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Bright Ideas

In the early 1700s, scientists knew that all flammable items contained a substance called phlogiston. When an item caught fire, the phlogiston was released into the air, leaving only ashes behind. The fact that a fire would go out when in an enclosed space proved that air could only absorb so much phlogiston and that the burning ceased because the air had become completely phlogisticated.

The theory prevailed until 1789, when Antoine Lavoisier published a groundbreaking work that is widely accepted as the first chemistry textbook. In it, he presented a unified view of the discipline that is still used today. Through careful experimentation, Lavoisier revealed that combustion occurred because of the air itself, which contained an element that fed the fire. He named this element oxygen.

It’s easy to dismiss the proponents of phlogiston as ignorant or even laughable. However, as recently as 15 years ago, everyone knew that security was a support function, designed to aid the larger work of the organization only when needed and then to fade into the background once the emergency was over. Today, it is abundantly clear that security and management are not two separate groups that combine only in trying times. Instead, security is a vital component of the C-suite, a fundamental element that bonds with the management function to create a new and valuable resource.

However, to gain a seat at the table, security professionals must hone their management skills and further the mission of the company, rather than advocating only for the security department. Helping provide this knowledge is a key part of Security Management’s new editorial mission. Each issue will provide at least one feature article designed to further a security expert’s understanding of management topics.

In this issue, readers can expand their knowledge by reading the cover story, which explores the succession management program devised by Dunbar Inc. Another feature delves into the practical application of enterprise risk management techniques.

The magazine itself is embracing the future with the launch of our new app. Available in a tablet version through the App Store and Google Play Store, the app will provide Security Management’s reliable content in a new format. The March and April issues are ready for download, and each subsequent month will arrive shortly after the print edition.

It’s tempting to look back with modern understanding and scoff at ideas that are antiquated or even clearly wrong. Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, it is more helpful to embrace new concepts and move forward. We can use all of our accumulated knowledge to innovate, whether through the scientific method, enhanced understanding of management concepts, or an exciting new multimedia tool.