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In the Spotlight: ASIS International UK Chapter

by Brian Sims

ASIS International’s annual Leadership Meeting allows delegates to share information, participate in leadership training, collaborate on solutions to common problems and network with their peers. The UK Chapter was well-represented at last month’s gathering, with Chapter chairman David Clark CPP PCI PSP, Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI and Bruce Braes CSyP FSyI CPP CMIRM all in attendance. Mike Hurst reports from Arlington, Virginia.

Reflecting on past events, the ASIS International Leadership Meeting and Conference – which ran from 17-19 January – was orchestrated to attract the organisation’s regional leaders, ASIS Council vice-presidents and directors. Last year, and for the first time, it was opened out to encompass Chapter leaders as well. This makes a great deal of sense.

ASIS International’s UK Chapter is the fourth largest in the world and boasts more members than many regions, so having the opportunity to meet with colleagues and friends from across the globe, share ideas and learn from each other is invaluable. It really is an international event. This time around, I met with ASIS volunteer leaders from Ghana, Nigeria, the Middle East, India, Panama, Mexico and right across Europe.

During the plenary sessions, the topic of diversity was at the forefront, echoing the current mood around the desired need for a change in attitudes. An excellent Keynote presentation from experienced ASIS executive and volunteer leader Velma Hart FASAE CAE stressed not only the moral and ethical reasons for ensuring diversity and fairness in the workplace, but also majored on the business case, making the salient point that businesses are better when there’s a diverse and fair working environment in situ.

Jeremy Ornstein is the chief Human Resources (HR) officer for ASIS International, and responsible for all HR functions in support of the organisation’s mission. Prior to joining ASIS, Ornstein served as HR director for the National Committee for Quality Assurance and in HR at the American University. At the 2018 Leadership Meeting, Ornstein made the point that an inclusive, open and tolerant workplace is also applicable to the work of volunteer organisations and urged all volunteer leaders in attendance to ensure that they continue to maintain the very highest standards.

Developing the Internet

The ASIS International website has been the subject of criticism from members for quite some time now, but CIO David DeLorenzo afforded us a sneak preview of the new one.

The organisation has literally redesigned its digital presence from the ground up to make it easier for members and others to discover resources from ASIS’ vast database of webinars, books, Best Practice documents, educational articles and more as well as find and connect with like-minded security professionals from around the world.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the new site as a whole – and the platforms within – will be a game-changer. Based on a robust, secure and mobile-friendly platform, the new site (at www.asisonline.org) will enable better interaction between individual members and ASIS headquarters. There’s a new Learning Management System, while all curated resources are now searchable in one place.

The site was launched last month, with some of the more advanced features being rolled out over a three to nine-month period.

The 2018 Leadership Meeting also heralded the inauguration of the new ASIS International president, namely Richard Chase CPP PCI PSP, with 2017 president Tom Langer CPP moving to become chairman of the Board. It was good to hear Chase’s plans for the year ahead and learn about how he intends to continue the ‘internationalisation’ process at ASIS, a process initiated by his predecessors. We also heard from president-elect Christina Duffey CPP.

As part of the event there were numerous side meetings and breakout sessions with a keen focus on Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM), the ASIS International Foundation and the Standards and Guidelines Commission. Let’s take a look at each in turn.

ESRM Board Initiative

For my part, I’m involved with the ESRM Board Initiative and take part in the value stream responsible for internal and external ESRM marketing, communications and branding. The project is being led by ASIS International’s secretary John Petruzzi CPP and main Board director Tim McCreight CPP. The volunteer leaders who make up the teams are a truly international bunch.

At this point, it’s probably worth defining what ESRM’s all about. ASIS views ESRM as a strategic security programme management approach that ties an organisation’s security practice to its mission and business goals using globally established and accepted risk management principles. In 2016, the ASIS Board of Directors determined that ESRM would be a driving force underpinning ASIS International’s global strategic plans.

The stated goal of the Board was (and is) “to make ASIS members more effective security professionals and more valuable members of their organisations by enabling them to better identify and manage the various aspects of security risks they face, leading to an empowered membership, safer enterprises, a more strategic approach to risk and a more cost-effective security function”.

After a year of research, conference calls and webinars, this was the kick-off meeting with volunteers both attending in person and dialling in from around the world.

James Willison and Stuart Hughes CPP from ASIS’ UK Chapter are also involved with this initiative. For his part, Willison has been a convergence evangelist for many years now and ESRM is closely aligned to this movement.

International Foundation

The ASIS Foundation Board of Trustees – with which Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI (director of Perpetuity Research and founder of the Outstanding Security Performance Awards) is heavily involved – has been undergoing something of a transition of late and, in its new form, is now targeted at three core areas.

The first is all about supporting and sponsoring international research studies. Indeed, the Board agreed at its meeting in Arlington to publish two papers: one based on smart buildings (and led by an Australian team) and another focused around protecting a Roman archaeological site in Spain. Look out for more details on these detailed papers over the next month or so.

The second core area is providing international scholarships. Increasingly, these are being awarded to international individuals. Indeed, it’s well worth ASIS’ European members looking at what’s available. There are awards for different courses, some centred on training and others on education, and it may well be that you’ll find help with what you need.

Last, but by no means least, the third core area is focused on fundraising. There’s a strong commitment from the ASIS Foundation to serve an international audience and, that being so, for those funds raised to benefit international members. Reflecting that desire, a quarter of the Board Trustees are now from overseas (with the latest addition of members including Ben Suurd, corporate security manager for Europe at Reckitt Benckiser in the Netherlands).

Standards and Guidelines

Bruce Braes CSyP FSyI CPP CMIRM attended his first ASIS International Standards and Guidelines Commission meeting since being appointed. The size of the Commission has been substantially increased in 2018 as the ESRM drive by ASIS International is going to require a full review of all existing ASIS Standards and Guidelines and more capacity is going to be required in order to complete these tasks in a timely manner.

Braes explained to Risk UK: “The Standards and Guidelines Commission needs to better reflect the membership of ASIS as a whole and, as such, now boasts members representing 11 nations.” According to Braes, the Commission’s meetings on site were “very enlightening”, evoking much discussion and, at times, “some vigorous debate”.

Ably led by chairman Bernard Greenawalt CPP and the vastly experienced ASIS staff of Aivelis Oicka and Patty Fusaro, the Commission has set itself some daunting tasks for the months and years ahead.

“On a personal basis,” observed Braes, “and of keen interest for the UK Chapter, I shall be leading a sub-committee tasked with creating the ASIS Security Lexicon. While we accept that there are various glossaries and definitions out there, the Commission firmly believes that an internationally-accepted Security Lexicon is a project well worth investment.”

Another point of interest for ASIS UK Chapter members is a new sub-committee to investigate ASIS’ interactions with the ISO. “This committee will investigate the best manner for ASIS to engage with the ISO,” said Braes, “taking into consideration the fact that ASIS is an international organisation with one third of its membership based outside of the USA.”

Mike Hurst CPP is Vice-Chairman of ASIS International’s UK Chapter, a Member of ASIS’ European Advisory Council and Director of HJA Recruitment

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