Pinkerton: A Global Industry Leader in Risk Management Since 1850

The risk landscape changes on a daily basis. Many of the threats that exist today did not exist five years ago, and the threats confronting organizations across the globe five years from now may not exist today.

What’s imperative to remember is that these threats go well beyond just terrorism. While terrorist attacks are profoundly covered in the media, there are myriad threats that organizations face today—which include financial stability, infectious diseases, societal upheaval, natural disasters, and even access to clean water or electricity should a disaster strike. These and more are contemplations that must be considered for an enterprise to work effectively both domestically and abroad.

With the risk landscape changing at such a rapid pace and new threats emerging on nearly a daily basis, for Pinkerton the company motto “We Never Sleep” is more applicable now than ever before.

A History of Evolution

Pinkerton’s origins date back more than 165 years to when Allan Pinkerton founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1850. At that time, the organization worked with law enforcement agencies to pursue and capture criminals all over the United States.  Pinkerton specialized in protecting railroad shipments for several mid-western railways, but the company also notably uncovered and foiled an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln.

The organization became legendary for its pursuit of Jesse James, The Younger Gang, the Dalton Brothers and Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch and was responsible for developing the first criminal database, as well as being widely recognized as the forerunner to the modern day Secret Service.

Over the years the organization has constantly evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of clients – both domestically and abroad.  Today Pinkerton works with some of the largest global enterprises on the issues that are central to their long term prosperity,  providing critical corporate risk management services. Pinkerton provides a range of solutions that include everything from security consulting and investigations to executive protection, employment screening, protective intelligence and strategic consultative services.

When it comes to corporate risk management, Pinkerton takes a holistic approach.  They recongnize that focusing on a singular aspect of an organization’s risk – such as cyber security – can leave it’s operations exposed to other types of risk that are unaccounted for. As an industry pioneer in the concept of enterprise risk management, the company’s holistic approach takes into account a complete 360° view of threats facing an organization, and the probability of those threats impacting business continuity. Pinkerton’s agents then create a risk profile so they can assess where to best deploy their expertise to help businesses protect their people, assets and proprietary information.

Helping to inform this holistic approach to risk management is Pinkerton’s vast network of global resources which provide intelligence and information from all corners of the globe. Pinkerton’s agents can analyze this data in real-time and swiftly deliver comprehensive insights and recommendations to clients who could be impacted by new and emerging threats.

For Jack Zahran, President of Pinkerton, the evolution of the company has been key in providing a unique and scalable blend of strategic and tactical solutions.

“We know the world is changing fast and new threats are rising on a daily basis, and it’s our job to stay ahead of those threats,” Zahran says. “This isn’t an industry where you can sit idle, and we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today, more than 165 years after the company was originally founded, if we didn’t continuously evolve our services and ways of thinking about risk.”

Meeting Risk Head-On

A recent example of the company’s evolution and innovative nature is the creation and implementation of it’s Global Risk Index report. Recognizing a need to better understand what types of threats are most prevalent and where, Pinkerton has conducted years of research using numerous global data sources to identify common threats and pinpoint where they are happening and to what degree. The company also developed a proprietary algorithm which is used to determine the prevalence of those threats in every country around the world and the probability of them impacting business operations for organizations working within those countries.

The resulting data can be customized to educate clients on the threats facing their operations in any given location, domestically or abroad, and help them better devise countermeasures to combat these threats. The first iteration of the report was rolled out to clients in 2016 as a resounding success, and Pinkerton continues to update the methodology and format to better suit client needs.

“We take our jobs very seriously because lives are literally at stake, and one wrong move can spell disaster for our clients and our agents,” says Zahran. “Information is the best tool at our disposal to prevent tragedy from striking, and the Risk Index report was a logical step in our growth trajectory to put information into a comprehensive package that we can quickly leverage to help protect our clients.”

While the severity of this line of work is not lost on Zahran or any of the company’s hundreds of agents around the world, the company still understands the importance of having fun and offering a collaborative culture with a lot of space for growth and advancement. The people who prevail in this business are energetic, yet remain cautious of the world around them. They enjoy good times with their friends and colleagues, but when the well-being of their customers is hanging in the balance, they never fail to put on their game faces.