M.ISRM, CAPPS

Changing times

For various reasons such as rapid population growth, globalisation and industrialisation, climate change has accelerated in the past few decades and occurrences of natural disasters have become increasingly frequent. Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados, and cyclones are highly damaging in nature and are often the cause of many other risks. 

“One prototypical example would be how a Typhoon leads to other related risks such as flooding, landslide, supply chain disruptions, power outages, power outages, damages infrastructures, food safety and health issues — all of which will lead to business disruptions.

Power outages caused by such disasters can lead to major internet and telecommunication downtime in cities or state-wide, negatively impacting the work and leisure lives of those who may not even be in close proximity to the disaster. There is a common misconception that disasters and risks are only limited to the area that they occur – but it is evident that with greater connectivity through technology, risks are no longer geographically contained. 

Apart from natural disasters, recent events such as riots due to division in ideologies, economic inequalities etc. are leading to other risks such as crimes, unrest or even terrorisms. Studies have shown that political polarisation is at an all-time-high and this can result in unforeseeable risks in the next few years or even months.

The role has changed

Two decades ago, a Security Manager may simply have to be well-versed in systematic risk management approaches to avert crises or to effectively manage foreseeable risks. With less developed technological infrastructures and fewer interconnectivity, access to real time updates or world affairs was usually limited to the Security Department and other departments were not too bothered. This led to a situation where security and risk-related decisions usually fell to the onus of the Security Manager and there was little to no integrated discussions or approach to come up with better, more efficient solutions. While the Security Manager may be well-experienced, such silo-decision making format can also put the organisation at complete risk of failing due to one man’s poor judgement. 

This model certainly has to change in this time and age and Security Managers must learn to work and brainstorm both physically and remotely within a wider team – both internally and externally like governmental agencies. Moreover, being technologically savvy is no longer a ‘good to have’ but a skill that Security Managers must possess to outwit preparators who are performing more remote attacks on businesses. A Security Manager of today must be able to work collectively in a team and work effectively alongside the robust Security & Risk management policies and protocols of any business. They also have the responsibility to execute, maintain, and evaluate frameworks such as the Security Management Framework which includes Risk Management. 

The 21st Century Security Management supports that information timeliness is now one of the most important resources that Security Managers must leverage to manage risks across departments and corporate levels. Even within the Security Department, the trend moving forward is to build a team with individuals holding different skills and experiences in cyber security, information systems, business continuity, reputation management and crisis management. 

Security is not only the responsibility of the Security Department – it is everyone’s responsibility. A well-secured company does not happen overnight; it requires the collective efforts of everyone in the organisation. Security Managers have extensive knowledge in security and they should share this knowledge with the wider team through open discussions or ‘lunch and learn’ sessions so everyone can benefit. Additionally, all security Management policies and protocol should be documented in the form of training manuals and guidelines for everyone to have access to. These serve as the single source of truth for the organisation to refer and fall back on, in the face of a crisis. 

The attitudes of Security Managers are here to stay

Two decades ago, things were certainly a lot less complex than they are today. The changes in circumstances require Security Managers to keep up with times as well. Gone are the days where they just have to ensure prompt and proper physical security. Their roles and responsibilities today include project management, critical/analytical thinking, relationship building and leading with integrity. We are proud to see our Security Managers rising above the ever changing circumstances, regulations, demands to achieve total Security for our clients.