Over the last few years I’ve witnessed a transition of the security role within global organizations. The pace at which asymmetrical risks develop appear to have quickened and so have demands for the security practitioners to step up to the plate and lead preparedness and response efforts, often times on multiple fronts. When you mix in the cloud of a global recession, you should start to get the picture. No easy pickings these days.
What does this all mean from a strategic stand point? For one think core physical security practices are not enough anymore; if they ever were. New trends have taken hold over the security suite; the practitioner is expected to navigate geopolitical rip currents, which more than ever, shape an organization’s fortunes. You’re also required to develop meaningful relationships with Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) and intelligence services; which in some locales means jumping right into a cesspool of corruption and double dealing.
If you follow security recruiting, like I’ve done over the years, for obvious reasons, you’d notice a shift in what companies believe to be important trade skills to tackle their most pressing needs. The security jobs I’m refereeing to focus heavily on key competencies like business acumen; conflict management; customer focus; interpersonal savvy; priority setting; time management; as well as problem solving. Most of all you have to bring an uncanny ability to blend these soft skills with more traditional hard-wired security experience.
Another major development over last few years has to do with the location where talent is being sourced from. Companies are increasingly deploying talent at important business hubs. They’re being pushed to where company operations take place, which for a multinational organization it is most likely in the global south. There is not only a greater concentration of company operations in some of these countries, but that’s also where they face the greatest challenges to protect their people, assets, reputation and Brands (PARB). As a result of these transitions the composition of the security team is more reflective of the social make up (ethnicity, gender, and age) of the countries where operations are based from. I for one thing this is a positive change since much current innovation in business overall has been emanating from emerging markets; the security suite is bound to get a boost as well. Unfortunately those of us who live closer to company HQ find ourselves at a disadvantage, which means that like our brethren from emerging markets we need to put on our thinking caps and flesh out a round of innovation to stay competitive. Of course these are mere observations from the periphery as there are experts in the thick of these mammoth changes going in our profession who can provide a much deeper analysis. Part of staying current and having an opportunity to influence these changes by staying involved, networking and sharing your expertise with the general security professional community.