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Bringing the security industry into focus

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Security as an integrated enterprise-wide operation in the wake of 9-11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks

Corporations now integrate security across departments to evaluate risks and to establish management strategies
9-11 caused a sharp refocus of attention
on security assessment and risk
Fifteen to 20 years ago, security was a relatively sleepy, small-time business. Companies typically hired a guard or two to walk around the property, usually at night, sometimes during the day. If a guard spotted someone who wasn’t supposed to be there, he (it was usually a he) ran the person off. Larger companies had more sophisticated video and access control systems, but those systems weren’t always used in ways that promoted security.

Then on the 11th of September 2001, came the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and ushered in a new era for security.

Transformed security industry

“On 9-11, I was working as the security manager for the private banking division of a major bank in New York City,” says John A. Petruzzi, Jr., CPP. “When the World Trade Center buildings collapsed, our building was damaged – we were right next door.”

Now Vice President of Enterprise Security Operations for Time Warner Cable, Petruzzi has seen the industry transform from being slow-paced and reactive pre 9-11, to corporate security now being a key department, often with a seat in the C-Suite.

“Prior to 9-11, security was a relatively low-level corporate function,” Petruzzi says. “Today, security is an integrated department with enterprise-wide responsibilities. Security leaders, today, evaluate security risks department-by-department, report those risks and establish plans to accept, transfer or mitigate security risks as directed by senior executives.”

"Prior to 9-11, security was a
relatively low-level corporate
function. Today, security is an
integrated department with
enterprise-wide responsibilities"

Enterprise-wide role

For instance, when a corporation decides to build a new manufacturing plant, security will work with the corporate real estate department to evaluate security issues related to the properties being considered. “We look at a variety of issues related to real estate,” says Petruzzi. “Is it located on a flood plain? Is it near an earthquake fault? Are there any fuel or electric power issues in the area or region?

“We also study security issues such as the crime statistics and numbers of available police officers, plus the locations of police stations, fire stations and emergency medical technicians.”

Security checks backgrounds and comments on hiring decisions for the Human Resources department. It will investigate inventory anomalies for the Accounting department. Modern security organisations literally touch every department in the corporation.

Comprehensive training & technologies

“It isn’t just Time Warner Cable. A large portion of the security industry has become an integrated, enterprise-wide operation. Just look at the ASIS International educational offerings. Courses now cover cyber-security, business continuity, chief security officer training and more. Plus the ASIS Seminar offers opportunities to learn about powerful new surveillance tools, access control systems and a host of other physical and logical security technologies.”

The attacks on 9-11 led many
companies to refocus attention
on their security departments

Petruzzi also points to the growing list of ANSI standards that ASIS is publishing as well as the wealth of knowledge made available through hundreds of presentation every year at the ASIS Seminar. (Incidentally, this year’s Seminar runs from September 28 through October 1 in Anaheim, California.)

The attacks on 9-11 led many companies to refocus attention on their security departments. The industry has responded enthusiastically, studying risks and risk management techniques, building comprehensive security assessment capabilities, creating integrated, enterprise-wide security programs that can prevent, detect, respond and recover from an event. In short, the security industry has carried out a changing of the guard.

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