April 20, 2010, 3:06 PM — The last thing any of us need these days is another uninformed discourse on health care, but I tend to wade in where others have the common sense to keep out. I see a measurably effective corporate security organization as a group of risk-management practitioners and first responders engaged in maintaining the health of the businesses we serve. We evaluate risk profiles, do wellness examinations, prescribe anti-viral medications and other safeguards, and maintain an emergency response capability. In post-op, we (hopefully) learn what attacked a vital element of our entrepreneurial organism and how it did so. To round out the analogy, patients are often tempted to complain about the bill unless our efforts clearly involved brand preservation.
So here we are, deep in the process of building a proactive, multidimensional security program, and we need to focus on best practices. But if we look at the allegedly authoritative lexicon of business risk management, we don't find our role listed. Why not?
Doesn't the term "corporate security" conjure up some thoughts of the enterprise risk-management business? If the allegedly informed lexicon does not incorporate our input into the risk framework, what might be missing from the mahogany row and board-level consideration of risk? Don't we have a stake in enterprise risk-management strategy? If this is the agenda and we aren't on it, how do our business-relevant risk indicators make it into the enterprise health check?
I am going to approach this assuming that we should be on a corporate agenda, one that strives to do the right thing and sees us as integral to fulfilling our obligation to protect our shareholders, our brand and our people. The heart of our mission is our ability to materially impact the risks that the businesses we serve face. So while I'll not claim it's the exclusive measure of company health, I firmly believe that this should be a primary focus of an organizational health check.
A critical measure of our fitness is our ability to influence. Influence is based on trust and confidence. How well we manage the quality and integrity of the treasure trove of data we harvest and utilize throughout our security operations fuels trust and confidence. Providing quality information and reliable counsel sets us a place at the table. We need senior management to engage with the security agenda and factor it into their appetite for risk, to set expectations and hold people accountable. The proof of their trust is them buying the script because they are confident in the competence of the writer.