When Bruce Canal, CPP, was asked would he recommend security management as a career to others, he emphatically responded, “Yes, for those who have a servant’s heart!” This term, a “servant’s heart” has defined Canal’s 30-year security career from his 18 years as an Indiana State Police officer to his current role as president of Social Net Watcher (SNW).
When Canal retired from the police force in 1998, it was a natural transition to enter private security. However, he notes that though both are in the same field, they are not identical. “Think of law enforcement as the dentist and security as the dental hygienist. Both work with teeth, but one extracts the problem and the other works at preventing problems,” he says.
Canal attributes two things to his successful career transition: earning his master’s degree in business and achieving his Certified Protection Professional (CPP)® designation in 1997. Of the two, “Earning my CPP was the best decision I ever made in my security career,” he states.
To Canal, the CPP demonstrates to clients, employers, and peers that he is a security practitioner who has learned
his craft, worked hard, paid his dues, and accomplished something difficult. Additionally, the CPP continuously benefits Canal by forcing him to stay current “on all things security,” he states. He notes that this is the main difference between the ASIS certification and earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree, which can have occurred several years previously, meaning that “most of the information is long forgotten or out of date.”
Canal’s successful career metamorphosis has also been aided by ASIS membership. He joined the Society in 1996. “It opens doors. It is up to the individual to walk through the doors, but ASIS is the most prestigious group in the world for security professionals and this lends immediate credibility,” he explains.
Many professional doors have opened for Canal during the last 20 years, including serving as corporate head of security for Redcats USA, Matrix Systems’ operations director, director of physical security for Cummins, Inc., and director of physical security for Anthem Health Insurance. While at Anthem, Canal oversaw the construction of the company’s corporate situational awareness and response center, a $1 million command center that took nine months to construct and can withstand most natural or man-made catastrophes.
In 2011, Canal started SNW, a school security software company that protects students using social media. He was appointed president and CEO in 2013. With his team’s efforts, SNW was propelled from a startup to its present position as the U.S.’s primary social media software firm for K-12 school districts.
It’s the SNW software that resulted in Canal’s most cherished professional memory when a severely depressed boy was saved from suicide. SNW picked up the Facebook post of the boy—who was severely depressed because of parental problems—threatening to kill himself. The message was relayed to school officials, who interceded, and got help for the student, who is alive and well today.