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SCIP Members Take Action on Business Threats

June 13, 2005 -

Alex Graham, SCIP's executive director sat down with SCIP members, George Karshner, Arising Group and Tim Powell, The Knowledge Agency to discuss the emergence of a new organization built around the area of business threats. Known as the Business Threat Awareness Council (BTAC). The mission of BTAC is simple: "To form an information and awareness exchange and networking forum between companies and government agencies regarding threats to business."

BTAC origins can be traced to a seminar hosted in November 2004 with the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (now under the purview of the Director of National Intelligence). Both Karshner and Powell serve with two other SCIP membersBrad Leach, New York Mercantile Exchange and Jon Blumberg, MeadWestvaco on the BTAC Steering Committee.

Defining the threats
Currently BTAC views business threats through a post-9/11 lens. BTAC is building an integrated model to help companies identify these threats, and to coordinate their responses to them. These threats are defined as any force or event that interrupts the business or otherwise diminishes its "enterprise value" such as:

  • market pre-emption (SCIP's main focus)
  • intelligence gathering from foreign governments or companies
  • IT infrastructure hacking from outside or employees
  • brand piracy (counterfeits and channel diversion)
  • management fraud (Sarbanes-Oxley focus)
What is the relationship with CI?
According to Powell, "just as CI people are the experts at finding competitors' vulnerabilities; they can also play a major role in determining where their own company may be vulnerable."

"Too often the CI professional is not involved in the most significant and immediate threats to his or her company.  We know of one large company where CI was told to NOT get involved in threat awareness (TA), and that TA was the domain of the security department."  Through their meetings and discussions with both CI and corporate security professions, BATC recommends that security issues be addressed by a team of people within the enterprise (including Legal, Senior Management, and Security), and that Intelligence be an integral part of that team.

Karshner's advice to the CI professional regarding threat awareness is, "stay informed, stay in the loop, add value in creative ways."  One way to do this, for example, is to add information about business threats to the daily and weekly bulletins that most CI departments currently produce.

Who's involved with BTAC today?
Threat awareness has begun to migrate from a tactical issue to a strategic concern, and there are not many organizations that don't have this on their radar at some level. Participants in BTAC meetings include firms from a variety of industries including financial, consumer products, business products, government agencies, and independent security agents. 

How can SCIP's members learn more about BTAC? For more information on the activities of the BTAC, visit In addition, BTAC meetings will be listed on SCIP's calendar of events. Members of BTAC are also planning to submit articles and presentations for future SCIP publications and conferences.

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