Ceravoid offers a variety of intelligence services and tailors the project scopes to the individual needs of each client. Services include:
By definition, Due Diligence is research and analysis of a company or organization that is to be expected from a reasonable and prudent person under the particular circumstances; not measured by an absolute standard, but dependent upon circumstances of a particular case.
The difficulty of gaining intelligence in foreign countries and a lack of specified resources, determining the reliability of potential collaborations and joint ventures with unknown companies or individuals can often pose risks that could be detrimental to the success of any business venture. One of the most efficient methods to avoid these risks is to undertake a Due Diligence investigation.
Ceravoid approaches Due Diligence enquiries with the aim to go beyond simply verifying the requested information. Instead, Ceravoid uncovers new information which enables the client to consider a broader spectrum of facts when debating mergers, investments, joint ventures, acquisitions, and other business collaborations. Equally important are compliance due diligence investigations to ascertain that foreign business partners are compliant with applicable legislation, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) or the UK Bribery Act of 2010.
The available Due Diligence services include the profiling of both individuals and companies by means of research into corporate filings, criminal and civil litigations, reputational enquiries, site visits and insight into political connections. Further services include obtaining financial information, regulatory compliance and media research on the relevant principals or companies.
With professional sources across the continent and around the world, information is reliably secured to provide thorough and detailed insight. Ceravoid hereby ensures a comprehensive report that is customized to the circumstances of the client’s particular case.
A thorough, fairly executed background intelligence and pre-employment screening program is key to the success of any business. Losses due to employee misconduct, internal theft, workplace violence or inadequate qualifications can cause significant damage. However, these losses can be mitigated or even prevented by conducting confirmatory yet investigative Background Checks to find the most appropriate person for a position or as an outside expert.
In a global business environment, multinational candidates to positions can pose a unique challenge to Pre-Employment Screening. While easier to conduct in some countries, in many African countries the lack of databases makes it more challenging. Our network allows us to conduct background checks for you in jurisdictions that may not be as easily accessed. Varying data protection legislation can pose additional obstacles and need to be observed whilst still obtaining as much of the required information as legally permissible.
With its extensive experience and network, Ceravoid assists clients in obtaining the necessary intelligence, thus creating linkages between what is known, and additional information obtained. This provides a clearer picture for the client as to whom they are interacting with in prospective business dealings or as a prospective employee, thereby identifying any possible red flags that could impact them negatively as a company.
To expose actual or potential fraudulent behaviour and corruption, Ceravoid conducts lifestyle audits and looks for indicators that, if present, might suggest that an individual is living beyond his/her means or has hidden wealth. Based on the individual’s behaviour, lifestyle habits and assets, the client can ascertain a comprehensive picture of any red flags that might indicate that the Subject is living a lifestyle in excess of the reported income.
Background Intelligence is an essential part of any corporate company’s wellbeing. Ceravoid guarantees thorough checks on all personnel, ensuring secure and professional connections.
Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT)
Whilst often forming part of the array of tools used in any investigation, Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) can often also be used as a standalone service. OSINT refers to the legal gathering of information from public sources on an individual or company. This information can be sourced from news websites, blogs, web pages, social media sites, images, podcasts, databases, or videos.
OSINT is considered a cost-effective information gathering tool. However, many parts of Africa remain averse to technology and offer only limited data. Southern Africa and other jurisdictions are well covered in terms of public and private datasets.
At Ceravoid, our OSINT offering extends to tracings and verification of individuals, Social Media intelligence (SOCMINT), credential verifications and resume-analysis.
Using state-of-the-art equipment, media monitoring can be used by our clients to aid in kidnapping cases, as an integral part of crisis management or simply to keep track of what is being said online about the business. This way, it enables the client to react in a timely manner to any adverse reporting or take note of pertinent open source information.
Our OSINT team can assist with surface, deep and darknet searches and is able to offer the full scope of services from project-based enquiries to full target packages and asset analysis.
Human Intelligence (HUMINT)
Not all information that is sought during a project or investigation is available via Open Source means. Especially in jurisdictions where datasets are not readily available and cannot provide sufficient insight, the human factor creates an additional and viable means of assessing the value of a potential relationship by gaining information beyond the reach of technical services.
Human Intelligence (HUMINT), or Human Sources, is an investigation process which becomes necessary when the client requires sensitive information about an individual, business or event. By use of HUMINT, the client can not only ascertain nuances that might get lost in the public domain, but get a deeper understanding of potential political connections, fraud details, illegal labour practices or reputational issues, amongst others.
