Case Study

Risk management innovation

  • Global
  • Security Consulting
Optimisation of Global Security Operations Centres

For 43 years, Control Risks has played a key role in helping our clients identify, monitor and manage critical business risks and respond to disruptions around the world. As the pace of business, the complexity of risk and the hunger for rapid data-driven response have all increased, our solutions have evolved to enable our clients’ growth and help them maximise their profits and protect their brands – all through the intelligent use of risk. One such innovation is the optimisation of Global Security Operations Centres (GSOCs) and the need to align them seamlessly with the core business.

Today, risk management functions and security departments face an unprecedented array of external and internal challenges as they try to right-size their risk monitoring and incident response functions and tie both more closely to strategic business goals. First, there has been a radical expansion in “reasonably foreseeable” risks geographically. Second, the amount of threat information and the number of potential data feeds available to analysts and risk managers have turned threat and risk monitoring into a big data problem. Third, across sectors, business leadership is expecting real-time or even predictive data-driven decision making using tangible and digestible metrics. And last, all of this is occurring while companies are increasingly focused on efficiency and asking risk management professionals to do more with less. 

A technology-enabled and business-centric approach to GSOC optimisation – innovating with Uber

Control Risks pioneered a holistic, technology-enabled and business-centric approach to GSOC optimisation for our clients. We have combined our traditional strengths in real-time threat information and intelligence, security staffing, global security risk management, travel security and incident response with evolving technology in data analytics, artificial intelligence and visualisation. 

Our partnership with Uber, the global ridesharing company, on this project began in early 2018. 
Control Risks was tasked to transform Uber’s GSOC from a physical security alarm and alert monitoring function to a business-enabling corporate asset.

Uber’s aims were

  • to improve the efficiency of its GSOC’s traditional job of monitoring core security functions while enabling rapid response to incidents
  • to use the GSOC as a tool to help the company fulfil its corporate values and commitments to its employees and customers in 600+ cities across 65 countries
  • to execute critical risk-based business decision making, such as capping of surge pricing (detailed below)

Further, the security and risk management team at Uber saw the opportunity to play a key role in Uber’s mission and enhance the company’s brand.

With Uber’s vision in mind, Control Risks supported in three key areas:

1. Optimisation of staff talent: A team of 13 security, intelligence and data science professionals, speaking ten languages and with the experience of working in 23 countries, now staff the newly designed GSOC of Uber. Critical to the project’s success was to select a variety of skillsets to achieve the optimal mix on the team.  

2. Security training and oversight: Control Risks produced a customised onboarding that included expert training around risk analysis, crisis intervention, and crisis communications training as well as behavioural analysis techniques to be applied to the GSOC.

3. Building a technology-enabled solution to support the staff at the GSOC: Control Risks worked with Uber to build a joint technology solution which represents a truly cutting-edge approach to managing security operations centres. The aim was to enable the GSOC to consolidate monitoring and response functions across the enterprise under one roof, allowing analysts to see alerts across a wide spectrum of risk sets and prioritise them based on the severity of potential impact to people and the business. Together, we are building a centralised data warehouse and workbench application as the primary aggregator of data in which Control Risks’ analysts are working. The application centralises data sources such as D3, S2, Everbridge and other Uber-licenced software applications as well as Control Risks’ risk monitoring toolkit CORE. The team has also established a system to amass and share internal intelligence based on past incidents and therefore auto-suggest appropriate crisis protocols based on the type of incident – the beginning of functional machine learning in the GSOC.  

Safe-guarding Uber’s operations

With these measures in place, the GSOC team now functions as a direct arm of the business itself and plays an integral role to protect Uber’s reputational health, brand and operations. As an example, in order to live its corporate values, it is critical for Uber to quickly recognise when a disruption such as a terrorist attack has impacted customers and drivers in a specific location and then react immediately to ensure the safety of drivers and give customers as many options as possible to exit the area at minimal cost. To meet this requirement, the GSOC team is now able to identify a disruption in real-time, evaluate the impact to the community and local drivers, and make the decision to cap surge pricing for Uber riders. Thanks to the upgraded analytical talent on the team and the technology available to them as well as a clear set of business priorities, the GSOC team now makes these decisions independently and functions as a critical arm of Uber’s business. 

Innovation continues

Leveraging Control Risks’ expertise and Uber’s uniquely powerful technical infrastructure and in-house capabilities, the team is working on a plan to use machine learning and analytics to build in a predictive element to incident tracking and increase the capture rate of incidents around the world. They are also exploring new ways to better identify and filter high-risk activity, hone risk assessments in real time and categorise and summarise incidents. 
Finally, the team is exploring advanced visualisation methods to provide dashboards and offer analysts the ability to make real-time, data-driven decisions. Uber sees the benefit of aligning the GSOC seamlessly with both its core values and its strategic priorities. The combination of technological and analytical innovations make Uber a pioneer for the next generation of business-enabling GSOCs.

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