protective intelligence

What Is Protective Intelligence?: Everything You Need to Know

Terrorism, riots, and ever-changing cyber-attacks. All represent growing concerns about security and safety in 2023. On the one hand, we have more information than ever to ensure people and places are safe. Yet, malicious parties find ever new and dangerous ways to threaten the public or businesses. That’s why protective intelligence has a key role to play in the modern security world. 

In this article, we’ll explain what this term means. You’ll discover what strategies and tools security teams use counter threats. And we’ll also explain some of the applications of protective intelligence in the real world. 

Protective Intelligence: A Brief Introduction

Protective intelligence is the process of managing threats before they happen. It’s a systematic process. And it requires in-depth experience in security.

It involves:

  • Gathering intelligence related to threats
  • Analyzing data and situations about threats
  • Actively risk-managing security threats

Protective intelligence plays a central role in any security and protection service. Many groups use this type of service. That includes government agencies, private corporations, high-profile individuals, and law enforcement.

The most important thing about protective intelligence is that it emphasizes proactive steps. In other words, it’s intended to preempt threats before they become real.

That makes it a valuable strategy to safeguard people, assets, and information. It keeps people safe from harm and assets and data safe from threats.

It helps protect business reputations and allows people and businesses to avoid interruption.

Protective Intelligence: The Key Components

Protective intelligence is a comprehensive strategy. Let’s break down the key components that form part of this service.

Information Gathering

The most crucial first step in any protective intelligence strategy is obtaining data. That involves collecting information from many sources. That might be human intelligence or IT monitoring, for example.

The goal is to gather as much high-quality and relevant data as possible about potential threats.

Threat Assessment

Once a protective intelligence team has gathered information, it’s time to analyze it. This is about threat assessment. That means sifting through data to spot potential risks.

During this analysis, a team will establish the likelihood and impact of any threat. They will also work fast to determine whether the danger is imminent.

This step is vital. There may be thousands of information about risks. Any team must rank that data to focus on the most critical threats.

Risk Management

Once a team has evaluated threats, it’s time to carry out a risk assessment. This is a standard risk management process. The aim here is to mitigate or remove risks.

A team can use a wide range of techniques to manage risk. It could include extra physical security. It might mean stricter cybersecurity protocols, different transportation routes, or a planned evacuation. The strategy will depend on the type of threat and best practices. 


Part of the information gathered comes from a process of continuous monitoring. Watching and reassessing threats plays a vital role in protection.

Any threat landscape is dynamic; watching for changing and emerging threats is the best way to address that. Two examples of continuous monitoring include ongoing surveillance or regularly updating security protocols.


Good protective intelligence starts with effective communication. This ensures that teams work together to help manage any threads. Communication happens internally within an organization.

It also happens externally, like collaborating with law enforcement or other security agencies. Collaboration ensures all parties know potential threats and can work together to address them.


The final component of protective intelligence is ongoing training and awareness. This could be security awareness to a wider group in an organization to boost protection.

Or it could be ongoing training for those at the center of personal security roles. Ongoing training helps you stay ahead of ever-changing risks and threats, such as dealing with an active shooter.

The Benefits of Protective Intelligence

The benefits of protective intelligence go far beyond safety. First, this method ensures a proactive approach. Keeping people and assets safe by stopping threats rather than reacting to a live incident is easier. Thus it minimizes potential harm and disruption.

This predictive capability provides a framework. That framework offers best practices in helping individuals and businesses stay on top of threats.

Protective intelligence also provides security specialists with ongoing knowledge. For example, how to safely transport VIPs. Over time, an individual develops a more nuanced understanding of threats. They can spot patterns, motives, or tactics.

It means teams can continue to improve and adapt their security measures. That provides more powerful and dynamic defense tactics. That’s vital in a world with diverse and changing threats.

What Industries Use Protective Intelligence?

Many industries use protective intelligence. It plays a part in helping those with different security needs and risks.

Government agencies are one notable user of protective intelligence. This is most likely the case with areas such as law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

They use protective intelligence to safeguard key individuals. Plus, they use this strategy to prevent terrorist attacks and manage public safety.

In the corporate world, many areas use protective intelligence security. That includes technology, finance, health, and pharmaceuticals.

These businesses must protect proprietary information. Furthermore, they need to protect assets and infrastructure from outside threats. That includes issues like cyber attacks that could cause major business interruptions.

Private security firms are another industry that leans heavily on protective intelligence. Here, these strategies protect high net-worth individuals, VIPs, and celebrities.

Some educational institutions like colleges and universities also use protective intelligence. It can help safeguard students and teachers on campus.

Events management is another area where protective intelligence can be beneficial. It can help protect people and facilities at high-profile public events.  

Emerging Technologies in Protective Intelligence

Innovative technology has had a huge positive impact on protective intelligence. Here are some examples of the emerging use of technology:


AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning are both helping to revolutionize protective intelligence. These innovations can analyze vast data sets fast.

