Chair: Martin Gill

Bob Hayes, Managing Director, Security Executive Council (US)
Martin Dunckley, Director of Security at Royal Mail (UK)
Glenn Schoen, CEO at Boardroom@Crisis BV (Netherlands)
Jayne King, Head of Security and Site Services at Guy’s & St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust (UK)

Key points

Martin Dunckley outlines his views on the impact of the virus from a corporate security perspective. You will hear him talk about the role of security in relation to other parts of the organisation, where it was revealed that the full potential of security had not being recognised and was not always seen as a strategic function). Positively, its potential to influence when speaking business language and aligning its own aims with those of the organization and thereby acting as a business enabler is coming to the fore. A challenge is getting security people to speak up and market themselves to others; as we have heard in other webinars they have generally not been good at that.

Martin notes the crisis has required security to take the lead in some areas, showing commercial acumen, predicting and adapting to the needs of its customers. He argues there has been a recalibration of relationships, this presents new opportunities but they need to be harnessed. There may be new opportunities for suppliers too; some companies may look at outsourcing and managing their security more effectively (and cheaper) that way.

Bob Hayes outlines work he and colleagues have undertaken on the 9 stages of the pandemic, which is on-going, not least the assessment of the role of security in each one. You will witness him discussing the very different operational responses of organisations, rather confounding attempts to offer a blueprint. Some countries have more experience of dealing with crisis and others have not. He makes some interesting observations about the ways some in organisations have mismanaged the crisis, for example, where emergency management professionals have fallen short. Security can only sometimes make up the deficit in skills required; he makes the striking observation that a quarter of the biggest companies in the US don’t have a security lead or even a department. In a different way you will witness Bob discussing the need to reframe our thinking, for example, because of working from home what was domestic abuse will now sometimes be workplace violence. There will be much redefining of the security role.

Jayne King notes that in her organization she is surrounded by some good emergency planners, but no one had dealt with anything on this scale; it is breaking new ground in learning. She identified some benefits for security that had been brought about by the crisis including: the opportunity to be recognised by colleagues at all levels including senior management; working in a more integrated way; building up better relationships with other professionals; improved teamworking; engaging more and different suppliers with an opportunity to build on the work started once the crisis ends; the opportunity to think differently and learn about new business models that have the potential to be more effective.

Glenn Schoen identifies 5 challenges for security: the need to adapt to new operating requirements playing both enforcer and supporter roles; adapting to evolving security threats coming from different sources, e.g. economic, activism; engaging with new business models as organisations change, such as home working; and being prepared for a second wave outbreak, maybe ‘wavelets’ smaller confined ones which can be highly impactful. He cautions that security will need to: ensure it has a back-up plan; recognise the need for careful due diligence as needed; be focused on the skills sets of crisis management; and prioritise its position so that it does not lose out to safety professionals. As you will witness Glenn attaches particular significance to this latter point.

Corporate security is important not only because it protects the national infrastructure and the commercial (as well as the social) interests of nations, but because it also determines the type of services that will be purchased from suppliers. It is only in circumstances where there are informed internal teams that the best security suppliers can flourish. The words of wisdom and warnings expressed from this webinar should be heeded.

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