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Security management in large corporations


We present a series of security management trends in large corporations from a vision from Spain with international scope.

By José Ignacio Olmos Casado*

At present, the organization and trend, both in the day to day and in the fulfillment of its future objectives, of the corporate security departments, is articulated based on the following characteristics:

• The security director as a risk manager: beyond what the national private security regulations establish among his functions, the security director has become, following the Anglo-Saxon model, a manager of the different risks that may affect his corporation, bringing together the various branches of integral security. In this ideal model of organization, which is not yet predominant among companies, security depends on Senior Management and all security matters depend on it.

Figure 1. Source: authors.

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• Security as a scientific process: security is not a random process, nor a fashion as it seems to occur frequently today in the installation of systems, but it is a scientific process based on logic; That is why a detailed study and a proper risk analysis is necessary before implementing any type of measures.

The construction of the model must revolve around the security director as a reputable and highly qualified professional, who must exercise a role absolutely based on leadership with respect to his team and the department he leads, assuming responsibilities and executing decision-making.

• Dependence of the Senior Management: the director of the security department must have direct dependence on the highest executive level of the company, due to the criticality for the company of the matters that are the competence of his department. The security director must be a recurring element in the important actions of the company, adopting a strategic position within it.

• Objectives of the security department in line with the objectives of the company: the security department must not be an island within the organization, cannot wage war on its own or have its own objectives different from those of the company.

The objectives of the department have to be aligned with those of the corporation, since, like any department of the company, it serves the interests of the company. That goes through the imperative need to know the business, both at the sector level and the internal functioning of the company where it is framed.

• The Security Department as part of the company: security is one more department of the company and can provide differential value to the organization (ESRM Model - Enterprise Security Risk management). The safety directors must speak the same language as the rest of the managers to have weight in the Management Committee.

• Evolution towards a management system: step from a mechanistic model, which considers safety as a service, product or person, to a management model that considers safety as a strategic process, using a methodology based on quality management.

Figure 2. Source: José Manuel García Diego

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• Use of technology: the advance of technology allows us to go further and optimize resources, reducing budgets.

• Big data: Treatment of data as an essential element to know what is happening in real time, and that supports decision-making and helps justify them.

Currently, with respect to security services and what we pointed out earlier, the following characteristics are given:
• A general trend towards a decrease in armed services, except where there is a legal obligation and in critical infrastructure.

• Significant decrease in pure surveillance services as traditionally conceived. Technological advances make it possible to reduce the human element and, in addition, financially the technical means can be amortized; Therefore, we are heading towards a scenario in which a combination of technology with human resources is made.

• In line with the above, there is a transformation of surveillance into supervision, performing services remotely and on the other hand providing specific response service to incidents; As we can see, there is a decrease in human elements on the one hand and a transformation of these on the other, accompanied by technical support and the possibilities that technology allows.

• Importance of the specialization of the security director as a qualified professional and of his leadership in the management of the specialists of his team as a resource.

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• In accordance with the two previous premises, adequate training is essential at all levels and particularly in the technological field within surveillance and in the field of leadership in security managers.

From my point of view, in this changing environment there are new threats that force us to look for new solutions in terms of security and its management.

Among the new threats we can point out:

• VUCA environment: refers to the English terms: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Volatility. In today's reality, especially applied to the business environment, it is the speed at which a great deal of change can occur.
• Crisis: at present and after the Covid pandemic it is occurring not only in the economic field, but there is also a crisis of values, a major cultural shock as a result of globalization, and an existential crisis in the personal that is having an impact on the labor market.
• Globalization: as we pointed out, for better and worse, globalization also affects and globalizes threats (migratory movements, transnational organized crime, cybercrime ...).
• Increase in crime, as a result of some of the factors mentioned above, which cause and will continue to cause increasing social unrest.
• International terrorism, continues to be present, in particular that of jihadist etiology, with some small local spikes.
• Cyberspace as a new playground for criminals.

These new threats force us to new solutions, some of which we have already pointed out, and which could be summarized as follows:

• Technological: based on taking advantage of technological advances to implement solutions that affect risks and optimize costs.

• Digitization: Obtaining, collecting and processing data for decision making. It allows to know the situation in real time and justify the decisions taken.

• Standardization: Tendency to certification under standards. It is increasingly common to obtain certifications in international standards; This benefits the company and guarantees a certain level of compliance against the standard. Of special relevance here is that of the security management professional as an expert who advises on consulting issues and is able to audit competently both internally and externally in companies; Interesting figure, also as an external advisor of companies without security department or as an "implant" figure in departments with few own human resources.

• Intelligence, analysis, prospective: Predictive security is sought compared to traditional "forensic" security. We seek anticipation for the best risk management understood in a global way and to be able to contribute to the business.

• Integral Security: all this under the approach of the convergence of securities in a single security, based on the security director as a fundamental figure who leads and on the security department as a fundamental axis of management and change, making security become a strategic process for companies, under standards and governed by effectiveness and efficiency in achieving results and fully aligned with business objectives.

We can say that the concept of security, and therefore that of your department, is in continuous evolution; Thus, we can point out different phases:
• At first we can talk about subjective security, in which security is basically a product. It is an eminently dissuasive security, with armed vigilantes and a predominance of physical security measures, and very focused on an exhaustive list of threats.

• In a second moment, in which we would currently find ourselves in a majority way, we talk about technological security, in which security is constituted as one more department. It is a security marked by the emergence of ICT; Hardware and software are rapidly developing. It is a security in which access control systems, video recordings, etc. are implemented, and there is an abundance of information; At the same time, security continues to be dissuasive and monitored from control centers.

• The final step, to which one should tend, is that composed of organizational security, in which security is constituted as a process. Here, security is part of the strategic direction, which is always ideal. Security is managed and goals are set. Management systems appear and that management is executed against standards. There are safety indicators that can be reviewed by senior management.

Figure 3. Source: José Manuel García Diego.

Thus, there are two main approaches to security: administer versus manage. Mere administration does not need specialized figures, but it does not bring any value to the organization. The field of management, however, refers to carrying out an initiative or project, and involves planning, developing, controlling and acting.

* José Ignacio Olmos Casado, Head of operational security control at Renfe EP
* For more information, visit the INISEG website. You will find the best training and career opportunities in the area of Global Security:

Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Author: Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Jefe Editorial en Latin Press, Inc,.
Comunicador Social y Periodista con experiencia de más de 16 años en medios de comunicación. Apasionado por la tecnología y por esta industria. [email protected]

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