One of the most challenging aspect of embedding security into an organisation is changing the perceptions of security and especially that of the corporate managements view. But this works both ways and it is important that the corporate security department are transparent in what they are doing. Briggs and Edwards highlight the importance of 'not practising the dark art of security' (2006, P50).
Security was never really seen as major corporate priority and could often be seen as a nuisance than an enabler. It wasn't until the 9/11 attacks in New York that we saw a shift change in companies which made them realise that their security function must be appropriate for conducting business in the 21st century with the vastly changing domestic and global security environments.
The security function rarely generates profit so the department must show through its actions that it can enable the company as a whole to generate more or protect profit. By securing the building properly it allows the employees to work in secure environment reassuring them that the company sees their security as a priority which reduces the turnover of employees, raises moral and ultimately increases productivity. By managing confidential and sensitive data correctly it protects intellectual property and reduces the likelihood of losing confidential data, whether the companies or customers, which could affect brand and image.
The perception of most employees of the security function is that of which they see every day, the static security guard. Security often isn't the most educated function at this level but by showing technical knowledge and professionalism in conducting this role you can remove the perception of it being unskilled. Thus changing it to one that compliments the rest of the business, removing the perception that security is the enemy and is in fact there to support the employees.
At a higher level security management must occupy senior positions within the company, making key decisions and influencing whilst working cross functionally with other departments. Breaking down the boundaries between the security function and the executive board is vital if this 'them and us' view is going to be changed throughout the business.
Ultimately businesses are going to be more reliant on the security function as many threats such as terrorism, organised crime, and with the greater move to online working, information security and e-fraud become more complex and difficult to manage. Cross functional working between the security function and other departments is key and breaking down those ingrained, yet invisible barriers, is the start to this new age of working.
Challenger, D. (2006) The Handbook of Security. Leicester: Palgrave Macmillan.
Charlie, E. and Briggs, R. (2006) The business of security has changed from protecting companies from risks, to being the new source or competitive advantage. London: Demos.