CSO roundtable: The economy’s effect on security management

ASIS International CSO Roundtable members talk strategy for security in tough times


How do you make your security department even more nimble and able to focus quickly on emerging concerns?

Fountain: The short answer is by opening up and becoming more transparent to the leadership and workforce. We have made a concerted effort to become more engaged in activities rather than succumb to the temptation of pulling in and husbanding one’s resources. This has made us more aware of potential challenges before they become issues. It has also made it easier to spread the responsibility for security more equitably and appropriately.

Becker: It is actually easier because reduced headcount forces you to get closer to the client businesses and, and with fewer administrative tasks due to lower headcount, you have more time to engage on emerging issues.

Osborne: The security strategy being implemented moves from a compliance-based approach to a performance-based program. A performance-based program immediately provides a measured value back to management and holds each individual site accountable for their performance. This strategy ensures the proper physical security components as well as human resources are in place, thus increasing effectiveness and cost efficiency. The performance-based program allows for early identification of trends and potential issues associated with each site. A defined and robust information collection program further detects issues and trends affecting the protection of critical areas. The most important aspect is to train the individuals responsible for the security activities at each site and to provide clear guidelines and expectations.

Baley: If we learned anything from this experience, it is that you need to revisit and revise your strategic plan. If it is not already a dynamic plan focused in part as a learning model to predict future events and trends, it really needs to be. Our old model of being, in large part, a response driven function needs to be challenged and changed. We are probably not going to have the luxury of surplus resources, including personnel, just in case they are needed. We are going to need to be focused more on predictive modeling and prevention methodologies to more effectively manage resources and protect our assets. We are also going to need to identify more synergies for collaboration with other business units. The days of siloed functionality and the total autonomy of corporate security are probably over.