That task would be impossible for a human. They can also spot patterns and trends and use that to make predictions. And modern AI offers a high degree of accuracy here.

The machine learning component helps these systems to adapt and improve. That means better accuracy in the future. AI helps to make protective intelligence more reliable and efficient.


Cyber threats are increasingly sophisticated. They use advanced technology, which means protective intelligence needs to do the same.

Cybersecurity technology includes encryption, intrusion detection, and network breaches. It also involves secure storage to help protect sensitive data.

Blockchain technology is becoming more prevalent in cybersecurity. It offers another layer of protection.

Smart Technology

Smart technologies help with monitoring and detection capabilities. This includes security technology such as surveillance cameras and smart locks. It also includes biometric systems.

These devices can help improve real-time security data. That provides extra information for protective intelligence services. The interconnected nature of many of these devices also helps spot new threats.

Big Data

Protective intelligence benefits from vast amounts of data. This data can be analyzed to help spot trends. There has been a lot of progress in this area, making it easier than ever to capture, store and assess this data.

Plus, with humans moving their lives online.

Here, information can be recorded, and the possibilities for new data are endless. When combined with advanced AI capabilities, it offers many possibilities. It means faster and more thorough insights into security threats.

Social Media

Social media is becoming a valuable source of intelligence. Security teams can scrape and analyze the data from this platform. They can track trends like keywords to help spot potential threats.

Essentially, they allow private companies to track conversations that could suggest a risk. Open-source (OSINT) tools are another similar source of valuable data.

Protective Intelligence Strategies

Protective intelligence services use a range of strategies as part of their role. Here are some of the most popular.

Proactive Threat Detection

This strategy involves collecting and analyzing large amounts of data to track threats. It involves predictive analytics and advanced technology. Plus, it will include historical data (including trends) and behavioral analysis.

Used as a whole, this helps form a reliable picture of any emerging threats.

Risk Assessment Strategy

This strategy involves carrying out a comprehensive risk assessment. A good example of when this might be used is for a public event.

Protective intelligence may carry out a risk assessment of the venue to spot vulnerabilities. This strategy helps ensure resources are assigned to the most high-risk areas.

It also means that the most pressing threats are well-understood and mitigated.

Enhanced Surveillance

Surveillance is another key strategy and refers to continuous monitoring of a threat. The most common form of this is physical surveillance. But it also includes technical aspects like cybersecurity monitoring and social media surveillance.

This strategy helps improve real-time detection of a high-risk or imminent threat. It gives the security team better opportunities to respond and protect people or things.

Incident Response Planning

Incident response planning is about creating an organized action plan for potential incidents. For example, this might be an incident response to a terrorist attack. It involves things like creating an emergency response.

It also means rehearsing evacuation procedures or having a rapid response team on-hand. This strategy aims to minimize the impact if an incident occurs rather than prevent the threat itself.

Communication Planning

Most protective intelligence involves a communication plan. Here, a team will establish relevant contacts and communication strategies. It helps ensure teams collaborate and align their work to maximize security.

For example, you might connect an onsite security team with an events management company.

Or it might involve setting up a communications strategy with third parties like law enforcement or tech companies.

Implementing Protective Intelligence

A well-planned organized approach is the best way to implement protective intelligence. Here is the typical path followed by security teams.

Step 1: Define the Scope

The first step in intelligence is outlining the scope of an operation. Security often has no borders, but effective protection means having a defined purpose. This first step establishes what people, assets, or data need protecting. For example, it might involve travel arrangements for one specific date. 

Step 2: Begin Data Gathering

Once a team is running with clear objectives, the next step is gathering data. At this stage, a team will often have tools in place and a clear idea of the data sources they will use.

It might be social media, public records, or law enforcement alerts. A thorough job of data gathering is the best way to manage threats effectively.

Step 3: Threat Assessment

At this stage, the team will review and analyze all the data to spot threats and security trends. It includes studying previous incidents and using predictive technology.

Step 4: Mitigating the Threats

The team will develop formal strategies to manage threats at this stage. It might include extra physical security or extra IT monitoring. This phase also includes contingency plans and incident response plans.

Step 5: Surveillance

Surveillance and monitoring take place in real-time to manage a threat. This will continue until the event has passed or the team believes there is no longer a threat.

Another aspect that happens at this point is collaboration with third parties.

If there is a communication plan, this is the point where it will be put into action. It’s there to ensure all teams have up-to-date and relevant information to manage the threat.  

Step 6: Review

Protective intelligence is an ongoing operation. The threats will need to be reviewed so the teams can stand down if they are no longer valid or boost security if they become imminent.

Staying Safe By Using Protective Intelligence

It’s not enough to rely on old security methods in today’s uncertain world. Security means taking a proactive stance. That’s where protective intelligence in Atlanta becomes a vital asset.

It is a wide-ranging approach for security teams. It helps protect individuals, buildings, assets, data, or members of the public.

For more information about how protective intelligence can help you or your business in Georgia, contact us here. Learn more about how our security services can support you.  

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