Saturday, January 02, 2010

Security Challenges for 2010 (and beyond)

Based on history and experience, security challenges in 2010 will not diminish – in fact, they will probably grow. Here is my forecast:

1. The economy will continue to play a big part as related to security challenges. As (or if) the economy strengthens, business will focus on regaining that which was lost (sales, market share, profitability, etc.) and will tend to ignore (or at least overlook) maintaining what it still has. This means that security and loss prevention issues will probably remain overlooked until and unless specific and serious problems arise.

2. Strong security leadership will continue to erode. Security executives will be so busy focusing on keeping their jobs and covering their posteriors (the two go hand-in-hand) that they will continue to overlook doing what is really necessary to protect the organizations they serve. Political correctness will abound, usually at the expense of truly good security.

3. Because security is still viewed in many organizations as a necessary evil rather than as a necessary business partner, security functions will remain relegated to lower-level importance and responsibility. This, coupled with #2 above (the erosion of strong security leadership) will continue the seemingly-endless cycle.

4. Because of all of the above, it will be difficult to develop the next generation of competent security leadership. When employees see the difficulties and roadblocks faced by their executives, there is little incentive to aspire to those positions.

So is the future, beginning in 2010, totally bleak? No. These are predictions, not unchangeable destiny. We as both an industry and individual practitioners/professionals must continue to clearly demonstrate and promote the value of our service. We need the few remaining strong leaders to sound the trumpets and beat the drums to show corporate executives that security is part of the fabric that keeps organizations together, healthy and prosperous. We must continue to prove that protecting assets is as important as generating new sales. In short, we must convince our bosses that security is an important, vital and integral part of every business.

The fate of security rests in our own hands. If we practitioners fail in the primary task of the self-promotion of ourselves and our industry, we have no one but ourselves to blame when my predictions become self-fulfilling prophecy.

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