Standards Update

Last month, I had the pleasure of speaking at the ASIS Region 1D Annual Seminar and Exhibits in San Diego. The program's theme, "A More Secure Tomorrow," featured an impressive lineup of speakers, including ASIS board members Richard Chase, CPP, PCI, PSP, and Joe McDonald, CPP, PSP, who shared an array of insights and best practices for our industry. I'd like to congratulate the San Diego Chapter and Host Chairman Darrell McCoy, CPP, for putting together such a tremendous event.

In tandem with the conference theme, I was especially pleased to announce that ASIS has completed work on its PSC—Private Security Company or Private Security Service Providers (collectively referred to as "PSCs")—series of ANSI standards. These standards—four total—will help PSCs ensure quality of service, manage risks, and protect human rights in areas of the world where rule of law has been undermined due to acts of war or natural disaster. Led by ASIS, more than 200 experts from 24 countries helped develop this series. They are the world's first standards designed to manage risks related to security services, while protecting the rights of the individuals impacted by these services.

The effective delivery of aid and services to regions with compromised rule of law often depends on the use of PSCs to help restore critical infrastructure and facilitate long-term stability. Due to the nature of this work, it is imperative for PSCs to be well regulated, disciplined, and properly staffed. The PSC series of standards achieve these goals. Using a high-level, business management approach, the PSC.1 standard covers the financial, physical, and ethical aspects of PSC operations. The standard provides measurable and auditable criteria that PSCs can use in developing their internal processes and procedures, as well as for contracting authorities to build into their business agreements. As Dr. Marc Siegel, commissioner of the ASIS Global Standards Initiative, explained, "It's all about improving business and risk management in the organization to provide a better quality and marketable level of security services."

The PSC.1 standard helps PSCs better manage their offerings and also shows potential clients what level of service they can expect to get. The PSC.2 Conformity Assessment standard provides guidance for auditing and conformity assessment of the PSC.1. The PSC.3 Maturity Model uses a phased implementation approach to implement the PSC.1 so companies can establish achievable and maintainable goals based on their specific needs.

The PSC.4 for Private Maritime Security Service Providers arose from the global threat posed by crime and piracy in international waters. This standard provides guidance for these PSCs to implement the PSC.1 in the maritime environment in a manner that is safe, legal, and respectful of human rights.

This work has broad implications. The business and risk management principles outlined in these standards will benefit PSCs in areas of the world lacking rule of law, as well as those service providers seeking to enhance their enterprise-wide risk management plan. In a nutshell, these principles will support the business objectives of any security service provider.

In addition, conformance to the PSC.1 standard is now required in U.S. Defense Department contracts for private security functions, as well as those contracted through the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. However, governments are not the only employer of PSC services. The preponderance of private sector contracts is likely to increase, demonstrating the importance of a common set of principles and standards. Therefore, ASIS has submitted the PSC.1 to ANSI for ISO adoption. This will promote widespread adoption of the PSC.1 worldwide.

In other developments, our standards technical committees are hard at work on a range of new projects—from supply chain security to risk assessment to investigations. These member-led initiatives have generated record participation, a clear sign the security community recognizes the importance of this work. This is great news. In the past, the security field had taken a backseat to developing industry standards. It’s why ASIS took the lead in this arena–to ensure standards for security professionals are developed by security professionals.

These activities not only enhance the professionalism of our field but advance our mission to promote excellence and leadership in security management.

In closing, I encourage you to visit the standards section of our website, learn more about our ongoing projects, and to get involved in these important initiatives whenever possible. Your participation can make a difference.