The Beat

Cruzin' with Susan Conflict In Corporate Security: Understanding the Dynamics Your engine is revved, now step on the gas-you wish. As the year comes to a close, dealers and manufacturers in the industry are still in the pits, waiting to see the...


Cruzin' with Susan
Conflict In Corporate Security: Understanding the Dynamics

Your engine is revved, now step on the gas-you wish. As the year comes to a close, dealers and manufacturers in the industry are still in the pits, waiting to see the "emergence of convergence" in the corporate security sectors. For you it will mean having to be totally up to speed and immersed in the IT world. Are you ready?

Don't get in a panic just yet. There was evidence of corporate security discussions all over ASIS International's annual convention but the fact remains, companies report no increase in spending for security much. Part of the reason is a slow economy.

Another reason is that you're not quite sure how to approach these people. Maybe it's time for a little study in psychology. A Conference Board Report says that there are basically three clashing cultures in corporate security: Cops, Geeks and Bean Counters. Corporate security efforts are being stymied because of these culture clashes and other problems, according to The Conference Board.

A clash of cultures in three distinctly different corporate departments is hindering companies in their attempts to upgrade their worldwide security efforts, The Conference Board report concludes.

The report is based on The Conference Board's ongoing research and discussions with top-level security experts at major corporations.

"To effectively manage their total security needs, companies must bridge this clash of cultures and create a common frame of reference for this function," says Tom Cavanagh, corporate security specialist for the Board.

The primary responsibility for keeping companies secure is divided among employees responsible for protecting people, goods and facilities, protecting company data and communications networks, and protecting company finances. Managers in these three different company units have distinctly different backgrounds and differing degrees of authority and prestige in their companies. Often, they do not communicate readily with each other.

COPS, GEEKS AND BEAN COUNTERS
The report classifies each category as follows:

  • Physical security specialists are usually recruited from law enforcement agencies and the military and are trained to respect authoritarian command structures.
  • Security units in information technology departments are embedded in the overall IT structure, where innovation and privacy are often admired.
  • Risk managers have financial backgrounds and are largely responsible for maximizing corporate returns, minimizing costs and avoiding losses.

These three units also have different reporting relationships, says Cavanagh. Corporate security exists in three different worlds: the realms of cops, geeks and bean counters. Simply getting them to communicate with one another, without a translator, can be difficult, he suggests to security dealers hoping to conquer corporate accounts.

Despite the widespread differences among these three departments, they have many common denominators, the report indicates. The key to improving corporate security is getting all three areas to cooperate to assure that security is an integral part of the company's overall mission.

Try taking that route to avoid the many pot holes you encounter traveling down the bumpy corporate security highway.

Industry Pulse
Proving the Impact of Enhanced Call Verification
A well attended press event at the ISC in New York was when the members of SIAC introduced themselves to the media. At this press conference on November 4, 2004, The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) announced a nationwide initiative to promote the adoption and implementation of Enhanced Call Verification (ECV). It helps reduce police dispatches while maintaining the crime deterrent affect of alarm systems, and the Association has the numbers to prove it.

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