Ceravoid offers clients the opportunity to clarify the extent of risks which may arise during the pursuit of these business relationships through discreet enquiries with those familiar or involved with the Subject and their business operations.
The enquiries are conducted in person by our trusted, localised network of sources, giving the client access to information that otherwise would have remained hidden. Whilst often used in conjunction with additional services, HUMINT can be used as a standalone product to gain in-depth insights into an individual, company or specific event and affords clients the “local flavour” they would otherwise be missing but that is an integral part of effective business decisions.
As a generally accepted definition, investigations are the formal examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine whether any misconduct has occurred, and, if so, to determine the responsible person and the seriousness of the misconduct. Corporate investigations often concentrate on the wrongdoing committed by management, employees, or third parties.
The purposes for corporate investigations can be diverse but often relate to identifying the cause(s) of incidents or suspected criminal behaviour; violation of company policies; exonerate or identify suspects; or compiling of information that proves or disproves an allegation.
Additionally, in light of recent corporate scandals and increasing government regulation, companies need to take a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to actual or perceived wrongdoing by conducting compliance investigations.
As with all types of investigations, the success of fraud investigations rests on the credibility of evidence obtained. As most fraud cases are uncovered via tips and rely heavily on interviews and insights of individuals, Ceravoid’s extensive network can assist in obtaining documentary evidence and witness statements and thus supporting the legal strategy of the client.
Investigative tools such as researching public records, open sources and proprietary databases are complemented by interviews with individuals that can support and enhance pertinent information.
The further the culture and legal framework are from one’s own, the more companies need to consider outside assistance when conducting both internal and external investigations.
With its extensive international experience in combination with the well-established local footprint and personalized service commitment, Ceravoid can bridge the differences and translate the investigation findings into a comprehensive report for the client.
When deciding future actions or non-actions are based on existing conditions or on representations made by another party, it is considered good business practice to verify the information independently.
When considering potential business partners or associates, financial threats to the client can arise should they not be financially transparent. Furthermore, fraud is a dominant problem in business across the world and companies often fail to recover stolen assets. Upon successfully securing legal judgements, entities need to identify assets held by the defendant in order to be able to enforce such judgement.
Be it to verify a party’s asset worth or recover assets lost to fraud, a thorough Asset Trace will reveal the relevant party’s tangible and intangible assets, such as business ownerships, intellectual properties, vehicles, or real estate.
Asset databases in many countries across the globe are, for the most part, not digitised and centralised. Asset Traces therefore often require local sources to do physical searches in order to obtain the relevant information.
Ceravoid’s carefully curated network has extensive access and covers a vast number of countries, allowing us to do cross-border searches and locate the friendliest jurisdictions in which to uncover the assets.
When considering entering a market or expanding further into the market, competitive intelligence and market entry intelligence are two vital components of a company’s business development and strategy.
Competitive Intelligence looks at information on factors that affect a company's competitive advantage and can support strategic decision making. This is not only an important step when entering or expanding in a market, but also when remaining in it. Industries today are changing faster than ever with new challenges and competitors emerging all the time. Competitive Intelligence can assist companies in staying ahead of new trends and competitors entering the market.
At the same time, market entry intelligence gathers information relevant to a company's market, trends, competitors, as well as customers, and is analysed. The intelligence often assists in determining market opportunity and how to best enter the market. Market entry intelligence additionally looks at the regulatory environment and how this can impact a business’s operations.
At Ceravoid, we assist with both competitive intelligence and market entry intelligence. Using our Human Intelligence network across Africa we can offer insight into various industries allowing us to go further than the usual open source information gathering. Our reports specifically address any concerns or questions the client may have and are not generic.
We often consult local competitors in the industry, industry experts and officials to give commentary on various aspects of the market and give the client an on-the-ground picture of how business really is conducted, what is happening at the time and possible predictions for the future. Based on the intelligence provided, the client can make an informed decision on how to enter a market or increase its competitive advantage and thus maximise its gains.
Country Risk Assessments
Foreign business operations can pose a greater risk than domestic ones and this risk needs to be identified, assessed, and managed. As we operate predominately on the African continent, we are aware of the challenges and risks companies can face when entering these unique frontiers and emerging markets. Country Risk Assessments are used to help organisations make strategic decisions when conducting business in a country with excessive risk. Although often overlooked in the decision-making process, country risk assessments play an important role in investment decisions.
