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In The Boardroom With...

Mr. Steve Cocco
President
Security Strategies Today

 

Updated April 20, 2016

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SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Steve, it’s an honor to speak with a 27 year veteran of the FBI. Before discussing Security Strategies Today in greater detail, please tell us about more about your impressive background.

Steve Cocco:  Well, I have dedicated my professional life to law enforcement and security and am now the president of my own company.  I got here after 27 years with the FBI, having started off in the Bureau's New York office as a linguist in the 1980s. I was so impressed with the professionalism of the agency that I decided I wanted to become an agent and was honored to be given the opportunity.  I spent several years as a field agent in San Diego and New York before going into management. That took me to Rome, Italy, where I was assigned to the US embassy to support the FBI's mission overseas.  I also responded to the US embassy bombings in East Africa and conducted extensive FBI-sponsored training to foreign law enforcement partners in Africa and in Latin America.  I was given the opportunity to set up the FBI's Joint Terrorsim Task Force in the San Juan, Puerto Rico division and finally served as Assistance Special Agent in Charge in Phoenix.  It was just an amazing career with outstanding people and opportunities. 

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: One will read on Security Strategies Today that, “Security Strategies Today is a consulting and risk management firm providing a wide range of services to meet your corporate and personal safety and security needs.  Our team of experienced former law enforcement officers and intelligence personnel offers crisis management and business continuity training, security consulting and intelligence analysis on a wide variety of criminal, terrorism and emerging threats.  Our goal is to heighten awareness of critical security challenges, emergency preparedness and global risks affecting employee and executive safety through a comprehensive assessment of business practices, facilities and corporate and employee activities.  We also offer advisory services in art and cultural heritage protection with the objective of ensuring that such items are returned to their rightful owners and that prospective buyers are not lured into purchasing counterfeit or unlawfully trafficked art.” Care to elaborate?

Steve Cocco:  We tailor our security solutions to the client's needs.  While we do offer all those services, we find that nowadays most clients are interested in enhancing the physical security of their office space or business, as well as ensuring data or intellectual property integrity and employee safety.  Some clients simply want intelligence briefings on security issues or terrorist threats in their destination country, if traveling.  Others want to know more about the insider threat. It just depends on the client's needs.  We offer lost cost solutions and are very competitive.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com:  Are there any particularly new services that you would like to talk about ?

Steve Cocco: Yes. We are a full service security consulting firm and we spend the bulk of our time and efforts on conducting threat and risk assessments for private clients, including companies and small businesses.  As part of our efforts to enhance the security posture of companies that have a limited budget, we recently put together low cost packages that allow a business to get an on-site security assessment conducted by professionals.  Specifically, for a fee of $299-$799, depending on the work requested, we can do a basic assessment of a business, identifying risks to its safe operation and to its employees and equities.  The findings are reduced to writing and presented in a report which will be reviewed with the client.  This is an outstanding value for the business owner or manager and allows management to keep ahead of threats, adjusting security procedures as needed.

A key aspect to our threat assessment modeling includes providing the familiarization training to management which enables it to identify possible "insider threats" to the business.  Quite often, the most significant threat to safe and secure operations stems from employees or contractors who abscond with company data, merchandise, cash or intellectual property.  Although these may all be chargeable offenses, why not take proactive steps to spot trends and activities that are suspect and implement measures to counter these threats before a loss is incurred?  

The most notable insider threat case is that of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who allegedly absconded with tens of thousands of pages of highly classified US government secrets, put it all on the internet via intermediaries and now has written a book explaining his motives and reasoning for doing so.  By stealing and revealing classified government information, he damaged national security, likely compromised human and technical sources and has given a strategic advantage to adversaries.  Although this is an extreme case, corporations and even smaller companies can face serious loss-including reputational damage-due to insider activity.  If I work for your company developing a new software application to provide us with a strategic advantage over the competition but I steal the code and develop my own program using your info, that is a huge threat as well as a violation of law.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: The daily headlines tell us we’re unfortunately living in a much more dangerous world today than when you started your law enforcement career. What are your thoughts, Steve, regarding how individuals, corporate execs, and their respective, enterprises and organizations can mitigate risk in this most challenging environment?

