Blog Post No. 163
Understanding the Interplay of Digital and Physical Risks: Insights from UMBRA’s Kate Bright
Kate Bright is the Founder of UMBRA, a boutique security business focusing on private clients and their families.
Exciting insights from Kate Bright, Founder of UMBRA, a boutique security business focusing on private clients and their families. Join us as we explore the correlation between online and physical safety, highlighting the importance of mitigating risks in both realms.
To connect with this expert, email email@example.com.
In this podcast, Kate discusses the evolving landscape where digital and physical risks are intertwined, emphasizing the need for proactive security measures. Discover how tools like Experian’s Identity Plus and digital footprint reports can help safeguard against identity theft and credit fraud.
Explore UMBRA’s secure lifestyle toolkit, designed to empower individuals to navigate these converging risks easily. Don’t miss this eye-opening conversation on the future of safety and security in a perpetually changing world.
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Farnaz Fazaipour 0:34
Hello, and welcome to London Property – home of super prime. I am your host Farnaz Fazaipour. And we are very pleased to welcome Kate Bright of Umbra back to our show today.
Kate Bright 0:46
Thank you so much for having me.
Farnaz Fazaipour 0:47
Before we continue for those listeners who are listening for the first time, can you just give us your quick elevator pitch about what you do.
Kate Bright 0:53
Of course, we are a private client focused boutique security business that works with international clients and their families keeping them safe proactively and reactively.
Farnaz Fazaipour 1:04
So we’re going to start with identity theft, because I think a lot of our listeners are probably thinking about all the different risks that are now, we’re facing now online with telephone calls and you know, emails and what have you. So let’s hear from you, sort of from top to top down about identity theft.
Kate Bright 1:33
Sure. So I think when we were speaking before, I mean we’ve talked about on various topics. And I think that the key place that we’re at now, in terms of being part of the security industry is this idea that digital and physical risk are completely interlinked. So we talk about identity theft, or identity fraud. And whereas before, we’ve given tips and tricks, such as setting up your own Google Keyword alert system, so that you are then somewhat in control of your online narrative. But this new tool that’s come out from Experian, called Identity plus, is a really great way that you can be proactive, and this is, as we’ll talk about a key theme for us. Don’t wait till things have gone wrong. Let’s set up as many different ways and precursors to things going wrong by setting up things that can proactively tell us when there’s a problem. So experienced, experienced products is one that I highly recommend. And it will give you an alert if somebody has tried to take out credit in your name. And it will also give you a little report, if anybody tries to attempt to steal your identity.
Farnaz Fazaipour 2:39
On the subject of identity theft and sort of online security, what are you, from where you are, what are you seeing that is happening more and more? I mean, you know, I’ve heard recently of people having their Instagrams hijacked, or you know, receiving phone calls, where if they answe, people can tap into their their phones, you know, in the digital world, what are the things, patterns of attacks that you’re seeing?
Kate Bright 3:03
Yeah, so we’re seeing an increase in the amount of social media profiles that are being compromised in some way. For me, personally, I had my own Instagram account, replicated. So somebody was taking the photos from my Instagram profile, and then posting them daily under a different name. And actually, Instagram, in my experience now is actually very good at asking for your own documents to prove your own identity. And then indeed solving that problem. And pretty quickly as well, I was up and running back in 48 hours. So we’re seeing things happening whereby your own kind of digital real estate, if you like, is under a constant compromise. And so a lot of our clients will choose to undertake what we call a digital footprint report. So like a snapshot report a bit like your your physical real estate report, so you can actually map out and see all of your risks online, and then make a plan to start to address some of those.
Farnaz Fazaipour 4:03
Moving on to the real world and people being attacked, you know, wearing expensive clothes or having expensive watches. What advice you have for how they should handle that apart from not wearing them.
Kate Bright 4:20
Yeah, well, this this is where we’re at, you know, it’s it’s the reason why I think you’re talking about the recent sort of reports of watches being stolen and people deciding to actually wear fake branded watches. Now I’m of two minds because if you’re wearing fake branded, sometimes the fakes can be so good that you still look like you’re wearing branded clothing or branded jewellery and watches. So general guidance is actually unfortunately to cover it up. Or indeed wear it in places that you know that there is some safety so when you’re out about it rather than in the street, ostentatious shows of wealth. This is what we’re talking about the trends of quiet luxury and people such as Gwyneth Paltrow
in the jury courtroom recently was somebody that was really pinpointed as to, if you look very, very carefully, then you’re able to see that these are items that are actually really expensive. But to the untrained eye, just look like, you know, normal clothing and normal jewellery. So, unfortunately, you know, my guidance, if it was my family that I was advising would be to leave those ostentatious displays for places that you know, are safe and not out on the street.
Farnaz Fazaipour 5:28
And watch the similarity between what you’re doing online and what you’re doing offline with regards to wearing your branded clothes.
Kate Bright 5:36
So I think we’re now at a place where a lot more of our clients come to us understanding that your physical risk directly correlates to your digital risk. So what you do online impacts your physical risk and your physical safety and what you do in your physical life can also then translate over into digital risk. So it’s a really interesting time for the industry, our clients, but also, more importantly, the public safety angle. And we’ve launched a secure lifestyle toolkit on our website, to give everybody that sort of easy access to understand where those two sets of risks converge. For our clients digital risk means reputational risks, there’s additional levers there that hold different additional risks. But if you can remember the broad principle that what you do physically impacts you digitally. And if what you do digitally impacts you physically, there are some very simple tools and tricks that you can do to mitigate the risk in both cases.
Farnaz Fazaipour 6:34
Now, before we came online, we were talking about perma crisis being a word that has been added to the Oxford Dictionary recently. So can you share with our audience? What does that mean?
Kate Bright 6:50
So yeah, perma crisis. It’s been in my vocabulary since I heard about it. And a lot of our industry peers, we’ve been talking about it as a real indice as to where the world is at where it where is the sense of feeling safe, whereas what is the future of feeling safe? And actually, right now, we’re in a point in time where sort of COVID pandemic, the World Health Organisation has officially sort of decreed that it’s over, thank goodness. But if we think about back to say, 2009, and 2008, the financial crisis, it was a spike of a crisis. And then there was a flatline. And then there was, at least, for certain people around the world, a sense of, you know, returning to normal. Whereas I think, let’s look at the lens of the UK we’ve had Brexit, backed by COVID, backed by war. It’s like a continuum. And human beings aren’t designed to live in high adrenal stress continuously. We’re evolved as a species to have spikes of when we need to be aware, fight, flight, freeze, and then periods where we’re back in our cave. So how does that translate to man or woman on the street? Well, there’s a collective sense, I think, of this sort of Adrenal Exhaustion, which plays out into not being able to perceive where there is real risk and threat so you can actually become hyper focused or paranoid on about things that may not exist. And then you may miss small simple things that you can do. So we’re all about bringing that proportionality down. We’re living in a time when we know that the constant is the crisis. So let’s try and solve problems, you know, in the low hanging fruit section of our lives where possible.
Farnaz Fazaipour 8:28
So talk to us about how you manage that with your clients, how do you try to help them in emotionally feeling safe.
Kate Bright 8:38
So we’ve never before had so many cross referrals from the emotional support rehab addiction, in the sort of support community. And so our fourth pillar from it physical, digital, reputational, now, emotional safety is a key part of the focus of our work. And so where we’re seeing lots of people come to us from these sorts of practitioners, we’re trying to find a way that we can really support our clients to understand what they need to be concerned about. No acronyms, jargon free, executive summaries that are very easily digestible things that a client can do that day straightaway, or our secure lifestyle toolkit is a really good example of things that you can literally walk out of here in five minutes and do and then from there, we can then ensure that we are working in a proportionate way to look at those physical, digital, reputational and emotional projects that we can put in place for our clients. So increasingly, we are managing those projects on behalf of our clients, as opposed to handing them a report and saying, you know, there you go get on with it. So a lot more hand holding a lot more of the sort of, we call white glove service where we simply won’t give a client a report, we will make sure that we work with them or somebody in their trusted team to put that plan into place. That they’re sort of final part of that is that you cannot put a plan into place so that regularly We’re reviewing it. So we are we are more and more now there’s this idea of a client for life, this is becoming part of the team’s modus operandi. So you don’t just come to us get a prescription, we put it in place, see you later, it’s that continuous review, and that we’re finding is reducing these sort of reactive events occurring and enabling us to work with one or more generations of a family in a really effective way.
Farnaz Fazaipour 10:28
Do you find that they become more self sufficient as you train them, so that they’re actually able to feel a bit more confident about feeling secure, and having habits that reduce that kind of constant requirement for you to be involved?
Kate Bright 10:44
Absolutely. And it’s great to see, particularly when we’ve met clients, what we call the reactive moments, the hot spaghetti moments, it’s great to see them over time, really empowered by understanding what process we’ve taken them through. And the best examples of clients that we’ve worked with, are actually learning as we go. 1% of our clients need an actual bodyguard, but 100% of our clients need to be able to feel safe. And so the process that we take them through enables that safety to be something that comes from within. This is why the emotional support pillar is so important. We want our clients to be emotionally, physically and mentally robust, because that’s when we can work with them in the most logical way. And it actually becomes a lot of a lot more enjoyable, and a lot more of a two way conversation about what a secure lifestyle looks like. Because don’t forget, we’re the pioneers of a secure lifestyle. So we’ve got to practice what we’ve put what we preach in making something proportionate to the life that client wants to lead rather than disempowering them. And we talked about the gilded cage before, we don’t want children to grow up in the shadow of a safety and security, emotional blanket, we want them to be able to go through schooling and then leave and go on, we’ve talked about young people going to university, for example, we want them to see and be in a very healthy digital and physical culture at home, so that they can then go on, and perhaps make some a controlled mistakes, but indeed, learn as they go. And that is the best way that you can create a sort of a safe, secure dynastic approach to security.
