Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Corporate profiling is critical part of many investigations. The use-cases are vast including corporate due diligence, pre-hire screening, insider threat identification and more. Learning how to efficiently find and collect information for analysis based on your use case is what this blog post will focus on. There will be a heavy focus on LinkedIn advanced searching & navigating but also look at other data points to support your investigations.
There are some great free and commercial tools available to automate a lot of this process, however in this blog we are focused on how to achieve it manually so we aren't reliant on tools and so we don't exclude investigators through a high-barrier to entry with technical skill requirements.
Having a plan for what to collect is important. There are many aspects that will and will not be relevant for an investigation so this structure is a guide on some of the information points that can tie a strong corporate profile report together.
What to collect on a corporation
Now we have an idea of some of the things we want to collect, we need to know where to find the information. We will break this down into each section and look at a sample of some of the data sources you can target. This list is not comprehensive but should provide a start point and a workflow that is repeatable.
The company overview is critical. It is important to understand the company from a macro level before delving deep into other sources. The reason for this is that you will pick up on different bits of information that you may have otherwise brushed over throughout the micro work.
Mapping out a corporate structure is important for understanding how an organisations management and employee structure works. I.e. is corporation middle-management heavy, is it top-heavy, who are the key leaders?
Recruitment pipelines. This is often overlooked particularly for people who may want to understand how to influence an organisation at a grass roots level. Looking at educational institutions can paint a really interesting picture of potential culture, points of vulnerability from outside influence and also geographical aspects to recruitment for an organisation.
For example if you are looking at potential grass-roots influence in an organisation and the majority of the staff come from a particular educational institution it can present opportunities to target either a cultural topic (school comrades & loyalty) or simply messaging at the point of recruitment rather than once a staff member is established in an organisation.
Professional networks are often different to personal ones. They are useful when conducting a comparison between a personal and professional network to identify key connections that may play a part it influencing how a corporation operations due to personal relationships.
This is also important when looking at acquisitions and mergers to understand any underlying risks or threats based on personal influences.
There is three key sub-components to sentiment. What the media is reporting, what the public are reporting through social media at a macro level, and what is happening in a specific geo-location (i.e. for a mining company etc) are very different reporting streams. Collecting information to analyse on each is important.
Often overlooked but very important is mapping out what a corporations technology profile looks like, particularly around where infrastructure resides (data sovereignty considerations etc) and is there any identifying illegal activity such as Torrent downloads occurring on a corporate network that might result in embarrassment.
Advanced LinkedIn Searching
Once we have a good understanding of what we want to collect it's time to get into the details of how we're going to do this.
When we start searching for people on LinkedIn it is often handy to go straight to the right section so that results are not combined. I.e. searching for people doesn't become combined with results of companies.
Going to this URL will allow you to search directly for people:
Once there a great place to start is the "All Filters" button so you can start applying your detailed search criteria and reduce the millions of potential users down to your targeted requirements:
You will now see a bunch of filters that you can start using. However one of the quick/key filter areas for rapid results is not always obvious. Scroll down a little and you will see the following box: