Case Study: How CERTA uses Videris to produce actionable intelligence at speed
By Blackdot Solutions
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CERTA is a consulting firm that provides intelligence, advice and support for private corporations faced with criminal and other threats. Its researchers, analysts and consultants have extensive experience from the Danish intelligence and security services, allowing them to deliver unique services within the Risk Management & Compliance, Investigations, and Security sectors.
Suggested reading: To learn more about how OSINT is improving best practices in our blog – open source investigation best practices in 2023.
CERTA’s investigators had always used Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) to inform their work, but faced significant challenges in doing so. Their main challenge was simply the volume of information they needed to navigate in order to complete an investigation. ‘The amount of available information is so vast’, explains Jacob Magnusson, Head of Operational Analysis at CERTA, ‘that it is nigh-on impossible to conduct satisfactory OSINT-based investigations manually’. CERTA needed a technology solution to help them overcome the problems created by this large volume of data:
Collecting information within time constraints
When conducting OSINT investigations, it was necessary to collect data from multiple different sources including corporate records, social media and search engines. Visiting each source separately in a secure manner was very time-consuming.
Ensuring consistency and comparability
The diverse nature of open source data meant that it was difficult for CERTA to make sure that all of its investigators were following consistent processes and covering the relevant sources in each investigation.
Quickly identifying relevant data
When sifting through thousands of results, it was challenging for investigators to find key information and to ensure that they hadn’t missed anything of importance.
CERTA first came across Videris through its investigators’ professional contacts with other Videris users internationally. CERTA were already evaluating a range of solutions offering to aid OSINT-based collection and analysis, but settled on Videris because of its unique single-platform approach. ‘What sets Videris apart’, adds Magnusson, ‘is its integrated approach to collection, visualisation, and analysis, rather than having to employ different solutions for each step of our process, which saves both time and money in the long term.’
Having made the decision to implement Videris, CERTA found the onboarding process was quick and easy. The team was able to attend training sessions with Blackdot, which meant investigators could hit the ground running with Videris.
According to Magnusson, Videris has slotted well into CERTA’s day-to-day workflow and brought significant gains to the organisation in the following ways:
More actionable intelligence, more quickly
Videris has significantly increased the speed at which CERTA’s investigators can produce actionable intelligence. As Videris allows the investigator to collect data from multiple sources simultaneously, in a targeted manner, it reduces the time spent gathering information for an investigation. The benefits of this are twofold. Firstly, investigators are able to spend more time analysing the data they’ve collected. Secondly they are able to deliver work more quickly – ultimately benefiting CERTA’s clients.
Investigating on a global scale
Videris has improved CERTA’s abilities to carry out investigations on a global scale. It offers access to a wide range of data sources, including the live internet, and is language-agnostic, meaning that CERTA has to visit fewer separate sources to carry out a thorough global investigation.
Network mapping and visualisation
When conducting network analysis, Magnusson says that CERTA relies heavily on Videris’ capability to map networks accurately and quickly – a job which would previously have been purely manual. The ability to present findings using an exportable chart is also very useful when conveying results to clients, as it allows them to view corporate and personal networks clearly and intuitively.
Overall, Magnusson says, ‘Videris has allowed us to take on clients and assignments which we would otherwise have to decline or outsource. Elsewhere, investigations that would previously take us days can now be done in hours, or less.’
With Videris, CERTA are now able to conduct faster, more accurate OSINT investigations. Videris has helped the organisation to maintain and win more clients by enabling its investigators to deliver high-quality work in very short time frames (powered by ShadowDragon©). Blackdot and CERTA continue to work closely together to integrate more data sources and ensure that Videris’ functionality is as useful as possible to the risk consultancy sector.