Steve Cocco:  Enterprise executives must make security a C-suite issue.  Premises security, threat identification, keeping abreast of intelligence trends and incorporating crisis management exercises must all become part of the overall security posture of the company.  Depending on the size of the company, a security officer needs a staff of dedicated professionals who are not part timers and are not distracted by other ancillary duties.  For example, security professionals in an enterprise must be proactive in identifying and resolving issues and ensuring that all security events or threats are brought to upper management so that enterprise-wide remedies can be implemented.  If I am the chief security officer for a company, I should not be assigned to duties that are not directly related to maintaining a high state of company readiness and security.  I cannot wear more than one hat, as that interferes with what should be my laser focus on security, which also requires me to conduct liaison with law enforcement in the area and to attend educational and training courses to sharpen my skills.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com:  Without divulging anything confidential or proprietary, of course, can you share with us Steve some success stories regarding Security Strategies Today projects?

Steve Cocco:  Of course.  In 2015, we conducted two assessments of large medical facilities in the southwest.  One facility was preparing to occupy new space which had been used as a furniture showroom in the past and so needed a complete redesign of the interior.  Although the physical redesign was left to construction professionals, our security assessment of this 50,000 square foot space revealed several structural and design issues that would need to be addressed so as to enhance employee and public safety while on the premises.  In both cases, we spent time on site, listened to management in order to gain an understanding of their operations, patient flow, typical work day, etc.  We subsequently interviewed employees at random to understand how they do their work and to identify weaknesses in physical security or possible threats to employees or patients.  At the conclusion of such surveys, we typically recommend things like erecting barriers between patient and staff areas, installing trap doors, using fracture-resistent reinforced resin instead of tempered glass on windows, enhancing the alarm and CCTV system and ensuring employee compliance with IT security practices.  Where applicable, we go over the client's cash handling procedures and encourage specific steps as best practices to reduce the risk of robbery.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: What resources are available for the security community at large at Security Strategies Today?

Steve Cocco:  We encourage the community at large to visit our website at www.securitystrategiestoday.com and become familiar with us.  You can subscribe to our e-newsletter through the link on the website.  That gets you a free monthly security bulletin right to your in-box.  We discuss specific security or terrorism threats, including homeland security issues and at times we invite other security professionals to contribute an article.  In addition to that, we have an active Twitter presence with engaged followers.  We tweet daily on issues of importance to security professionals.  

Another resource that can be available is a speaker.  For example, I have spoken on several occasions about counterterrorism issues, international law enforcement collaboration and homeland security and policing matters at seminars, classes and conferences worldwide.  Last October, we were a guest speaker and exercise participant at the Hospitality Lawyer conference in Houston (www.hospitalitylawyer.com) and we were there again in February as a facilitator.  That group  is dedicated to "duty of care" for businesses and travelers while overseas or away from their home base.  We also have spoken at the International Security Conference (West) in Las Vegas(www.iscwest.com) on intellectual property protection while overseas on corporate business.  We organize training seminars on a variety of issue-related topics and we conduct business continuity and crisis management training on premises for clients.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com:  What are your key target markets Steve and how can new clients best reach you and engage?

Steve Cocco:  Our key markets are in the US and are concentrated in the southwest.  However, we have worked with clients throughout the US and and with some foreign clients as well.  I would say that our key target markets right now include the Hispanic market in the US with an eye on ensuring that this growing demographic is served properly.  Part of a large and burgeoning population in the US, Hispanic entrepreneurs need business security just like anyone else.  We can offer all our services in Spanish, if desired, including all reports.  We also provide employee seminars in Spanish and consider the community essential to our growth and success.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thanks again for joining us today, Steve. Are there any other subjects you would like to discuss?

Steve Cocco:  We encourage anyone interested in security for their business to check out our website and give us a call or send us an email if you would like to know more about our services or to request a quote.


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