Q&A: Event Security
Print Issue: January 2018
The ASIS 2017 Book of the Year is Managing Critical Incidents and Large-Scale Event Security by Eloy Nuñez and Ernest G. Vendrell. The authors spoke to Security Management about security trends and challenges in the event industry.
Q. What are some of the biggest challenges facing the event security industry today?
A. An overreliance on technology is a major challenge. We tend to think that a wall or a fence will keep the bad guys out, and it does help a lot, but in and of itself it's not going to solve our problems. We know that every fence and wall can be breached, and every technology that one can think of can be counteracted. It takes an active observation of the technology and how it's working. Another challenge is a sense of complacency–the idea that someone else is watching. That tends to make us less alert. Communication also becomes so important, especially when you're dealing with a variety of participants. It's essentially impossible to achieve requisite levels of coordination and collaboration without that effective communication.
Q. How has the event security space evolved over the last few decades?
A. Three factors have made us more effective and efficient than in the past: computer processing speed, the miniaturization of technology, and the interconnectedness of people via devices. The improvements to technology have been outstanding. We're now able to process information more quickly. The interconnectedness allows us to communicate, collaborate, and crowdsource for information. There are so many different people from disparate backgrounds and agencies. We all get together and plan things out, and the byproduct is that we learn from each other.
Q. Your book draws on lessons learned from past events. What are some of the overarching themes in those lessons?
A. Given the complexities of critical incident management and large-scale event planning, we try to simplify things as best we can so that everyone is able to execute those plans. It takes a well-trained, diversified, and committed team that has clear goals and objectives. Have the team that you put in place practice as much as possible, and institute training that's relevant, realistic, and replicates the environment that you're working in.
Q. Given the range of threats to the live event industry, how can security professionals share information to help mitigate those challenges?
A. Networking is so critical. One thing we wrote about was that, in the public safety arena, we were great at identifying lessons learned, but the problem was that we weren't applying those lessons. Conferences like the ASIS annual seminar and exhibits), where you have professionals sharing lessons learned and how they applied them, are so important in terms of professionalization and collectively doing a better job moving forward. Identifying contacts ahead of time and getting to know them before there's a problem is critical. That way when an unforeseen incident occurs, you have the right parties on speed-dial.