For many years Corporate Security has been dominated by a ‘defensive’ approach, focused on protection and loss prevention. The head of security was seen as little more than the ‘guard at the gate’, someone whose actions invariably stopped people doing their jobs instead of enabling the business to function more effectively. Typically, heads of security came from a narrow talent pool, namely police, armed forces or intelligence.
There are many reasons companies tend to recruit security managers from these backgrounds. The police and armed forces churn out individuals with intensive training in the practice of security and protection, and have hands-on experience that is rarely available elsewhere. There are a number of reasons greater diversity is essential within the corporate security function.
There is a growing recognition of the strategic importance of security and as a result security departments need to operate at a much more senior level.
Matrix organizations require a particular approach to management and leadership, which can be antithetical to those with police or armed services backgrounds. In today’s corporate environment, the impact of the security department is proportionate to its ability to persuade individuals and teams all over the company to collaborate and cooperate. This means that dialogue between security specialists and non-specialists is essential.
Traditional security skills are associated with an approach where security is perceived as a ‘dis-enabler’ of business. Those with formal security training can tend to be risk averse, while businesses need to take calculated risks to stay ahead of competitors, break into new markets and maximize profits.
The corporate security function needs people who are happy breaking rules, innovating and thinking outside the box. 58 Studies of security-related professions such as the police, the ambulance service and local authority emergency planning departments have suggested that ‘too much’ experience in a traditional security context can inhibit people from making innovative responses to security incidents. Heads of security consistently rated qualities such as independent thinking, willingness to challenge assumptions and behaviours and innovation as being ones they value most in their team. One said: ‘I’m looking for people who push the boundaries and constantly challenge the way we work.
There is a growing recognition of the value of ‘the human element’. According to experts, many security professionals are typically trained to address security incidents and emergencies in ways that fail to factor in the human dynamics of such situations, including the impact of emotions, perceptions and fear on people’s behaviour. Emotional intelligence is critical to effective alignment, but the human element of security and risk management is routinely overshadowed by the emphasis on technical security skills.
For security to be aligned with the business, security managers must understand the business and how they contribute towards its objectives.
The Chief Security Officer (CSO) is the corporation's top executive who is responsible for security. The CSO serves as the business leader responsible for the development, implementation and management of the organization’s corporate security vision, strategy and programs. They direct staff in identifying, developing, implementing and maintaining security processes across the organization to reduce risks, respond to incidents, and limit exposure to liability in all areas of financial, physical, and personal risk; establish appropriate standards and risk controls associated with intellectual property; and direct the establishment and implementation of policies and procedures related to data security.
Core elements of Corporate Security are:
Compliance and Ethics Programs
Crime Prevention and Detection
Business Continuity Planning
Environment, Safety and Health (OSHA)
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