As the newest member of the team, let me introduce myself: I’m Sam and I started at Neotas a week ago. If you search for me online it’s likely that you’ll find several pictures of a man who is not me competing in Motocross competitions, or perhaps you’ll find a man in Utah who plays in a jazz band (also not me, unfortunately). If you’re lucky you may be able to find a twitter account which is possibly me, but with no real way of verifying.

I’ve learnt a lot in the last week, from experts in cyber-security, military techniques and law enforcement, but the thing I’ve learnt the most is that every piece of the internet is useful information if you know how to use it, and knowing how to use it will uncover entire worlds that even the subjects of investigations believe they have disguised. Neotas know how to use the internet. Before I’d even started here the team had found information about me that I didn’t know was online and had forgotten existed at all. Before I’d set foot in this building, the Neotas team knew me better than most people I’ve known for many years. Thankfully I have nothing to hide.

This is the power of OSINT, and in a world where businesses are held more and more accountable for the people they employ, OSINT is crucial in determining where to invest, how to invest and whether the character reference promising that a person is “honest and trustworthy” is realistic. Credit checks can’t tell you if your candidates are abusive online, criminal records checks say nothing about your company director’s hidden associates, and CVs don’t always enclose all the facts about the places your employee has worked. Traditional due diligence is no longer enough, and I am very excited to be part of a company leading the way in developing OSINT processes, because I am certain it’s not too long until OSINT investigations are the standard practice in due diligence.