The Secret of OSINT Business

By Roger Davies / 12 December 2012 / Intel Analysis, Technology

One of the specialties of IMSL is OSINT.  And the OSINT business environment is pretty interesting. Other “flavours” of intelligence have their characteristics. ELINT ‘s secret is the equipment by which the material is gathered.  HUMINT’s secret is the human sources and how to recruit them.   The big government intelligence agencies are massive organisations, requiring state funding to enable their global reach, supported increasingly by traditional defence systems integrators. Big business does intelligence stuff, right?

So, what’s the secret of the OSINT business? Now it gets interesting – because the secret of the OSINT business is that there are no secrets.

That makes the business environment of OSINT really fascinating . There are no barriers to entry.  Anybody can do it, in theory. And that’s worrying the big systems integrators because they too see the exponential growth in business opportunities in this space, and they’d like to make it their own. If it’s building aircraft carriers or fighter jets, or satellites, big systems integrators can use their corporate muscle and pretty much squeeze the competition.  You’ve got to be in the big boys club with a lot of capital and industrial power to do that.  In the OSINT world you don’t need much capital or industrial power to be in the game.  This is what you need:

  • Analysts.  Not just any old analysts, you need really really good analysts. The primary characteristic of a good OSINT provider is the quality of its analysts.  Here at IMSL that is our absolute belief. We love it when our clients’ jaws hit the table when we brief them from our OSINT Bureau Service. The most common word we hear  is “Wow”.
  • Tools. The tools an OSINT analyst uses make a difference in terms of making possible heavy lifting (efficiency) and presentation. And the tools available to an OSINT analyst have been revolutionized in the last few years. At IMSL we think that that process will continue, and we use the best tools.
  • Business agility. Being able to move fast and come up with what a customer needs quickly is a huge competitive advantage. And as ever the big system integrators have a lot of business process to overcome in this regard.

So in the OSINT world, it’s a very level playing field. Very egalitarian. Big companies have to compete with small companies. And they’ll struggle to keep up. Jog on.

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