Building an international, national, or even regional security team is no easy task. Some organizations have the time and resources to create an extremely competent security team that understands their company, the mounting threats in our increasingly connected world, and methods to mitigate the risks. But many others simply don’t have the necessary expertise or resources. Fortunately, there is a solution: embedded subject matter experts. With the use of embedded security, organizations can achieve a different level of protection almost overnight.  

In 2012, Pinkerton introduced the Embedded Subject Matter Expert (SME) Program, also known as Pinkerton Dedicated Professionals (PDPs) Program, to address this very problem, and according to Pinkerton Senior Vice President James McClain, the demand for this service has been growing rapidly ever since. 

What is an Embedded SME? 

An embedded SME is someone hired and trained by Pinkerton who works exclusively for one of our client companies in either a tactical or strategic role. Immediately the client benefits because the Pinkerton professional bring with them Pinkerton’s global network of expertise and “boots on the ground” knowledge garnered from the thousands of other Pinkerton professionals around the world.  

“Security needs change almost constantly,” explained McClain. “What might have worked a year or so ago could be ineffective now. So, having someone, or several people, within your company that has the latest knowledge and tactics can make a critical difference.”  

One of Pinkerton’s clients, a healthcare company, needed to provide executive protection and travel security for employees who were traveling internationally and visiting emerging markets. On the surface, this request would appear to be a routine security operation that could be handled in-house. As they soon discovered, they did not have the resources to provide the type of security these global activities required. They called Pinkerton. 

“The embedded SME was a supplement to their existing security force,” said McClain, “and was armed with intelligence gathered in-market as well as through media and other sources so that protection protocols could be put in place to mitigate risks.” 

The Operational Impact of Embedded SMEs 

The biggest benefit to an Embedded SME Program is that it includes Pinkerton’s 172 years of experience along with its global network of resources. However, there are many operational benefits as well, such as Pinkerton is responsible for hiring and training SMEs. Organizations no longer need to focus on the time and resources needed to recruit and train new personnel, allowing them to focus on their other operational goals.  

“Not only are we security experts, but we are also skilled at finding the best available security personnel for the task at hand,” said McClain. “We work with clients to understand their needs and source top-tier talent aligned with our client’s objectives.”  

With an SME in place, organizations now have an expert who can operate an efficient security network, which for many organizations isn’t possible without embedded personnel.  

“Monitoring trends, staying up-to-date on the latest technology used in security, developing new security measures based on ever-changing situations, and implementing new risk mitigation programs can be a monumental effort,” McClain explained. “Many companies don’t have the resources to devote to evolving security demands, so they opt to work with an outside firm where security is the core business.” 

Embedded SME Case Study  

The Situation

A new leadership team for a large corporation immediately recognized gaping inefficiencies with the guard force management. With each of their 500+ facilities executing contracts for security guarding services, the organization was unable to take advantage of the cost savings of consolidated regional and country-level contracts. The need for efficient guard force management paved the way for exploring global-scale, third-party solutions and justifying the decision as cost-neutral spending. 

The Solution

Pinkerton proposed the utilization of SMEs, fully dedicated embedded security resources at the local facility level to drive operational continuity. The organization could now access a global network of trained, vetted professionals who centralized comprehensive risk management strategy across their more than 500 locations in 180+ countries. Choosing SMEs vs. sourcing direct hires was an easy decision to make. There was a lower cost of talent acquisition, and Pinkerton’s institutional knowledge of risk management best practices from servicing thousands of clients worldwide provided the client the opportunity to focus on their primary business. 

Recent Trends Increase SME Needs 

“Companies operate in a world today where so much is interconnected,” said McClain. “Global supply chains are impacted by technology. Brand protection can be challenged by the ‘dark web’ and social media. Executives are traveling to dangerous but emerging markets. No longer is security a matter of ‘guards and gates.’ Executives want to know, with up-to-the-minute intelligence, where the company and its employees are at risk. And they want someone at the table who can help create plans to minimize those risks now and for the long term. That need is driving much of our recent SME engagements, and I see that continuing for the foreseeable future.”  

Driving this growth is a special program involving dedicated intelligence analysts that can provide strategic direction and full-scale planning for the implementation of security plans that match company goals.

“We put a Pinkerton at the planning table along with the other executives,” said McClain. “Today’s business environment requires a strong synergy between business goals and security planning. The SME analyst will understand a company’s core business, learn its short and long-term goals, and work with internal teams to create a security plan that aligns with company objectives.” 

Published August 12, 2022