing business partner compliance checks may exhaust a lot of resources, but not without benefiting the company as a whole.

The advantages include:

● Proper management of business relationships through a structured and transparent approach

● Prompt risk classification allows for identification of potential problems that may arise when working the the business partner

● Effective use of an IT application process with compliance checks ensures transparency and efficiency of the results

No matter how financially exhausting and time-consuming this process is, companies see it as a wise investment. The benefits of a compliance check far outweigh its weaknesses. Can you imagine your business suffering from a standstill, or a huge drop in sales, or angry customers—because of one business partner who failed to do their part? It’s true that it takes years to build a reputation, and only minutes to shatter it. Even when you’re still starting, make it a point to perform routine compliance checks to all your potential business partners.

There are many consulting, auditing and security firms that specialize in business partner compliance checks. The rates vary across different countries and the extent of the compliance check. Many firms will be happy to personalize it as your own tool, specifically for your company’s needs and goals.


FAQs About Criminal Record Checks

14.03.2019

A bad hire is a liability. It is a waste of resources and a threat to the organization. According to the US Department of Labor in 2003, a bad hire costs the company about 30% of the employee’s salary in the first year. Losing thousands of dollars because of a single employee is no laughing matter. The figures are overwhelming, and no business wants to suffer because of a bad hire.

Although bad hires are not 100% preventable, you can significantly lower the risk of hiring the wrong candidate through criminal record checks. By conducting this check as part of your recruitment process, you can identify the applicants with a criminal history, and move on to interview those who passed the check.

A criminal record check is the process of obtaining information on a person’s criminal history which includes warrants, convictions, and arrests. This is most commonly used by human resource managers for recruitment.

HireRight estimates that in 2017, 85% of hiring managers spot false declarations on applicant resumes. What are the odds that one applicant or two has a criminal record? Criminals are now so elusive, and those with a past troubled record can be very evasive even when they have been off the hook.

You need to know why a criminal record check is so important today, and why you should do it as part of a comprehensive selection process. Here are frequently asked questions about criminal record checks:

“Are criminal record checks and person background checks the same?”

Both checks contain information on an individual’s criminal history or absence thereof.

However, criminal record checks are more comprehensive because they focus exclusively on criminal history. If you need an overview of an applicant’s overall background such as educational qualifications, past employment, credit history, and criminal records—a regular background check will do. If your concern is on the criminal history alone, a criminal record check will provide you with the information you need to look into the individual’s previous or current offenses.

“What is the significance of criminal record checks?”

Complacency is the silent killer of business.

You may think that no person with a criminal record will ever have the guts to apply for a job, but don’t be surprised if a criminal record check on one of your applicants generates a hit for workplace theft.

Through criminal record checks, you avoid employees with convictions like violence, theft, fraud, embezzlement and substance abuse. The goal is to determine any past or present criminal record that threatens your organization and employees. You need to prevent potential losses due to worker theft, and avoid lawsuits for negligent hiring and workplace violence. A safe workplace is the best workplace.

Conducting criminal record checks also speaks a lot about your company as far as recruitment is concerned. Do you do a routine check during the selection process? Do you repeat the check when offering a promotion to a current employee? Do you conduct a check every few years or so? Hiring and maintaining employees with zero criminal history mirrors the quality of employees, increases your company’s success, promotes your brand and magnifies your revenues.

“What are the limitations of criminal record checks?”

One disadvantage of criminal record checks is that some states do not disclose all information pertaining to criminal records. California, for example, only displays the convictions and not the arrests of the individual concerned. The extent of information disclosure depends on the policies of a certain country or state.

This is why it’s recommended to employ third-party experts in criminal record checks. If your company’s legal department is unable to obtain criminal record checks, trained investigators can do so on your behalf. Not only are they knowledgeable about where to get information, but they are trained to obtain records legally. They also have access to other resources that are otherwise not available to the public.

“What can you expect from criminal record checks?”

A criminal record check is an effective tool used by investigators and security experts to make sure that you practice reasonable care and due diligence in your selection process. Criminal record checks are so thorough, that you are able to get hold of information that a regular background check may not reveal.

A typical criminal background check starts with the person’s personal details, such as the complete name, aliases, physical description (height, weight, skin color, eye color) and distinct characteristics (moles, tattoos, scars). Results reveal all these details including outstanding warrants, convictions, arrests, and prison terms.

Investigators obtain records from courts, police and law enforcement agencies. They can also get information from international agencies such as that from INTERPOL to verify international warrants.

Once you have the information at hand, then you have the confidence to make an informed decision about the applicant’s chances of getting hired.

“Do I need to conduct criminal record checks?”

Small and medium enterprises need to protect their businesses as they can be an easy target for criminals to apply, believing that criminal record checks are too costly for small business owners. Although many countries allow their own people to conduct criminal record checks on themselves, these records do not often display the details of the offense committed, if any.

For large corporations, criminal record checks should not be neglected. A bigger company entails a bigger brand to protect, and an even bigger name to carry. It only takes one bad hire to tarnish the organization’s reputation and risk the safety of all employees.

If you run a business dealing with children or seniors, or operate a trade in health care, pharmaceuticals and financing, a criminal record check is an absolute necessity.
A simple criminal or police clearance from your local government is not enough. Rather, a comprehensive investigation by a trained security provider is essential. A thorough check will provide you with information not found in state databases, such as that from academic institutions, previous employers, professional and civic organizations, and other establishments for any record of misdemeanors.

Results of criminal record checks can be analyzed with findings of pre-employment screenings, person background checks, online dating background checks, and nanny background checks to gain a deeper insight on potential employees and their relationships with other people.

