I read with interest SEN’s editorial recently, which talked about the way the strictures of COVID were going to lead businesses generally, and security people specifically, to be more outward looking in the future.

We have certainly been investing more time in partnerships with other organisations, as well as with multiple security providers. Something I wondered, given the challenges of fast-moving technologies, is what sort of focus a technical security manager needs to have in 2021/22?

A: These observations are necessarily general, but we’d be thinking about a broadly operational focus, retaining an holistic view of solutions without becoming entangled in small things; eschewing the tendency to isolate systems, operations and procedures, steering procedures on the basis of proven priorities; empowering your team with training and responsibility, being aware of company culture and tolerance for change – this includes taking advantage of and helping direct processes like digital transitions.

You need to be across technology as much as possible but don’t take anything on board that has no function – you’ll create unnecessary noise. As part of your technology focus, keep an eye on the bleeding edge – you want to be able to position systems and processes for tomorrow. At the same time, you don’t want your operation to be steered by the variable rudder of current trends. Find a balance of focus that allows finely judged anticipation over the medium term while leaving you open to fast decisions that meet new challenges.

Security managers today need to be complete business managers, with a weather eye on opportunity cost, core business operations and challenges, company culture and leadership, management of human resources, changing risk profile, managing status quo biases, and more. They need to be hungry to share knowledge and strategy with peers, and must exhibit serious expertise in their own field. Bringing business and security capabilities together holistically is the future of security management, in our opinion.

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