Editor's Note: Celebrate
At ASIS International, January 2015 marks not only the beginning of a new year, but the eve of the Society's 60th birthday. To celebrate, Security Management worked with industry experts and ASIS leaders to develop a list of the top 60 milestones in the history of ASIS and the security industry. Each month, we will explore some of these milestones, starting with the history of the Society and five of the events that turned a handful of security experts in New York into a global organization of 38,000 members.
"Everyone agrees Paul Hansen came up with the plan." With these words Mary Alice Davidson begins her history of ASIS in The Gold Standard: ASIS Celebrates 50 Years of Advancing Security. Director of industrial security for Reynolds Metal Company, Hansen knew his industry needed an organization to foster education and awareness. After several years of discussion with like-minded peers, Hansen and two colleagues signed incorporation papers on January 18, 1955. By the end of 1955, there were 257 charter members of ASIS.
The second milestone, the establishment of committees dedicated to specific industry sectors, occurred in 1958 when the group founded two committees focusing on security education and research. One of the education committee's first actions was to compile documents to be loaned to other professionals on request. Over the years, committees became councils and interest soared—ASIS now has 30 councils.
As membership increased, so too did the headquarters staff. In 1995, members of the ASIS Board of Directors began exploring the third milestone: purchasing a building to give the Society a permanent home. In 1998, ASIS moved out of its leased space in Arlington, Virginia, and into a five-story building in nearby Alexandria. The move brought important changes for members, including a dedicated home for the O.P. Norton Information Resources Center, the foremost private security library in the world.
By this time, members were well aware that the future of the organization was global. This led to the next milestone on our list. In 2002, the name of the Society changed from the American Society for Industrial Security to ASIS International, signaling an official shift to encompass the worldwide security community.
Our final milestone this month takes us full circle. From the first meeting in March 1955, leaders envisioned that a monthly magazine would carry industry information to its members. Sixty years later, this issue of Security Management includes stories on technologies and challenges that ASIS founders could never have foreseen. More information on the Society's previous 60 years, including photos and excerpts from Davidson's book, are available throughout the year on our redesigned website. Paul Hansen would be amazed.
How We Came Up with the Top 60 Trends and Developments
Over the course of 2014, Security Management magazine asked more than 120 security professionals around the world—the vast majority of them members of ASIS International—to identify the top 60 security trends and developments over the past 60 years. We requested that they not list or rank specific incidents, since we did not want to get into the business of judging whether one incident trumped another. We asked them to generalize, such as by proffering "the global effect of 9-11" instead of the 9-11 attacks, or "the era of massive consumer data hacks" in lieu of the data compromise at Target.
To make our list as broad as possible, we included security people of every stripe. They come from dozens of countries from every continent except Antarctica. They represent practically every industry and sector. They cover the full range of security, from physical to information to personnel to operations to IT. They embrace almost every security specialty: intelligence, executive protection, training, background screening, officer supervision, white hat hacking, and so on. They are practitioners (CSOs, regional security directors, security managers), service providers, vendors and manufacturers, academics, researchers, ASIS volunteer leaders (board members, RVPs and SRVPs, and chapter leaders), consultants, industry journalists and writers, association professionals, security recruiters, government officials, and more.
Some responded with one topic, others with dozens. The vice president of publishing at ASIS, Security Management's editor-in-chief, and ASIS's director of library services and publications sifted through the hundreds of responses and grouped them by topic. They then counted the topics that garnered the most mentions, moving them up the list. With a combined 70 years-plus covering the security industry, the three exercised their judgment and adjusted the rankings as appropriate. They then asked some security experts to modify or bless the final list.
We hope that this list generates comment and discussion. Did we miss anything? Did we overemphasize something? Let us know.