The cost of criminal record checks vary, starting from roughly $100 and may increase depending on factors such as the location where records are obtained, cost of records, the extent of the check, and difficulty of the investigation.

By now, you may be contemplating how much it will cost you to perform routine criminal record checks. The cost is quite steep, especially if you are still starting—but it’s a small price to pay. What do you get in exchange for the accuracy and reliability of criminal record checks? You get the best hires for your organization.


Six Reasons Why You Should Run Pre-Employment Screenings

03.02.2019

Pre-employment screening has become a standard procedure in the hiring process. A survey by HR.com and the National Association of Professional Background Screeners found out that 96% of employers run background checks on their applicants.

Your employees bring your company’s brand with them, and their work ethic speaks of your company’s reputation. If you belong to the 4% who doesn’t perform pre-employment screenings on applicants, perhaps the reasons below will convince you to do so:

1. Due diligence avoids liability.

Based on a friend’s recommendation, you hire a driver for your starting tourist services business without running a pre-employment screening. Days later, you both land at the local police department because of an accident involving the car driven by your employee. The police showed you his past records of driving under influence (DUI). He has a string of police records, and a history of refusing rehabilitation for his alcoholism.

Complacency breeds neglect, neglect breeds failure, failure breeds liability—and liability will cost you your business. By practicing due diligence in background-checking your applicants, you avoid liability.

2. Many applicants lie in their resumes.

According to a 2017 survey by CareerBuilder, 75% of hiring managers find false information in applicant resumes. Many jobseekers put a white lie or two in their previous work descriptions to make them sound more appealing, and some even go as far as fabricating their academic qualifications and certifications—with supporting documents that turn out to be fraudulently obtained.

So how do you sort out the truth from all the lies? You run a pre-employment screening, and look into the educational background, work experience and character references—and if there is one glaring inconsistency, go to the next applicant.

3. Employee theft is a real issue.

No one wants a theft for an employee, but it is a rampant problem. According to cFirst, 75% of employees steal at least one instance, 55% of these are managers, and 30% of business failures stem from workplace theft. Appalling, isn’t it? Even the Assocation of Certified Fraud Examiners say that businesses lose about 5% of total revenues every year due to employees stealing money and inventory.

Workplace theft also goes beyond cash and equipment as far as intellectual property is concerned, as in the case of employees or managers stealing a colleague’s idea such as manuscripts, drawings, proposals, videos and articles.

Running pre-employment screenings on all applicants filters out those with existing records on theft and fraud. Depending on the extent of the crime, your pre-employment screening provider can acquire records from the police, court and the federal bureau to look into the criminal history of the applicant. Even verification with an applicant’s former employer can reveal plenty of relevant information.

4. Drug use is prevalent.

Drug abuse in the workplace is disastrous—to the employees, business and the country. According to a 2011 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the United States lost around $740 billion due to crimes and diseases related to drug abuse.

Drug users become less productive at work and are a negative influence to their colleagues. They are also prone to involvement in other offenses due to their drug problem, such as workplace theft, violence and bullying.

Whether distribution, possession or actual use of drugs, no employer wants an employee slapped with any of these charges. Apart from pre-employment screening, the hiring process requires a mandatory medical exam that includes drug testing performed by recommended laboratories. In fact, many companies are now doing regular drug testing to maintain a drug-free workplace.

5. Bad hire has its consequences.

Hiring an employee without running a pre-employment check is a bad hiring practice, and it has its consequences. Take for example Zappos, a famous American shoe and clothing retailer: CEO Tony Hsieh once said that bad hires cost his company a whopping $100 million, according to Business Insider.

Mis-hires are actually more disastrous than what you think. An unqualified manager selects a team of his own, spawning bad habits and influencing other employees. When you take out the bad manager from the equation, should you also drag along the employees? Top-level executives and the human resource management should deal with this seriously. You don’t want to be dealing with bad hires, but it’s difficult to reset bad behaviors and make sure they don’t revert to their old ways. Employees may also suffer from a loss of morale.

In the end, the company hires another employee in place of the bad hire, but only after a more careful selection process. Re-recruitment may be beneficial, but definitely not when it’s done due to a mis-hire. Hiring people doesn’t come cheap—the average company in the UK spends around £3000 per hire.

6. Employees should be safe in their workplace.

The ultimate goal of pre-employment screenings is workplace safety—at all times, in all areas, for all the employees. An employee who encounters an injury resulting from a violent colleague, for instance, may hold the company liable. Depending on the country’s laws on workplace safety, additional charges may also be filed.

If you own a business, or belong to the top management of a corporation, you don’t want a sex offender walking freely in the hallway, or a overstaying foreign worker negotiating with clients in your behalf. All employees, from the top level down to the last worker in the hierarchy, should feel safe and protected from internal threats.

The Bottomline

Although pre-employment screening is not required in all countries, there are laws that protect the privacy of applicants. You can certainly run a background check on any of your employees, but there are legal ramifications especially when it is done without consent. In most cases, companies perform the pre-employment screening as a matter of risk management—and when they do, they do it with the applicant’s informed consent.

Most companies may not have the resources to perform pre-employement screenings their own, but there are background check providers who can do all the work. A basic pre-employment screening may cost more or less $200, but the final rate depends on the country or state, the extent of the check and the number of applicants to be screened.

What is a few hundred or even a thousand dollars for pre-employment screening, when you can prevent disasters worth millions of dollars due to a rogue employee or two? What is the time and effort spent in checking every employee’s background, when your mind is at peace knowing you’ve chosen the right people to run your company? Pre-employment screening protects your business’ best interests and makes sure your goals are met without compromising employee satisfaction.