The world has changed and the days of leaving our front doors unlocked have come and gone. World events ranging from the Korean Peninsula conflict and natural disasters to violent protests and terrorist incidents have made it clear to global companies that corporate security is an important and growing function. With the ultimate goal of protecting employees and company equities, security leaders partner with business stakeholders (operations, HR, legal) to drive informed decisions consistent with the corporate culture. According to Bryan Weisbard, a noted corporate security expert, building relationships within the company can be just as important as technical skill. “Security leaders should seek to serve as trusted advisors to executives and employees,” says Weisbard. A good security leader explains the risks and opportunities of a proposal, and then it’s up to business stakeholders to consider that information and make the appropriate decision. Security leaders should be partners and advisors who understand the culture, vision and mission of the company.
Currently as Head of Security Analysis, Investigations & Business Continuity at Twitter and previously having served in a variety of national security roles with the U.S. Government in the Washington D.C. area and overseas for several years, Weisbard understands the importance of building a multi-disciplined team with expertise in: Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), investigations, travel security, business continuity, crisis management, and physical security. The challenge is building such a team in a cost-effective manner. While corporate security is often seen as a “cost center,” there are times when security professionals can use their background to identify business growth opportunities. As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and with an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Weisbard has proactively conducted numerous assessments to drive revenue. Market analyses to assess expansion opportunities in emerging markets, brand sentiment analysis, and developing business plans all rely on similar research and due diligence skills that security professionals use to conduct investigations. “It’s not just about risk. It’s also about opportunity…executives want to know that the security team is conducting cost-benefit analyses to carefully evaluate both sides of the equation,” explains Weisbard.
In a fairly niche industry like corporate security, sharing best practices with fellow colleagues also offers significant value. As a few examples, The Pacific Council on International Policy, the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP), and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) all offer opportunities to benchmark with peers. Weisbard participates in all of these organizations and he also serves on the Membership Committee of the ASIS Chief Security Officer (CSO) Center for Leadership & Development to approve the selection of new CSOs to join the organization.
In order to be successful in the world of corporate security, leaders must adapt to corporate culture and build scalable programs that are both efficient and effective. Some of the best value comes from benchmarking and developing a strong set of industry contacts. Why recreate the wheel when experts can collaborate together to share best practices like @BryanWeisbard does on Twitter?