SECURITY MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATE (LEVEL 7)
The course is conducted online but you have access to the tutors, either over the phone, using Skype or online so they are there to help you, plus there is a good community formed with the other students who come from a wide range of professional backgrounds, internationally.
There are five workbooks to complete and two essays.
The first unit starts with a group exercise on what you deem the meaning of some of the terms we use everyday such as threat, risk and impact which was really interesting to see. The difference in perception across the industries and especially the multinational / cultural variations makes for a great debate.
The first piece of work in the first module was about looking at an organisation that you have worked in and identifying the pro's / con's of stove pipe and matrix (cross functional) working. It's not until you really set aside some time to do this that you realise where the strengths and weaknesses of these forms of working are and how they can help excel or hinder an organisation.
The second piece of work in the first module was about what you perceive to be the most challenging aspect of embedding security into an organisation, which for any of you that have had to do this it isn't easy. This type of analysis enables you to see why it might have been hard to embed security into an organisation and also critically analyse yourself to see what lessons you have learnt to put into practise next time. There are very few people who critically analyse themselves but it's a great way of improving the way you work and excelling in the way in which you conduct yourself professionally in an organisation, there's nothing like a bit of personal feedback to make you address issues that you may not have known were there. Feedback I'm told is the breakfast of champions, for those that close their eyes to it and think their way is the only way, give it a go.
The second workbook is the largest of the modules at 65 A4 pages in length, without your own research, and is based around identifying threats and risk and using this in the planning process of security management which ultimately will determine your mitigation measures.
The first piece of work gets you to look at your current employer and a threat posed against them and explain the risks associated with it, it's potential impact to the business and key stakeholders. Before then comparing and contrasting with other businesses. It's a good module as it gets you to think about your business more critically and also compare it with other organisation which might allow you to look at things from a different perspective than just how your organisation does. This is a theme seen throughout the course by trying to give you different opinions and perspectives and think differently from your usual mindset, either because of your current employment or from past experience and education.
Another great part of the module is on horizon scanning and trying to identify future potential risk but at the same time not losing focus on your core threats and making sure you understand the changing world environment that could have serious consequences on your business. So how could ISIS, a tsunami in Japan or the breakdown of the Greek economy have a indirect or direct effect on your business. Or by not predicting potential threats correctly are you using resources on issues that will be unlikely to affect your business, this is something that can be seen in inexperienced or uneducated managers who don't have an inclusive environment where they look for opinion from key stakeholders to form more comprehensive analysis. What one person perceives as a risk another might not identify so this should be a cross functional piece of work.
The second piece of work in Workbook 2 gets you to look at an organisation and consider why they find it difficult to identify threats and risks, what are the difficulties security managers face in getting an organisation to understand this and all of this must be supported with your own research which must be Harvard referenced.
The third workbook is based around security planning, anticipating, responding and recovering from security breaches. The importance of this module is looking at security as a supporting function in a business and how it should complement the company you work for, not hinder it, 'removing the dark art of security' was a great quote from the workbook. Cross functional work is highlighted again in this module and proves how important it is in the current working environment, especially with Business Resilience and H & S.
The first piece of work is an online discussion task with the course students looking at the problem with security managers, critically analysing the role and why it may under perform. The discussions are a great way to debate at an academic level and in stark contrast to what you might sometimes experience on open forums and networking sites.
The next part is based around public and private security. This looks at the growth of the private sector, often now that compliments the public sector, the differences between them and how they manage threats differently. There's also focus on nongovernmental departments and NGO's at this stage.
The second piece of work looks at the range of organisation and stakeholders that interact with your current employer, how they influence them and the positive and negative effects it may have.
The module then looks at succession planning and resilience particularly in relation to the workforce and by not being flexible in how you manage security and having personnel in the business at all levels with a working knowledge of it then it could be detrimental if the subject matter experts move away from the company and take that knowledge with them. In addition how new threats such as online fraud are affecting business as knowledge on them is limited and often companies are learning from problems they have never experienced before or have the expertise to manage effectively.
The third piece of work is another online course discussion on whether security should be integrated into organisations in conjunction with other key stakeholders or stay separate.
The fourth workbook looks again at risk management, control measures, potential consequences of not managing effectively and reasons why organisations don't focus on risk effectively.
The first piece of work gets you to do an internet based study to look at the different risk assessment models that companies use and apply one to your current employer. This again is based on expending your current knowledge and looking further than your current education or experience and seeing how other people and organisations manage risk.
The module then looks at intelligence and how it should be used by private companies and not just public organisations to help you identify and mitigate risk, allowing you to plan for the future better and more efficiently. Of course you couldn't look at intelligence gathering in an academic context without bringing in the ethical argument which is very pertinent in the current operating environment we work in.
The second piece of work is based around intelligence. What it means for an organisation you have worked in, how it affects resilience building. Advantages and disadvantages of using it. Then how other stakeholders use it to interact with your organisation whether hostile or not.
The fifth workbook looks at the legal framework of security management and human rights which follows on from the ethical debate on intelligence in Workbook 4. This is a great module and looks at information gathering, use of CCTV, data protection, monitoring or personal emails and phone calls, surveillance, the security services. This couldn't be more current with the threats we face today in the UK, Europe and internationally but at the same time how politically it is a very emotive subject.
Strategy is introduced in this module, how organisation use it to look at the bigger picture, how security management must have its own strategy but ensure it is interwoven and compliments the overall organisation strategy. This is key if you are going to be an effective security manager in a modern operating environment.
This is a shorter module and the final piece of work is an opportunity for you to submit a short paper based on your studies that you believe should be included in the next material for the course.
You also have to produce two essays on the course, a 1000 word essay and a 5000 word essay.
The 1000 word essay is formative and looks at a recent security management problem or incident that has taken place and you must produce an analytical account of it. This is done through introducing it, identifying the security issues raised, examining solutions, failures and lessons learnt before providing conclusions and recommendations.
The essay must be your own work and be supported with Harvard referencing from your research. It is a pass or fail mark and must be submitted by a deadline set. I would recommend starting this essay at least two weeks before the deadline.
The second is the final piece of work for the course and is a 5000 word summative essay. You need to write and academic essay on a security management related topic which is agreed with your tutor, I'd advise on one you have a good working knowledge of. This should be done using the course materials and also with extensive personal study which must be Harvard referenced. I would recommend starting this essay at least two months before the deadline which is set by your tutor.
This was a great course and really allows you to expand your current knowledge and look at things differently from how you may have been previously taught or through experience. The course is short at six months but in conjunction with a full time job can be very intense as the level of personal research necessary to complete this to a high standard is extensive. In addition once you add in the two essays to the five modules it is a lot of work in a six month period.
The difference in the level 7 qualification compared to the new Level 5 being taught by some of the training providers in the industry is that there is a higher degree of personal research and study with the Level 7. You are expected to conduct your own reading and gain a wider understanding of the industry, the companies working within it and to review historical data / case studies whilst looking forward and assessing emerging risk.
If you haven't studied academically before (I hadn't) then it can be hard going to start with and the course material is quite intense and written in an academic style. But you must embrace it as the 5000 word essay must be written in academic style.
The tutor Richard Bingley was good and on hand to offer advice and guidance throughout the course, on the modules and for the essays. In addition you can use your fellow students also to debate the modules and for essay guidance if necessary.
At £500 for a degree level qualification, it is an intense six months but really worth it, especially if you want to go into security management and can be used towards the Bucks New University Msc in Business Resilience. For further information please contact me at email@example.com