Chair: Martin Gill

Paul Macarthur, Director of SGC Security Services (UK)
Mark Schreiber, President, Principal Consultant at Safeguards Consulting, Inc. (US)
Heimo Grasser, Chief Awareness Strategist at SAME and Regional Head of Security at Medtronic (Norway)
Brian Allen, Cyber Advisory / Strategy & Transformation Services at EY, Author and Academic Lecturer (US)

Sponsored by SGC Security Services

Key points

Brian Allen argues that the role of security has not been bypassed albeit it is time for security people to step up. He notes that business is being transformed (using more technology, centralising processes) and the need is for security to be strategic, he argues there is always a place for security at the tactical level, but executives don’t invite tactical people to sit at the high table (think, act, report strategically). Amongst some interesting observations that will engage many Brian calls for security departments not to discuss how well they are doing (they should be doing well, it is a given, discussions about return on security investment are tactical), but to interpret their work in terms of how it impacts on the business. Indeed, you will witness him highlighting the benefits of being associated with the risk business and encourages security to interpret its work in those terms, as a promotion and enhancement of the role. Brian reminds security that it is operating ‘in a context of an expectation of change’.

Mark Schreiber notes that the response to this virus, as people return to work will require a whole organisation approach. The role of security which he outlines will be crucial and central, and more than but including a range of target hardening measures. In an interesting debate he argues – against the opinion of others – that there is merit in security being seen as a specialism and avoiding extending its work into other areas and diluting the expertise. As security touches every part of the organisation it has the opportunity to show value in everyone, the question is, are security personnel good enough?

Heimo Grasser is very positive about security personnel, although you will hear him admit that not everyone even in his peer group is up the to the task. He calls for security to engage with good partners, helping organisations to navigate complexity. He notes that security needs to determine where it fits, not being afraid to step outside its comfort zone. Whatever happens, security needs to be part of the discussion at the high level, there is the opportunity but are its practitioners good enough?

Paul Macarthur argues security personnel have been working beyond the call of duty, not least in one of the high-profile areas, retail, yet still the wages being offered are at minimum wage level. Clearly then security is not being valued. Some areas are thriving but others where security is involved in managing crowds for example are not functioning at all. He is expecting a second wave of the virus so warns against complacency now. You will hear him articulate some views on regulation, some, not everyone, will agree.

There is room for optimism and scepticism in the same breadth. There are opportunities for sure, but whether security is valued and is valuable is answered by a modest ‘only sometimes’. And despite some considerable optimism from its best practitioners it is far from clear that it is well placed to come out of the crisis with a better reputation than before, at least if that means more meaningful engagement, at all levels.

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