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Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

Updated: Dec 11, 2018

The terrorist attacks witnessed on September 11th 2001 were arguably of a scale never before witnessed in a domestic setting, at least not in a time remembered. In addition to stimulating shifts in the international policies of Global Powers, resulting in the declaration of ‘war on terror’ and the mass mobilization of military forces to lands afar, private security providers also underwent a transformation. The ongoing evolution of the security industry to coincide with the ever morphing threats to the security of nations, organisations and people, has resulted in the designers of security solutions and security operators alike, becoming strategic partners for both national and private organisations.

The legislation and arguably the moral codes adopted and followed by countries such as the United Kingdom, outline the obligations placed upon the state and organisations to protect and care for the health, safety and welfare of individuals. Given the ever present threat from a variety of sources which exist close to and within the borders of many countries such as the UK, the services of Security professionals are increasingly called upon to assist in the identification of risks and the planning and implementation of appropriate Physical Protection Systems. The high levels of professionalism, training and commitment displayed by teams and individual operators within the modern Security Industry, enables organisations within the sector to play a vital role in assisting nations and organisations to meet their outlined obligations, through the provision of effective security solutions. While the levels of respect towards Security professionals is increasing for the services they provide, it may be time that individuals are treated as business leaders; business leaders and strategic partners that specialize in security.

The announcement by the UK Department of Health that it is planning to increase the number of student doctors from 2018 has highlighted an area where organisations, private and public could benefit from the abilities and experiences of Security professionals. Skills developed through training and experiences of identifying threats, hazards, vulnerabilities, designing and implementing security solutions to deter, detect, delay and respond to incidents and importantly to support business continuity are vital to the wider considerations of businesses. In the case of the UK National Health Service, the action to increase students is reactive, not proactive; while it may benefit both the NHS and the UK public in the future, the Service requires the extra medical professionals now. It will be at least five years before the benefits of any extra trained individuals are experienced. Perhaps this situation could have been avoided with appropriate horizon scanning and scenario planning. By considering the core competencies of an organisation, in this case its employees, competitive advantages, supply chains and the risks attached to each, an organisation can improve its resilience to potential incidents, thereby improving the ability to avoid crises.  

This example supports the view that Security professionals can add far more value to organisations, beyond the design and implementation of traditional security solutions. As the title quote by Benjamin Disraeli (1837) suggests, while organisations and teams should strive to excel in the performance of their roles, there is a requirement to remain vigilant at all times and to plan for both the expected and unexpected as much as possible. After all, what is certain is that the complexities of the globalized world within which we live, the financial systems we operate in and the frequent shift in social paradigms, will ensure that the future will bring new challenges, instability and threats. Situations within which Security professionals thrive.

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