Farnaz Fazaipour 12:21
It’s always really fascinating talking to you, because, you know, we sort of try and touch base every, you know, six months or so. And it is something security is something that just keeps on moving, you sort of have to keep keep on top of the new crime scene really, isn’t it?
Kate Bright 12:39
Yeah, risks today may not exist tomorrow. And there are risks to have tomorrow that we don’t know today. And just like we have jobs of tomorrow that don’t exist yet. Our job as a business is to be that horizon scanner. So we are always on deck, o n behalf of clients looking at that like horizon one degree of movement by us we can we can lead our clients to a completely new land. And I think there’s everything to play for, there’s everything to be hopeful for as well, because it risks becoming more complex only leads to more and more people trying to understand what the lower hanging fruit is. And we’re a business that’s designed to make sure that our metrics are sustainable, equitable, able to be used by everybody. And we’re really pushing a lot of the public safety campaigns as well, because there’s some fantastic resources out there. For example, the railway Guardian app, which you can download, and not just be a bystander, if you see something that’s not right, you can be an upstander. And so this shift now from us as a business protecting people in Ivory castles, actually, our clients come to us because of our approach to this sort of more equitable world, this idea that as soon to be called accredited business, we’re part of the world’s solutions to help the future of feeling safe, as opposed to keeping a sort of a guarded eye on risk. Risk is everywhere. It’s how we approach it, and how we tackle it and how open we are to learning about it that defines how successful we are.
Farnaz Fazaipour 14:07
Okay, so from the first time, we actually interviewed you for the show, where we asked you this question about what should client expect security to cost them obviously, with the cost of living crisis that we’re in these numbers are now going to be different. So can you tell us, you know, what is it costing these days to have security professionals?
Kate Bright 14:27
So cost of living has affected everybody, not least of which the security profession, but I can’t remember the number that I quoted you last time, but every client is different. However, demand is high. So what we’ve got now is a perfect storm where salaries are rising, whether that’s residential security, whether that’s close protection, and also the rise in demand for security drivers. People are placing a higher premium on getting from A to B more safely. School runs now, to the to the chagrin of the head mistresses and masters of the UK particularly London and prices are going up. So average salaries are now well, well in excess of 60-70-80,000 pounds plus a year, depending on the rotation of that individual, the hours they’re working, etc.
Farnaz Fazaipour 15:12
For our listeners who want to find out more about what you do, you have updated your secure lifestyle toolkit on your website. Can you tell us what what is in that? And what will how can people use it? Yeah, sure.
Kate Bright 15:22
So we’re really proud, it’s taken a lot of work. And we wanted to create a resource area that we were going to be able to track, track, eyeballs and track, click throughs. So there’s some of our most trusted products, and also links to free training and services, such as the bystander, or as I call it, upstander training. And so it covers every area, you could, you could think of it travel at home, when you’re on the move digitally. And it’s got some refreshed content on there. So that, as I say, anybody who has five minutes will be able to come away from looking at the toolkit with something else downloaded or added to their basket that will be of use to them.
Farnaz Fazaipour 16:04
Before saying goodbye, and thank you, and looking forward to seeing you again next time, is I wanted to talk about car theft, because mine actually got stolen twice. First one I did recover. The second one, we happen to have put a second tracking device in. So although a lot of car thieves know where the first one is the second one, you know, they don’t expect it to be there, although they go and park it somewhere and wait to see if you come. So what do you what what has been your experience with car theft? And what’s your best advice on how to tackle this problem because apparently 800 a week or stolen from Prime central London.
Kate Bright 16:41
Car theft is a huge, huge problem not just for our clients. But for everyone in general. I only recently reinsured my vehicle, I had to switch my home insurance assured that I was going to use a vehicle wheel lock everywhere I parked it and also parking it underground when it’s at home. So I totally understand this, this this rise in the figures a staggering and the insurance premiums are rising. Two things, the vehicle steering wheel lock is a really good visible deterrent. We talk about dogs in the window. We’ve talked about this with you before making things as unattractive as possible, so people move on. The other thing actually is quite an unusual one is to undertake undertake your advanced driver training. Not only is it really good to sort of update and refresh most people, myself included, it’s probably many decades ago that I passed my test. But it’s actually a really great way to refresh yourself on driving safety and travel safety in general. And the added benefit of bringing your insurance premiums down as well. So that’s a secure lifestyle trick and tip that we would highly recommend.
Farnaz Fazaipour 17:48
Brilliant. Well thank you very much for talking to us again, and we very much look forward to seeing you soon!
Kate Bright 17:54
Thank you for having me!
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