At the Frontline: ASIS President Richard Widup

Widup discusses his goals for the upcoming year, trends impacting security professionals


SIW: Last year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon reminded everyone terrorists can and will strike the U.S. domestically if given the opportunity. What impact do you think this event will have on the industry moving forwards, especially as it pertains to the relationship between the private and public sector?

Widup: There are a couple of aspects that I think are troubling. Terrorism, kidnapping, extortion, travel security threats and challenges - those are going to continue to be ever-present, especially whenever geo-political risks increase or as crises evolve. That’s a challenge for security professionals because as businesses have begun to become more global, we have colleagues that are traveling throughout the world on business and we have to stay ahead of the curve on information regarding what are the risks in a region and is it safe for this person to travel? If they travel and we need to extract them, can we do it efficiently, quickly and safely? That’s on the internal side.

On the external side, I think what’s important and a lot of companies and organizations that security practitioners work with are sharing a lot of information daily, if not hourly in some instances, on threats as they evolve. The sharing of information amongst security practitioners and with law enforcement is going to continue to be more important that it has ever been. Public-private partnerships I think are evolving into not a nice to have, but a got to have kind of a situation. For example, I work with federal and local law enforcement almost daily on several of the programs that we manage here in our corporate security team and I know first-hand that these agencies do not have the resources that they used to. They’re relying, more often than not, on the private partners to assist them on a host of endeavors. We have situations where a lot of the private sector companies are training law enforcement on new emerging challenges. We’re providing video feeds from our buildings and tying them into municipal video camera command centers. I sense that the trend is growing by leaps and bounds and I think that’s good for local law enforcement and first responders and it is really good for the security profession.