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Taming The Wild Frontier

taming the wild frontier

The development of the digital frontier has changed everything.

International borders mean less than they used to. Populations mingle and exchange ideas and ideology more openly than ever before. Domestic regulation has been exposed as ineffective against a global change on this scale. And risk has escalated at an explosive rate, in tandem with the growth of our digital footprints.

At the highest level, governments wrestle with how to secure tax revenues and privacy compliance from tech companies - who now hold the balance of power over social psychology. At the lowest levels, people struggle to digest an endless barrage of information, straining to discern truth from lies.

This frontier is wild. More so than the West in many ways, because it doesn't know geographical bounds and the damage which can be done puts both Peacemaker and Winchester in the shade. Our elections are pliable, our public health open to attack, our infrastructure a painted target on a range open to all. All of the structures upon which we rely are open to insider threats in ways unconceivable only a few years ago.

Nonetheless, it can be tamed.

"The creation of our modular Athena system has opened the door to structured, ethical, real-time vetting of staff at scale. We can dissect a digital and physical footprint, find the security risks and compromise exposure, and help establish welfare needs."​

Through ethical analysis of huge volumes of data, we can understand populations and implement behavioural change strategies to keep them safe from harm. We can educate, we can explain and, by doing so, we can empower individuals to reduce their own risk exposure.

Through real-time monitoring and the provision of unified research capacity, we can increase understanding of threats and threat actors. We can track the shape of narrative and identify early intervention points.

And through the use of PAEI (Publicly Available Electronic Information) we can automate the process of threat identification in recruitment, reducing exposure to harm and reinstating the ability to manage threats across their life cycle.

(As ever, definition is crucial - allowing us to tackle the creation of solutions in a structured, reliable way, while also giving us the agility to identify deviations from expected patterns and unknown risks much faster.)

The latter, the use of PAEI, is an area we have recently developed at SOCINT, having established ourselves in the former over the last few years.

The creation of our modular Athena system has opened the door to structured, ethical, real-time vetting of staff at scale. We can dissect a digital and physical footprint, find the security risks and compromise exposure, and help establish welfare needs - all the while capturing PAEI in an auditable format. Above all else, we have built this system on stringent legal and ethical principles, balancing the security needs of clients against the rights of the individual.

Risk used to be defined by the gun you were carrying and the gang you rode in with. In recent years it has been defined by credit status and, latterly, the tweets you sent as a teenager.

We have moved this forwards again, to make the process fit for purpose.

"Given that the shape of an insider threat has shifted with the wild frontier, opening everyone up to not just malicious but negligent and unintended risks, the ability to capture all three at the point of entry is essential in assuring risk across the public, private, and third sectors."​

Athena assesses where you live, your business interests, your digital footprint and exposure to breaches, your adverse media and public records. And the system can integrate any additional checks which are legal, ethical, and publicly available.

Vetting this way, in this environment, can not just be about understanding the individual. It must consider the whole risk landscape to create meaning in a wide terrain of endless information. It must also recognise that case-by-case needs define precisely how a new member of staff can be adequately supported to protect the interests of the business employing them.

Given that the shape of an insider threat has shifted with technological developments, opening everyone up to not just malicious but negligent and unintended risks, the ability to capture all three at the point of entry is essential in assuring risk across the public, private, and third sectors.

It can be tamed, this wild frontier. With the right expertise. With the right process and system. And with the right partnerships.

Reach out to me directly through LinkedIn, or contact us at SOCINT, and we can discuss how you can make a start, no matter how big or small your organisation is.

James.

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