Managing Risk in an Increasingly Complex World


TorchStone publishes The Watch to assist our readers in proactively managing risk—whether personal, professional, or organizational—in an increasingly insecure world. The featured articles, blog posts, and expert interviews address vulnerabilities and issues we have frequently encountered while safeguarding high profile individuals, wealthy families, multinational corporations, and international sporting events across six continents. Now, more than ever, security seems to be a precious commodity. Our goal is to give you more of it through The TorchStone Watch.


How to Respond When Things Go Bad

By TorchStone VP, Scott Stewart

A man with a rifle burst through the door at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis late in the evening of April 15, killing eight and wounding several others before taking his own life. The shooting comes on the heels of a school shooting in Knoxville, a workplace shooting in Bryan, TX, a shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, CO, and a vehicular assault and knife attack at the U.S. Capitol. These events illustrate that bad things can happen nearly anywhere and at any time. People must thus recognize this harsh reality and be prepared to take action to protect themselves and those they love when things suddenly go bad.



Differences Between Executive Protection Professionals and “Bodyguards”

More than physical prowess, effective executive protection is really about the mental strengths of the agents. It is these mental aspects of protection that separate executive protection professionals from “bodyguards,” who are often poorly trained and over-rely on physical force. While executive protection professionals must be physically skilled, it is their critical thinking resulting in a proactive approach that can truly benefit the client.


Protective Intelligence Case Study: The D.C. Mansion Murders

On the afternoon of May 14, 2015, the Washington, D.C., Fire Department was called to respond to a fire at a large brick home in the city’s upscale Woodley Park neighborhood. As firefighters battled the flames, they discovered the bodies of three adults and a child inside the home. However, as firefighters pulled the bodies out, they discovered the victims had not been killed by the fire—they had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death before the home was set alight to destroy evidence of the grisly crime.

Determining the impact and likelihood of potential risk.

Understanding and Responding to Risk

Everything an organization does or does not do brings a risk. It is impossible, and one should not try, to avoid every potential risk. Instead, when senior leadership embraces the concept that risk is unavoidable and clearly delineates a risk policy, it provides every stakeholder with a single point of reference to gauge and manage the potential risks associated with a particular action or plan. A company-wide risk policy can greatly reduce the unnecessary friction that can arise between departments or branches with conflicting risk tolerance.


Don’t Overlook the Threat Posed by Bugs

While a lot of attention and budget is currently being devoted to cybersecurity—and justly so—cyberattacks are just one of the tools in the arsenal of sophisticated criminal or espionage actors. There is simply some information that hackers can’t access. Threat actors may have to employ other tools in place of, or in addition to, cyberattacks. These other tools can include recruiting an insider to serve as a human intelligence agent, using an external technical system such as a laser microphone, or planting a surveillance device or “bug” inside the room.



Narcotica podcast discusses Mexico’s rise as a narco state with TorchStone’s Scott Stewart

During the height of the drug war’s surge under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Scott was assigned to protect a Colombian judge who had signed an arrest warrant for Pablo Escobar. In 1993 he traveled to Bogota to help the Colombian government investigate a car bombing at a school supply market. Scott provides boots-on-the-ground insight and analysis to America’s “forever war” on drugs.


Beijing braces for perfect storm of Olympic woes

Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games will take place not only under the shadow of Covid-19, but as the most politically charged Olympics since the 1936 Berlin Games in Nazi Germany. And under what circumstances can the Games even be held? Will they serve as a beacon of hope after two years of the worst pandemic the world has seen since 1918? This article takes a look at Beijing 2022’s prospects, security concerns, implications for major stakeholders, and risks associated with the event and beyond.


TorchStone’s Scott Stewart talks with Steve Olivas on his podcast “The Commute”

Scott Stewart, Vice President at TorchStone, was interviewed by Steve Olivas on his podcast “The Commute.” From the podcast’s promotional description: “Scott Stewart, former DSS agent and now corporate security expert, checks the bus for possible breeches in security this week. Really, really cool interview – lots of great info and an extremely articulate guest.


5 Lessons Security Leaders Should Learn from COVID-19

TorchStone’s David Niccolini, executive vice president and co-founder, and Scott Stewart, vice president, describe insights security leaders can take away from their pandemic experiences. Specifically, David and Scott discuss the need for scenario-based planning, the importance of contingency plans to build resilience, and the critical nature of maintaining flexibility.


Reputation Risks Facing High-Net-Worth Families

In August 2020, David Niccolini, executive vice president and co-founder at TorchStone, presented as part of a three-part series of live, 30-minute briefings with reputation management, Internet law, investigations, due diligence and risk mitigation experts, discussing the risks facing high net worth families. The program was broadcast live via Zoom, and was hosted by Reputation Communications and moderated by its founder and CEO, Shannon Wilkinson.


Manage your risk in an uncertain world by subscribing to our mailing list.

* indicates required

Follow Us