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PERSONAL SECURITY


Adding variation to your daily routine means making


compromises – which may include giving up on your favourite morning bagels. “I’ll go and get that bagel and bring it back, so the


client doesn’t go in there,” McLean says. “Some clients also want to go to a certain restaurant


three times a week, but I recommend that they don’t.” In addition to varying their routines, corporate


executives can take more active measures – and technology means that they can protect themselves without standing out from the crowd. For example, there are thin and lightweight bulletproof vests that look like any polo shirt and pepper spray or stun guns that are built into a mobile phone. In the case of children, security companies can check the security of the school and provide protection on the way to and from the school. There are other measures


available, too. Parents can get clip-on alarms, which will allow the parent to activate the alarm if a child vanishes. However, such device may not be useful unless the child is within the parents’ earshot or in a public space – which is not always the case with kidnappers. Parents can also get GPS


locators to monitor children beyond the reach of Nannycam. Such devices can be put in a backpack or stuffed in a doll, allowing parents to see the child’s whereabouts in the palm of their Blackberry or iPhone. One company, BrickHouse


Security, offers a GPS child locator for US$200 that can be locked onto the child’s wrist. An alert will be sent to the parent’s mobile phone and email if it is forcibly removed.


For some parents, having an alert may not be


enough. “You can get implants on your children’s skin to track where your children are,” McLean says. While not as emotionally taxing, the security threat


to corporate information can be just as, if not more, expensive. Security companies can protect corporate information, even when the enemy is using advanced technological devices. “We’ll usually hire people with the technical devices [to check phones and computers] and do a physical search as well.” McLean says it pays off to have your corporate


venues checked. “If you have a corporate client meeting, rocking up at a random hotel room can be dangerous. You can get listening devices that fire beam window so you can hear everything [that is said] inside a room.” Such long-range laser listening device can cost


approximately $US80,000, “but the information you get is worth a lot more than that,” McLean says. McLean says that corporate executives should also


be aware of their digital footprints and paper trail. “I tell [the clients] that emails are like postcards – anyone can read them,” Bruce says. “Make sure everything is safe. Some people will even go through rubbish to get corporate information. Shred anything that is confidential.” Make sure you hang out with the right crowd, too – and this doesn’t just mean being photographed next to Jennifer Lopez at a corporate event. “The clients deal with highly confidential information. Do background checks on who you hire.” This goes for everyone you hire. “If you hire a nanny, check out their background.” Kim-Maree Penn warns that it is a good to get a


referral from someone else when hiring staff, and when it comes to hiring personal security, it is also worth looking beyond the obvious traits of physical strength and training – factors such as local knowledge and personality can be important as well. “Even sometimes with all the training in the world,


they might not have the right personality – they don’t speak up or don’t stay quiet at the right moment,” Penn says.


An ability to blend in is crucial for bodyguards. “In


“Technology allows corporate executives to protect themselves without standing out from the crowd. For example, thin and lightweight bulletproof vests can look like any polo shirt”


shopping malls, we’re in jeans and t-shirts so that we blend in. On red carpet, we’re in suits,” McLean says. Familiarity with the local culture helps security guards to provide protection discreetly, which is why celebrities and corporate executives often employ local bodyguards when travelling overseas destinations. Once you’ve hired the security, don’t forget the fact


that you’ve hired them, either. “Sometimes [the clients] keep us waiting for hours at the last minute. Some clients keep us waiting for six, seven hours and one of my colleagues was kept waiting for 12 hours.”


Signal 8 Security is a security company based in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Los Angeles. The company has provided protection for a variety of clients including corporations, royal families, CEOs and their families, high profile entertainers and government officials. www.signal8security.com


FAMILY OFFICE: ASIA TOMORROW 139


EXECUTIVE LIVING


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