Benefits of Independent Professional TSCM
We are often asked if we can assist a company in developing an in-house TSCM program. We are quite willing to do this, but it is important to consider many aspects and concerns of this approach.
A number of high profile corporations have successfully established their own in-house TSCM security sweep teams. There are benefits to having an in-house team for those companies with such critical needs that they can keep the TSCM sweep team active throughout the year. A number of our clients who have tried this approach, though, have later changed back to hiring an independent TSCM firm. Many difficulties arise, including with scheduling and budget, when trying implement in-house TSCM properly.
There are a number of reasons why an independent professional TSCM provider may be the better solution for your organization.
- TSCM is a constantly changing and developing technical field. TSCM technicians must keep up to date on the latest threats and countermeasures, requiring regular training and study. It is difficult for a business to provide this type of support to their in-house team.
- TSCM equipment is expensive and must be kept up to date. A professional TSCM team will have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their equipment. A competent TSCM firm will always have the latest equipment on hand to bring to every client. As a TSCM company, is our responsibility to stay on top of technology. In-house teams may have invested in new equipment when they were first organized, which may have been a number of years ago, and they may not be prepared to deal properly with current threats. An in-house department may also have to deal with budget cuts or other internal obstacles beyond their control in the effort to remain proficient.
- In-house TSCM tasks may end up being assigned to persons with other responsibilities. The technician might be part of security staff, a member of the executive protection team, or perhaps from another technical department. The risk is that TSCM may become just an additional job given to them and not their main priority. This makes it difficult to remain proficient with the TSCM equipment as well as keeping up to date on new technology and new threats. This is especially true if sweeps are only performed a few times per year.
- In-house TSCM technicians who have other responsibilities may have to give those jobs a higher priority at a time when a sweep could be needed. A full time TSCM firm will always be ready to respond with full attention to any incidents or special circumstances that arise.
- The TSCM team may be required to inspect sensitive areas that affect fellow employees in the company. This could include offices for human resources, legal, or financial departments. This is best done by technicians who are not employees of the company, who would remain impartial and objective in their work. We receive many requests for sweeps from companies who have just fired an employee or even an executive who was suspected of spying or eavesdropping, including IT and security personnel. You would not want to risk having someone on the sweep team with a relationship with the suspected employee.
Some businesses will attempt to develop an in-house solution using inexpensive tools they found online. It is important that you do not develop a false sense of security, particularly where information and communications are concerned. Many of the sources online offering these inexpensive sweep tools claim that they are all that is needed to secure your privacy. These are not professional grade tools and cannot provide the necessary protection from today’s eavesdropping and privacy threats.
If you have been asked to look into developing your own in-house TSCM department, feel free to contact us to discuss your needs. We can recommend proper equipment and training and help you decide what is the right course for your company. Contact us for a copy of our white paper that discusses best practices for establishing a corporate TSCM program. We go over steps for identifying the more critical locations, setting priorities for confidentiality, and developing a TSCM schedule based on those priorities.
TSCM equipment is extensive and expensive.
Employees are often the ones that come under suspicion of eavesdropping.
Training in TSCM must be ongoing and always kept up to date.