facebook twitter linkedin Article Organizational Risk ∙ 30 September 2020 Where Intelligence and Operations Come Together How technology and tactical planning come together for comprehensive security services. Philippe Duffour, Vice President of travel risk management at Crisis24, explains the driving forces behind our global risk management platform. He also covers how it integrates with our on-the-ground intervention procedures, and gives concrete examples where we have ensured the safety of our clients and maintained communications in a crisis situation. How did the idea for Crisis24’s travel security platform come about? Companies and organizations are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees traveling abroad. In the past, this was no easy task. Travelers had to rely on fragmented, sometimes outdated information, and their employers could easily lose track of them in unknown areas. Fortunately, with the technological advances of recent years, it has become possible to facilitate both the dissemination of security information and the ability to track travelers. And this is exactly what the founders of Crisis24 have succeeded in doing with our platform. What does the platform consist of? With Crisis24, both travelers and expatriates have a web platform and a mobile application at their disposal. This not only allows them to obtain vital travel information, such as the latest alerts and notifications of events likely to affect them, but also provides tips and advice, depending on where they are. These tools also allow travelers to update their own information along the way. The goal is for the platform to accompany the traveler throughout the process, from making travel arrangements to the safe return home. And it’s not just for those traveling to areas known to be dangerous; accidents and unexpected disasters can happen anywhere, and when you least expect them. This is also why the location feature is so important. How does the tracking work? Whether in an emergency, or simply to report their precise location (arrival in the country, departure from their hotel, etc.), people can use our mobile application, Crisis Messenger (iOS or Android). For 20 years now, we have also been providing our most vulnerable clients (journalists, those who are isolated without GSM coverage) with Iridium beacons, which allow them to automatically send their exact position or an SOS. These devices are designed to operate anywhere in the world and to withstand harsh environments. They quickly become essential in remote areas, where cellular coverage is irregular or non-existent. From Crisis24’s Global Operations Center (GOC), we can track the location of anyone on our network to within a few meters. Our operational teams have additional data on each traveler, including their profile, next destination and risk factor based on environmental, geopolitical and security data. Is the traveler near a known militia outpost, a weather warning or unfolding civil unrest? Are there any natural obstacles that require a detour from the original itinerary? In addition to the technology and the close link with our GOC, we also provide on-the-ground support by our closest tactical response teams. GardaWorld has a presence in more than 50 countries, including some of the most dangerous in the world. Do you have examples of problem situations that clients have found themselves in? When we receive an SOS, we respond immediately. Although these are often false alarms, we follow strict procedures in all circumstances: we systematically investigate the cause of the SOS and contact our client. Recently, one of our clients left in a 4x4 for a trip between two sites in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert. Following a technical problem, his vehicle became unusable, and our client realized that he had no way to reach his team—and most importantly, he had no water supply. In this harsh region where temperatures can reach 60 to 70 Celsius (160+ Fahrenheit), a person's life expectancy is only a few hours. Equipped with an Iridium beacon, our customer immediately triggered an SOS. In less than 30 seconds, our operations center made contact with him. We stayed in contact with him and initiated rescue operations. A vehicle, also equipped with an Iridium beacon, left immediately and we were able to guide it live to reach our client using satellite images. A more recent example is from August 2020, when 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in the port of Beirut, claiming many victims. This tragic event demonstrates the importance of effective communications to ensure the safety of the travelers and workers under our care. We were instantly alerted, and our analysts immediately issued a critical alert to all of our clients in the area. At the same time, the GOC followed the emergency plans established with our clients to warn their operational decision-makers, some of whom had not even realized what had happened. What happens when an assignment is complete? Once the assignment is over, the team comes together for a debriefing session during which we review what happened and the actions that were taken. We then determine if our protocols can be improved upon, and if so, we implement the changes and communicate them to our global team. In the end, what matters most to us is the safety of our clients. We are here to help them remain vigilant, keep in touch with their employers, maintain a secure itinerary, and in the event of danger, find immediate solutions that allow them to return home safely.