At the ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits in Chicago this year, one of the many events I was fortunate enough to attend was the Young Professionals’ reception. It was a great opportunity to see the next generation of security professionals, and the tremendous amount of enthusiasm that these young people bring to the security industry. These practitioners will follow a very different path in security than many of us, shall we say, more seasoned security professionals, have walked. For folks in my generation, it was not uncommon for security to be a second career, after a first in law enforcement or the military. For many of the Young Professionals who represent the future of security, that’s not the case. There are an ever-increasing number of academic institutions providing security management majors at the undergraduate and graduate levels to equip people for direct entry into the profession. Also, there are more and more certificate courses that provide insights into niches of the profession. And, of course, there are more ASIS designations than there were when I started in the profession. All that points to a very different landscape for the security professional of the future. Such an individual is much more likely to view security management as a first career. Consequently, they bring with them a unique and advanced set of tools when they enter the profession. Some of those skillsets involve technology.
Our industry is now steeped in technology. There are obvious examples that are changing the face of security--smart phones, tablets, the cloud, and so on--that barely existed even a decade ago. However, it’s the impact of technology on education and training that is most exciting to me. ASIS continues to introduce more virtual training options, providing greater opportunities to inquisitive professionals no matter where they live or how busy their schedules may be.
Our academic partners are also pioneering virtual classrooms to students who want to build their skills without having to travel to a brick-and-mortar campus. Recently, the CSO Roundtable and American Military University rolled out a new, virtual certificate program, Business Essentials for the Security Executive. At the same time, ASIS has been working with the University of Phoenix to help enhance its undergraduate programs in security management—again, all available virtually. These, and other forthcoming virtual programs from other academic institutions, will help to define the security professional of the future.
The aforementioned developments are not intended to undercut the importance of in-person learning. For example, the ASIS partnership with Wharton has been a tremendously valuable resource since 2004 for security executives around the world. The Wharton/ASIS Program for Security Executives is a non-consecutive two-week course designed exclusively for senior security practitioners and delivers the core business knowledge required to keep security a top concern and a budget priority within an organization. Other in-person programs will continue to flourish and attract security professionals. Like virtual programs, they add another way to gain specialized knowledge to help ensure that the security professional is always at the top of his or her game.
It’s an exciting time to serve as the President of ASIS, and I look forward to watching the industry continue to grow and evolve as a new generation of professionals, armed with new technology and educational opportunities, joins the workforce. I wish you all the best for the future as you continue to flourish individually and to contribute to this great profession to which we belong.