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Executive Protection

What is executive protection? And who needs it?

Important people throughout history have hired strong individuals, military experts, and security specialists to keep them, their families, and their assets safe. Professional bodyguards have evolved to meet the needs of modern society and now primarily serve high-net-worth individuals and public figures (i.e., CEOs, celebrities, and politicians).  This suite of security services, including bodyguards and support services, is now called elite Executive Protection (or VIP Executive Protection) and the services are provided by Executive Protection Companies.  

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What is Executive Protection?

The most well-known example of executive protection is the US Secret Service protecting the President – but this is an extreme case.

Many people need executive protection due to the nature of their work or public exposure.  For example, CEOs of corporations, celebrities, musicians, politicians, and high-net-worth individuals may live under consistently high threat levels.  While their security details may be much smaller than the President’s, they still require elite executive protection to reduce their risk profile. 

Executive Protection has two foundational elements, companies & protection agents:

Executive Protection Companies

  1. Recruit and manage qualified agents.
  2. Maintain regular training and supervision of agents.
  3. Ensure compliance with state and local regulations.
  4. Carry the financial and legal liability for physical injury or death of agents, clients, or attackers.
  5. Take responsibility for any damage resulting from the actions of individual agents (errors and omissions coverage).

The most well-known example of executive protection is the US Secret Service protecting the President - but this is an extreme case.

A company meets to discuss executive protection for their CEO

Executive Protection Agents and Support Staff

  1. Work in shifts to provide security coverage.
  2. Typically, work in a security detail of 1-3 agents.
  3. Work with support staff to handle security technology like surveillance systems and communications.
  4. Utilize threat analysis and threat detection tools to assist agents on the ground.


Executive Protection performed at scale is often called Corporate Security (or Commercial Security). For example, Corporate Security may involve individual VIP executive protection for multiple board members, C-suite members, or key employees – in addition to overseeing campus security operations like access control, patrols, and surveillance systems.

The client’s budget and threat profile determine the amount of executive protection coverage they maintain.

Executive Protection performed at scale is often called Corporate Security. For example, Corporate Security may involve individual executive protection for multiple board members, C-suite members, or key employees.

Executive Protection as Physical Security (Close Personal Protection)

The term Executive Protection (EP) is often used interchangeably with Close Personal Protection (CPP) – because close protection is a crucial element of VIP executive protection.  Agents must maintain close physical proximity to keep clients safe from any physical harm and be prepared to respond quickly to any physical threat.

Agents commonly protect clients at private residences, offices, public spaces, private event locations, and during travel.

We have an article that helps you navigate actually hiring a bodyguard and what to think about.

Agents must maintain close physical proximity to keep clients safe from any physical harm and be prepared to respond quickly to any physical threat.

How Executive Protection Works

Executive Protection serves clients in a few different ways:

  1. Pre-planning to avoid security situations.  For example, is the client attending an event?  Their security detail may research the venue and guest list for potential security threats and develop a plan to keep their client safe.  They will also plan out escape routes in the event situation occurs.  Ultimately, elite executive protection companies may also recommend that their client not attend a specific event because of particular security concerns they discover during a threat assessment. 
  2. Real-time threat detection and evasion. Physical security relies on well-trained, experienced professionals to use their instincts “on the ground” to quickly get clients out of security situations as soon as they arise. First, agents must be aware of their surroundings at all times – for example, by actively scanning crowds or using surveillance tools. Then, when a situation develops, agents must respond quickly – usually to get their client out of harm’s way as soon as possible.
  3. Tactical response. Finally – and as a last resort – physical security means using physical force – usually martial arts or small arms – to respond tactically to an imminent threat.  When an attack occurs, executive protection agents must be ready to put their lives on the line to defend their clients.

Executive Protection as Data / Information Security

The same people who need elite Executive Protection also need to guard against digital attacks.  Here are a few examples of public information threats:

  • Data breaches (sensitive information posted on websites or social media – i.e., private addresses, phone numbers, credit card info).
  • Photo leaks.
  • Intellectual property theft.
  • Cyberstalking.
  • Physical stalking with digital tools (i.e., social media analysis to discover your routine or malware to track your device’s location).

     

Digital attacks can threaten your physical safety, mental health, and business operations.  Threat assessments from reputable executive protection companies can help develop a tailored response plan to minimize damage caused by cyberattacks.

