Friday, July 13, 2012

Value of a Diverse Background

When selecting an organizational security executive, an independent security consultant or a security expert witness, the nature and diversity of the individual’s background should be given thoughtful and careful consideration.

In general, security professionals should have practical rather than (or at least in addition to) theoretical experience. While a knowledge of security concepts and theories is helpful and necessary, it is generally more valuable for a person who will manage or review security operations to have “…been there, done that.” In other words, a professional who has actually worked with the principles he is expected to administer or review (a practitioner) generally brings a more comprehensive perspective than someone who has only studied the principles in theory (a researcher or academician).

In addition, many organizations feel that a person with public law enforcement experience will necessarily make a good security executive, but then do not take into account the nature of the law enforcement experience. With the inherent difference between law enforcement and security – a reactive mindset vs. a proactive mindset – it is important to assure that the law enforcement candidate being considered has some practical experience with the kinds of activities most likely to be encountered in the business setting. This concept holds true in the selection of an independent consultant or expert witness.

As an example, my professional background is unique because it brings a practical knowledge of my field from 3 distinct perspectives: I have served as a Director of Security for 3 organizations, assessing security needs from a subjective standpoint, developing, implementing and managing security programs; I have served as an independent Security Consultant to a wide variety of private and public sector organizations assessing security needs from an objective standpoint, recommending strategies for risk mitigation; and I regularly serve as a court-recognized Security Expert, evaluating adequacy and sufficiency of security programs and operations from a forensic standpoint.

Diverse experience guarantees both broad knowledge and analytical insight.