I asked criminals whether security measures ever deterred them.
This is what I learned
Ask offenders why they choose the target they do and they often reply: Because it was easy. And this is true despite the fact that security measures are in place. This tells us there is a real difference between having security and having security that works, Indeed, offenders tell me when I interview them in prison that they rely on security not being excellent; when it is excellent it puts them off.
So the key question is not the difference between poor security and good security as it is all too often mistakenly framed it is: What is the difference between good security and excellent security? That is the key question to address as we move forward. Some people say that the trouble with security measures is that they can all be circumvented, that nothing works. I believe this to be taking the wrong emphasis. The truth is everything works but only when effectively delivered developed and matched to risks in context. Now despite what some people say this is a really difficult task. Underestimated skill sets Many, including in my view many security professionals, have underestimated the skills sets required to be excellent at security. It is serious stuff. Think of it like this.
Every business process is a potential security risk. An excellent security professional team will understand all of these. Every single person is a potential security risk. Every excellent security team will understand all corporate roles. Every business process and every person will in fact be a key ally in excellent security. Security people who are excellent will understand the business, the risks, internal and external threats, match measures to risks, be proportionate, take account of freedoms, be sensitive to the aims of the business and ensure security complements these. Good measures needed to be matched by well trained people and they needed to work together and that rarely happened It is for this reason that I have been involved in developing the Outstanding Security Performance Awards . I think there is a good case for having standards, regulation and training; they are all in different ways potential contributors to good security and maybe excellent security too, sometimes. But we must realise that excellent security requires business expertise, a deep knowledge base, an ability to relate to many business departments (and therefore there is a requirement to understand them), and to engage people meaningfully in supporting actions that are not always their core interests.
I recall an interview I had with an armed robber a few years back now, but the message sticks with me. I was talking to him about the risks of getting caught, pretty serious if you are an armed robber. I thought this would be a constant worry. He said that he never worried. Assuming too much He was a prolific robber and rarely got caught. He argued that the trouble with security measures and security personnel was that they assumed too much. His point was, put simply, that good measures needed to be matched by well trained people and they needed to work together and that rarely happened. Well he was caught in the end of course although he said he was grassed (maybe, a lot say that!). Security needs to speak up for itself, argue its case: that it is a key business function, enabling the organisation to make a profit even in risky contexts.
Security people excellent ones at least are crucial parts of business, not nice to haves. We have shown this time and time again in successive Security Research Initiative reports. The question is: Is the security sector and its personnel ready for the challenge? Professor Martin Gill among, by the way, our Top 50 influencers in security and fire 2017 is sitting on a panel discussing current trends and the future of the security industry at IFSEC International 2017. Details below: Professor Martin Gill / Current trends and the future of the security industry / Security Management Theatre / IFSEC 2017, ExCeL London / 20 June 2017 / 10:20- 11:10 IFSEC International takes place between 20-22 June 2017 at London ExCeL. Get your free badge now. Visit Europe s leading security event in June 2017 Visit IFSEC International for exclusive access to every security product on the market, live product demonstrations and networking with thousands of security professionals. From access control and video surveillance to smart buildings, cyber, border control and so much more. It is the perfect way to keep up to date, protect your business and enhance your career in the security industry.
Click here to register your place now to join us at London Excel on 20 22 June 2017.