Paul Michael Viollis, Sr., Ph.D., Risk Control Strategies (RCS)

Paul Michael Viollis, Sr.

Security Solutions

Editors’ Note

Prior to assuming his current post, Dr. Viollis was President and CEO of Corporate Risk Consulting, Senior Managing Director for Citigate Global Intelligence & Security, and Vice President at Kroll where he served on their post September 11th Threat Assessment Team. Before this, he developed a diverse base of expertise in various areas of the criminal justice system ranging from his position as a supervisor for the New York County District Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Court Unit and Security Specialist/Supervisor under the United States Space Command to Commanding Officer of a Florida State Police Academy. Dr. Viollis has been involved in thousands of investigations and specializes in workplace violence behavioral analysis, of which he is currently recognized as one of the foremost experts in the world. He is also the author and lead editor for Jane’s Publishing’s book Workplace Security and most recently co-authored Silent Safety…Best Practices for Protecting the Affluent with business partner Doug Kane. Dr. Viollis currently serves as a columnist for Worth magazine on security issues. He received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College, an M.P.A. from the University of Central Florida, and earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a major in Business Administration from Madison University. In August, Viollis launched his new talk show on PodcastOne, “The Security Brief with Dr. Paul Viollis.”

Company Brief

Risk Control Strategies (riskcontrolstrategies.com; RCS) is a leading threat management, investigative, and security consulting firm specializing in serving the affluent community, corporations, and governmental agencies. RCS fuses proven expertise through the effectual utilization of a team of renowned former federal and state law enforcement professionals representing each industry related discipline. This in concert with its pre-eminent technological inventory and service delivery provides its clients with true world-leading deliverables. RCS is a privately held corporation headquartered in New York with offices in California, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and London.

What are the key security challenges that companies face today?

The most fascinating part of where we are right now is that we have truly begun to embrace the pervasive use of technology in our lives. Many of us have lived under the belief that we can exist off the radar, but that is becoming increasingly difficult.

In 2011, 88 percent of our work came from event-driven cases where something bad happened before we were retained. We went to 78 percent in 2012, to 52 percent in 2013, and to 48 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Given that we serve every major financial institution, the top of the Fortune 300 across all vertical markets, not to mention ultra-affluent families, this is a massive change.

People want to communicate but they don’t want to look over their shoulders. So companies have jumped into the area of protecting cyber-communication, including Vaporstream, which has developed an innovative product that truly doesn’t exist anywhere else. It leaves no trace of your communications. You can’t even subpoena their records because there are none.

So one growing security concern is protecting the existence and access to your technological records.

How much can you really safeguard against this threat?

The business model of cybercrime is all built on negative migration. Negative behavior migrates to the path of least resistance.

Different criminals look at different markets, so we could never create something impenetrable, but the greater truth is that we don’t need to. We just need to create an environment that is so difficult to get into that they go elsewhere.

There are some groups that are great with containment but, in that case, a breach has already occurred. So we’ve spent a lot of time making sure we build a solution that is truly preemptive.

Once you’ve been hacked, is it ever possible to fully recover?

No. There is no electronic eraser. Once your identity is stolen, it’s stolen forever – no one can get it back. This is the problem with certain solutions that are great at containment – containment doesn’t mean anything about tomorrow. You can change passwords all you want but that won’t protect you.

The next piece of technology that is emerging is biometric access control, which eliminates the need for passwords. In three years, you will see the majority of computers with biometric access control built-in.

How have you gone about implementing the new technology in your firm?

A big part of our practice is litigation support for the larger law firms. You can’t conduct a thorough investigation unless you have a cyber-intelligence component, because you’re processing a lot of information. In order to serve a law firm in any kind of litigation support case, you have to have that cyber component.

We have reengineered the company over the past two years and I’m happy with how it came out, because we’re leaner and more technologically advanced. We’ve invested a ton of fixed capital income towards technology with two very sophisticated labs. The call for electronic counter-measure sweeps has increased by over 25 percent over the past year, and we have invested in another set of equipment there. We’re concentrating more on a preemptive algorithmic strategy and getting ahead of the curve while maintaining that boots-on-the-ground, old-fashioned investigative component.

Are you looking to attract a specific type of talent?

We’ve surrounded ourselves with highly tenured law enforcement professionals and those with business knowledge as well as tech knowledge. Instead of looking to spread out the field in the U.S., we have narrowed it down in the U.S. and opened in London. Now, with offices strategically located in New York, Florida, Texas, California, and the U.K., we cover everything we need to cover.

There is also a big key to be changed in the post-Benghazi world with international travel. This piece is a concern because at one time, we were not respected everywhere, but we were feared. We’re not feared anymore.

We lost credibility through how we handled Benghazi. We have had several embassies under attack since then. If you and your family go abroad and something happens and you say you’re American, it can increase the danger.

We’re also bringing on assets throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America that allow us to provide better security around our clients when they are traveling.