An executive protection agents guards a VIP

Threats Handled by Executive Protection

Executive Protection companies handle several different types of threats: 

  • Physical threats that involve kidnapping, hijacking, or assault.
  • Cyber-threats, which can consist of threats to your mental, physical health, and business operations.
  • Intellectual property theft by competitors and other bad actors.
  • Threats to property and employees.
  • Threats to your family members, friends, and loved ones.


While some threat types require personnel with highly specific expertise (e.g., digital forensics or surveillance installation), these specialists ideally operate under the direction of an executive protection team.  Ultimately, it is the company providing executive protection that is responsible for the broader mission of ensuring physical safety and reducing risk across all channels.

Who Needs Executive Protection Services?

Everyone wants to be safe, but some people are more in danger than others. Here are some examples of people who may need VIP executive protection services:

Business Executives

When a company reaches a certain level of public exposure, leadership’s identities become public knowledge, and the threat levels for the organization and key individuals are directly correlated.  Public sentiment, the intensity and nature of the competition, and the political climate where the business operates are a few of the critical considerations when assessing a corporate threat level.  

In a high threat environment, individual leaders may be at risk of kidnapping, assault, or being targeted for intellectual property theft.  Unfortunately, these risks also extend to the families and close personal friends of key leaders.

Celebrities & Influencers

Celebrities and influencers live under a higher threat level because of public awareness and general interest in their lives – as well as public knowledge of their financial success. In addition, influencers are at high risk of stalking because they publish personal information that stalkers can use to track their behavior.

Being well-known can have many benefits, but investing in elite executive protection is often necessary for doing business.  

In a high threat environment, individual leaders may be at risk of kidnapping, assault, or being targeted for intellectual property theft.  Unfortunately, these risks also extend to the families and close personal friends of key leaders.

Politicians & Public Figures

All public figures carry a high-risk level due to public appearances and special events, but politicians are particularly vulnerable to people who disagree with their policies – including foreign actors.  There are also psychological disorders that lead mentally ill people to target politicians and other public figures – particularly psychosis and delusional disorder.  

Fame, money, and power can motivate a certain percentage of the population to commit criminal acts – and finding a way to live a healthy, productive life as a politician often includes VIP executive protection.

High-net-worth Individuals and Family Members

It’s a great privilege to be born into a wealthy family, but it’s also an inherent security risk.  

Resentment can be a source of violent conflict.

Kidnapping, ransom, extortion, burglary, theft. As a high-net-worth individual, you are an obvious target.  

While insurance can reimburse for lost financial value, it’s difficult or impossible to repair physical or emotional damage from an attack. As a high-net-worth individual or family, executive protection – especially private estate security – is worth considering.

Anyone Handling Valuable Objects

From a high-end jeweler at the mall to the marijuana dispensary down the road, some businesses naturally carry more risk than others. If you are housing or transporting valuable products, your business is a target for both petty and organized criminals.  Armed robbery is often associated with bodily harm and mental distress of owners and employees.

You may choose to rely on public resources (police, FBI), but they will only be responding after the fact.  A proactive option is to hire private security with the capability of a tactical response.

People with a Direct Threat to their Lives (special circumstances)

If someone has made it clear that they want you dead, you’ll want to take precautions as soon as possible.

Do not let these threats ruin your present or kill your future.  If the police are unhelpful, another option is to contact an executive protection firm with trained professional agents.

In addition to the previously mentioned categories, executive protection is also for the following individuals in particular circumstances:

  • Recently divorced persons who want to protect themselves from a former spouse.
  • Anyone with an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend who poses a threat due to stalking, obsessive behavior, or other threatening activities.
  • Someone who has recently come into a large amount of money.  Especially when the information is public.
  • A person who has secret information that threatens the lives or livelihoods of dangerous people.
  • Persons involved in a court case and must testify against dangerous people.

Everyone wants to be safe, but some people are more in danger than others.

Executive Protection by Global Risk Solutions

Global Risk Solutions is a trusted executive protection company for some of Northern California’s top CEOs (references available upon request).  We offer a wide range of agents and support staff to provide custom and comprehensive security coverage. Our VIP executive protection team is composed of both men and women that are:

  • Former military personnel (special forces to the highest levels).
  • Licensed professionals in various fields (law enforcement, private investigators, licensed private security officers).
  • Individuals trained by Global Risk Solutions’ highly skilled instructors on topics such as team dynamics, intelligence gathering, surveillance detection operations, driving courses, weapons, and specialized topics.


When you hire Global Risk Solutions, you can expect courteous and professional agents who are willing to go the extra mile to ensure your safety.

When you hire Global Risk Solutions, you can expect courteous and professional agents who are willing to go the extra mile to ensure your safety.

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