ASIS Utah – January Kickoff

If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Screenshot 2014-01-18 05.38.02My dear fellow Security Professionals,

Happy New Year and I hope your 2014 is off to a great start!
For over a decade I have been involved with our chapter at varying levels – and with varying levels of satisfaction – and I am humbled and excited about how I can work with our Executive Board this year to bring additional value to your interactions with us this year.
I have spent a lot of time talking to peers throughout the world, nation and state, and the most common feedback I hear is “bring us value and we will come.” From my personal perspective and the feedback I hear, ASIS has gained a reputation as being too much about hardware and RFPs and not enough about day-in-and-day-out security operations. Additionally what I hear is a request for is more tours and continued focus on management skills.
Screenshot 2014-01-18 05.48.25
For 2014, I have two ways of measuring success:
  • We will create seminars you will look forward to attending and want to bring officers and peers (HR, Facilities, IT, InfoSec, etc.) with you;
  • Monthly meetings will be something you will plan business travel around because you want to take part in the value provided.
Many of us find ourselves in our current role as an accidental career. I have not heard any child – with the exception of my own son when he was 10 – ever say they want to grow up to be in corporate security (I told my son to stay in school and pursue a different path). This is unfortunate, but a reality.
Security is often the cold leftovers of a retired military or police career, or an accidental path, like in my own case, that we stumble upon.
The great news is that many of us are excited about our current ability to protect lives and property and find great joy in the challenges and opportunities of this field and how it is the “spoke in the whee” in many organizations that ties together HR, Facilities, Legal, InfoSec, Risk Management, IT, Finance, Admins, Management, and other functions.
We are the first – and last – face many employees see. Occasionally we literally save lives, put out fires, stop thefts and prevent crimes. We all share in the challenge to transform Security into something high school and college kids ponder, better understand, and potentially may find enough sex appeal to pursue.
When I walked away from a career path dedicated to Communications, Marketing, and Public Relations, I could only make peace with myself by committing to transform this industry and negative perceptions people have when discussing security as a career path into something excellent. We have great obstacles to overcome, but it is a worthwhile endeavor and I look forward to going on the journey with you. Please provide your feedback early and often. Volunteer your services and break down the many silos that currently exist.
Kind Regards,
Pete Ferguson, ASIS Utah Chair
P.S. In May we will be meeting with the Information Security Society of America (ISSA) for a half day conference on protecting networks and buildings from outside hackers. We will partner with them again in September for another conference and trade show. I have already received an offer for us to tour the new Adobe facility and we will be going mobile by having at least one meeting in Ogden and one in Provo this year (I’m game for St. George as well, just need a local host and a few week’s notice).

The Importance of People in Security

The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots.

~ Eric Fromm

by Pete Ferguson

Within the physical security industry, I perceive there is a continual conflict against people. Card readers are mainly considered force reducers – the more card readers, the fewer people are needed in the security department. Cameras also reduce many posts and consolidate into one control room “tv watcher.”

Additional measures have been prototyped – to include a security robot – and are showcased at the annual American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International trade show each year.

Yet I’m always a bit perturbed by the “industry vs. human” mantra.

Without great people, security is just door locks of varying degrees and cameras. And neither of those save lives on their own.

Yesterday I was informed of three separate acts of great people to further illustrate the point.

The first was of an employee who went into cardiac arrest in a break room. The security professionals nearby sprang into action calling 911 and starting CPR while an AED was enroute. After two rounds of CPR and AED shocks, the individual thankfully renewed consciousness. The officers knew the employee and knew he had medicine on him for cardiac episodes and as soon as the person came to, they helped administer the pills, shortening the recovery period until EMS arrived.

The second example occurred during a very hot day in Texas – over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity – where two children were seen left in a car. The security staff immediately intervened and made sure the children were okay while locating the adult responsible. Unfortunately a few years earlier in the same parking lot the outcome was not good.

The third example is more common. A staff member – off duty – had paid attention and noticed a banned individual on their campus on his day off and immediately called for help eventually leading to the arrest and removal of this potentially dangerous individual.

In both these cases, it was people – not necessarily a machine – who prevailed and beat the stereotypes Hollywood and the industry itself have placed upon us.

You can have millions of dollars in technology, but if you don’t have good humans interpreting and taking action on the data – it is all for nothing.

I think it is time to stop with the overwhelming focus on technology and start putting our focus back where it matters – our people!

The challenge is even greater than ever as the current generation are coming out of high school and college with ambitions to change the world – leave their dent in the universe.

Trying to dumb these gals and guys down to sitting in a room watching CCTV isn’t going to be effective. We have to show them how valued they are as part of a team in building a culture of safety and security and invest in their future – even if their future is short-lived in the career of security.

It’s time to make the security industry sexy to the next generation – and certainly technology is important – but it must be seen as a tool for really talented people. Not a means to try and replace them.