Ceravoid offers bespoke country risk assessments, tailored to the client's needs and interests. As the risk profile depends on the client itself, no two assessments are the same and are adjusted to the special circumstances of each client.
Whilst providing the client with a risk map, the report and its risk analysis can assist the client in deciding whether to accept, mitigate or transfer the identified risks – based on its risk appetite and corporate strategy. Our country risk assessments consider economic, socio-political and security risks, but can be further tailored to include a reputational risk assessment as well as travel risk assessment.
Ceravoid makes use of its HUMINT network for local commentary regarding socio-political and security risks. This commentary adds a unique feature to our reports that offer the client exceptional insights into on-the-ground sentiments.
Politically related risks can often occur without warning and can have devastating effects on economic activity. Commercial operations and investments come under threat in foreign jurisdictions, creating the need for continued evaluations and credible information which allows for planning and contingencies. Therefore, our country risk assessments can be accompanied by updates that are based on timely and credible information provided by our ever-growing HUMINT network.
Reputation as a corporate asset is too often still overlooked by entities but is gaining in importance and with it, the negative impact reputation damage can have.
Reputational risk arises when negative publicity, triggered by certain business events, actual or perceived, compromises the company's reputation and causes an economic loss. Negative publicity or discontent towards a company can lead not only to a public reaction but also to possible political actions aimed at the company involved.
As companies invest and expand into new geographical locations, reputational risk is bearing greater importance than it has held in the past, as investments often occur in unfamiliar locations where the potential reputational harm by unfamiliar actors cannot be gaged. Respondents from the Financial Times Stock Exchange 500 companies ranked reputational risk as the most important risk their companies face.
Ceravoid uses a mode that is unique to our company and which has been developed specifically to qualitatively measure reputational risk. This assessment can accompany a country risk assessment, assist in market entry intelligence or be sourced as standalone intelligence.
The model consists of four factors that consider geographical factors as well as services and potential business partners. Once all information is gathered the model is used to identify and score the specific sources of reputational risk.
When completing a report, we do not only rely on information that is available to the public, but we also make use of our HUMINT network. Due to the nature of reporting in some countries, information is not always readily available online. Our sources are able to gather information on individuals or companies, speaking to a variety of actors. This way we can uncover information that may lead to reputational risk that is not available in the open-source world.
Many corporations and large companies have vulnerabilities which expose them to potential breaches which could undermine their operational, financial, and reputational capabilities. The greatest protection of corporate assets occurs when an appropriate mix of physical, procedural, and electronic security measures are in place in relation to the assets being protected. This creates an effective protection-in-depth program.
Red Teaming is a targeted and objective-led exercise that is designed to identify weaknesses in all layers of a company’s defences to protect its assets. Unlike traditional penetration testing that concentrates on identifying vulnerabilities in technological applications, Red Teaming will equally expose vulnerabilities regarding people and physical risks.
The purpose of a Red Team is to simulate real-world attack scenario by identifying vulnerabilities and expose them, using a clandestine approach, thereby ensuring impartiality and confidentiality in a realistic environment.
Red teaming helps a business remain competitive while securing its business interests by leveraging social engineering and physical, application and network penetration testing to find ways to shore up your defences.
Ceravoid’s operational team specialises in undertaking such assignments and will look at the system in its entirety rather than silos and thus identify the gaps. This also means that only the strategies that adversaries would most likely use will be leveraged which makes Red Teaming customisable.
By adopting a strategy commensurate with a company’s needs, Red Teaming can be upscaled or downscaled, thus not only being flexible but cost-effective for the business.
Brand infringement and the counterfeiting of commercial goods has a detrimental effect on the corporate sector, causing financial and reputational harm to the licensed manufacturers and brand holders of these items. Africa has not been spared the global threat that the trade and distribution in counterfeit goods poses, often being used as a conduit for the movement of such goods.
Our anti-counterfeit division is well versed in undertaking such operations, to provide clear intelligence in identifying brand infringement and the origin thereof. This service extends throughout the continent covering many African jurisdictions where we currently operate using an extensive network of associates and investigators.
Our service not only focusses on identifying infringed products and conducting test purchases on the ground but also includes facilitating in the entire enforcement process once such goods have been confirmed as being counterfeit. This entails operational support in the seizure of such goods and the subsequent legal processes that are actioned. Our excellent relationships with police and customs enforcement authorities throughout Africa enables us to be operationally successful and results driven in our approach.
The success of our service is based on credible and actionable intelligence, in an environment where a deep understanding of the counterfeiting problem combined with strong working relationships are key to positive outcomes.