Why is it so important to implement Behavior Analysis in security programs?
For decades I’m getting this question and as I have received this one for this Q&A as well, from
various sources even, I thought it therefore would be great to pick this one out for this 3-month
Before I give you the “why” I believe it is better to start explaining the “what”.
This because I’ve noticed that many people believe that it’s a technical solution. And yes, there are amazing technical tools out there who are extremely helpful with detecting certain behavioral
indicators, but they cannot function without human intervention. It starts already with the on/off
button of any tech device; we humans have to push that.
But more so, explaining the behavior behind certain indicators as for instance detecting and
separating strange from suspicious or even potentially dangerous behavior, as well as physically or verbally acting on that, still is a human’s job.
It also is often confused with criminal profiling. Behavior Analysis is a part of criminal profiling, when a forensic psychologist tries to sketch a profile of the suspected criminal, but this happens only after he or she has collected all the information from the crime scene, so after an incident has occurred.
The Behavior Analysis I am are going to talk about in this Q&A is about the benefits of collecting
information human behavior prior to any incident. Very much meant for it to be a proactive
approach. Implementing this proactive methodology in security programs, meaning; procedures,
protocols, security, crisis and contingency plans as well as training, can be very beneficial to both
organizations and individuals. And yes, like with any plan, procedure, protocol or training, it will
require some effort but once the foundations have been laid, you’ll without a doubt bear the fruits.
Is it difficult? NO!
We are all wired to detect. From the moment we’re born we start to develop our senses. We learn
about different tastes, smells, sounds and how things feel when you touch something or when being touched. This all goes so naturally that we don’t think much of it while really it is extremely
important because those senses help us detect when something is, looks, sounds or feels good or not good, or maybe even dangerous.
Our senses are biological, and we are neurologically wired in using and responding to them.
The fact that we have the ability to distinguish is a huge advantage that we still very much underuse.
Especially the ones that warns us.
Many of us have all senses developed but are often experiencing such a sensory overload in this
time and age they we have learned to somewhat numb them. They are not being fully used nor have been trained and therefore we see people responding to danger in various ways.
Some don’t react, some overreact and only a few naturally act the right, or maybe better said, the
most desired way. To get that desired and structured outcome, we need a framework. This you can do by creating the right plans, procedures, protocols and training.
Behavior Analysis can be applied anywhere in any industry, and even at home, to support detection of anomalous behavior.
It is a proactive approach to security in which all relevant activity is monitored so that deviations
from normal behavior patterns can be identified and dealt with quickly.
More and more organization introduce this methodology, making it part of their security regime,
complementary to their traditional security measures.
It really is all about recognizing if a particular behavior pattern matches or stands out from the
expectations in the given situation. This can help you recognizing someone who is forced to do
something or someone who truly has the desire and intent to do something bad but also someone who is totally unaware and is being used or taken advantage of.
For organizations implementing Behavioral Analysis means that this process starts with onboarding and ends with offboarding and everything in between. But next to the employees, one should not forget their clients, visitors, stakeholders and third-party individuals or organizations.
What we now still often see is that when events, like an insider threat or crisis happen, the security, safety and contingency plans are still very much focused on the strategic, operational and logistical side. Which is great and very important, don’t get me wrong, but most plans, protocols or procedures still do not include any human Behavioral Analysis methodology.
While the benefit of doing that, integrating this from the start instead of making an analysis about a person, or a groups certain behavior only after an event has happened, can really help you spot
anomalies, weaknesess, mistakes or threats faster and with that contribute to early mitigation.
Training and having a reliable framework into place, plays a pivot role in detecting and managing
anomalies and threats. The depth and severity of training of course needs to be decided by
department or location. Every department needs at least an awareness training tailored to the
organization or industry.
It speaks for itself that security requires an intensive training in learning to recognize and deal with anomalies. In contrast to reactive security methods a proactive approach is where Behavior Analysis comes in. This requires that next to hard skills, soft skills need to be trained. Soft skills are still an underestimated but very essential part.
Learning about cultures (even organizational and department cultures) and maybe a second
language, as well as developing social, verbal and non-verbal skills can help tremendously with
developing these soft skills.
These soft skills will not only improve recognizing deviant behavior at an early stage but also can
help finding out the intention behind the behavior by asking certain questions, when the situation
permits of course. We call that security questioning. Suspicious indicators are always bound by
place, time and culture and are determined by analyzing the specific context. This is a proactive
approach that, when done right, can help defuse a tense situation or at least raise a controlled, and not a panicking, alarm in order to stop or mitigate a threat at the earliest possible stage.
Security questioning is a technique specifically used to determine if the observed suspicious
indicators match the intention behind the displayed behavior. The questioner collects information
about the suspicious person by asking questions in a customer-friendly manner. The advantage here is that a person with a bad intent can mislead technology, depending on their training, but are often times not prepared for the questions. It’s a tactic used for decades by profilers. What these
questions do is distracting really the thought process of the suspect for a moment. It’s neurologically proven to be very effective.
So now, to come back to one of the first sentences I started this Q&A with, the “what and “why”.
In a nutshell I’ve told you “what” I use Behavioral Analysis for and how in relation to security
With this I hope now you better understand the “why” behind me advocating for seeing it more
used and thus implemented in plans, protocols and trainings.
As an organization or individual you cannot so much maybe affect a crisis or the motivation of a
person with a bad intent but we all can control the opportunity with better risk planning.
We all have the responsibility for ensuring we have the greatest understanding of the risks facing us.
When you, as an organization, give your employees the opportunity to learn these skills, you not
only give them a tremendous gift that they can use in everyday life, but you also very much enrich
your company with creating a safer place for those that are part of your success in the industry.
We all know that when employees feel safe and happy, they are your best ambassadors.
If you like hearing more about this subject or about any of our other Behavior Analysis Services, feel free to contact us at https://mcglobalsecurity.com/contact