We at Total Security Advisor launched our “Faces of Security” profile series in December 2021, offering readers a chance to hear directly from industry insiders in both physical and cyber security. As we enter 2023 and celebrate the series’ first anniversary, let’s take a look back at some of the best advice, insights, and predictions provided over the past year.
Build a network of people around you. If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are probably in the wrong room. Security is an ever-changing industry, so there are always new programs or software to implement. However, building a strong network around you allows space for continuous growth in your career and furthers your education in the industry. Never be afraid to ask questions!
The security industry needs to come to terms with the growing realities of American gun violence. This is not a gun-control argument. I would rather dry shave a rabid bobcat’s butt in a foot locker with a box cutter than argue gun control. That said, the increase in domestic weaponry and historic political polarization suggests, if not confirms, that gun violence will only become worse and that this damning, and yet preventable, tragedy will challenge security planners to an extent never experienced before.
By its very nature, security and law enforcement are more reactive than proactive. One of the objectives of a good security program is to be able to respond to threats and concerning activities, but it is also clear that proactive measures can reduce the likelihood of minor or even catastrophic events.
The difficulty, of course, is in convincing leaders of potentials that may seem outlandish, or absurd (e.g., predicting that terrorists would fly planes into buildings). Devoting resources to high-consequence/low-probability threats will always be difficult, so security professionals must be able to persuade others utilizing legitimate justification.
As a mentor of many, I would like to see more people, especially those that have been in the industry for a while now, lend a hand to those trying to break into the cybersecurity industry. Just like MLK stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
My least favorite part of the industry probably is the poor perception many have of security. The thinking goes that security is not a profit center, but rather a cost center. This led to slashed budgets and cut corners. So, historically the industry was forced into “low bid” scenarios—and it’s true that you get what you pay for. Like any industry we have our share of knuckleheads and less-than-professional behavior, but that is the exception. What I see every day are some of the hardest-working and most dedicated individuals committed to patient and staff safety.
I believe the biggest security risk at anyone’s organization is how to properly protect people and assets. In my humble opinion, when you boil security down into its simplest form, if a door latch does not extend into a doorjamb to keep the door closed, then that opening is not secure. It is as simple as that.
People don’t realize how hard it is to be black in the security industry, especially for someone like me who’s been around this long. … That’s why I got involved in diversity and mentoring. It became an opportunity for me to help young people get into this business because, quite frankly, they could thrive. There are lots of opportunities for young, diverse people who aren’t aware there’s an industry that has so much to offer. There’s plenty of room.
I think we’re going to see a convergence of physical and digital security. Forward-leaning organizations will recognize that sharing resources, intelligence, and strategies between their information security and physical security teams will bear the most fruit in keeping their people, property, and brand safe and secure. Doing so, in my view, will enable a lot of the capabilities and problems we’re trying to solve today, such as the intersection of identity management, complex role-based access control, and enterprise-grade mobile credentialing.
The No. 1 cybersecurity issue always is the human factor. For years, everyone focused on finding bugs and locking things down, and of course these things are important. But if you don’t think about how people are going to use security systems, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
Hands down, the best part about the security industry is the camaraderie. Most other industry professionals don’t work across different businesses or share successes whether it’s to protect trade secrets or protect market advantages. I can’t imagine a scenario where PepsiCo innovates a new technology that positions them to own most of the soda market but then their CEO instantly calls the CEO at Coca-Cola and delivers them the needed information to emulate. Well, that happens in security!
Are you or a colleague interested in being profiled for the new “Faces of Security” series? Please contact Editor Joe Bebon at JBebon@BLR.com.