Security Talk Column

ASIS President: Agile Effectiveness

This month, Eduard Emde, CPP takes the reins as president of ASIS International President. He’s the first non-U.S. president of the organization and a consultant for BMKISS Europe, in Wassenaar, The Netherlands.

“I am convinced that 2012 will continue to be dominated by all facets of cyber-related security risks,” Emde tells Security magazine.”These types of threats received significant exposure this year, which, in turn, served to increase the level of awareness within organizations and the security management community. I think that topic will continue to be of major interest for the year to come, as well as some other trends and developments in the organization and the security profession. While I cannot pinpoint the timing, the next development in the sourcing of security services is likely to come about within the next five to 10 years. This evolution will impact the security services industry, but the main driver will come from organizations that upgrade the theme of universal sourcing. This would have quite an impact on the profession.”

What else does Emde predict for the security industry this year?


Why did you get into the security industry?

My entry into the security industry was actually quite by coincidence. While studying law and business, I worked as a security officer. I met security managers during this time that relayed the challenges and rewards of their work with me. My interest in the security profession grew as a result of their enthusiasm – making security management a real professional opportunity in my mind. I went on to work in the security and risk management fields. I began as a consultant with KPMG and went on to work in the financial sector within the corporate security department of ABN AMRO Bank.


What is the most rewarding part of your position?

There are many rewarding facets to my work as a security practitioner and to my role as a volunteer leader within ASIS International. As the first non-U.S. president of the organization, I have a unique and rewarding opportunity to give back to the profession that has given so much to me over the course of my career. I actually joined ASIS as a student. Of this, I am very proud. It is my hope that my experience attracts new members and has a motivational effect on young professionals. It is truly an exciting and pivotal time in the life of ASIS.


How will you connect with members globally?

I hope and expect to meet many members, potential members and other people involved in the security arena in 2012. Since the membership of ASIS is comprised of individuals, I have found that members are really engaged and have a personal interest and drive to further themselves and the profession through networking and education. I hope to have many opportunities to raise awareness and get members, as well as prospects, engaged in the broad range of activities and initiatives that are underway. Local chapter meetings, industry councils and special interest groups like our young professionals and women in security, offer practitioners a tremendous opportunity to network and learn from their peers. ASIS education, certifications and standards and guidelines provide the knowledge, information and means for security professionals to advance in their careers. The Annual Seminar and Exhibits and the regional security conferences around the world are perhaps the ultimate forums for combining networking and education. I look forward to guiding professionals toward these valuable benefits.


What do you hope to accomplish during your term as ASIS President?

First, it is the organization as a whole that brings about results. We have a paid, experienced professional staff working in offices in Washington, D.C., Brussels and Singapore who work closely with hundreds of volunteers at all levels across industry sectors around the world. I will concentrate my efforts on increasing the effectiveness and agility of the organization wherever possible. Members are the most important focus of ASIS. That is why we were founded in 1955. The challenge is to preserve that which is good while also positioning ourselves to be fully equipped to meet the future. The strength of ASIS is vested in our ability to be responsive to the needs and requirements of security professionals today and tomorrow. This includes broadening our scope where it is appropriate and working together with other groups and organizations in line with our mission to advance the profession.    


Have you experienced any “surprises” in your security career?

This is an interesting question. Of course, I have met with my share of surprises. But, as a security professional I have always enjoyed the pro-active side of the security work. The preventative side if you will. The attempt to realistically assess a situation, and then, based on the goals of the organization, act, assuming the appropriate level of risk. One must have the right level of security in place. Not too much and not too little. I have been fortunate in that I have not met with too many negative results. I am very aware however that sometimes the line between success and failure is a thin one. There are many colleagues that I admire for what they do, but in some cases I do not envy them at all for the challenges they are confronted with while securing the enterprises for which they work.


What are some of the most critical challenges facing security professionals?

Security practitioners and their teams play a critical role in the success of the organizations in which they serve. The most critical challenges facing security professionals are associated with professional development and work-life balance. It is imperative for security practitioners to stay updated on the latest techniques and technologies in security management. The ability to adapt to constantly changing business and environmental demands is also crucial for today’s security professionals. The reality is that we are consistently challenged, or even forced, to do more with less, to learn about new societal and business developments and to improve our effectiveness. In the age when businesses have the expectation of 24/7 security, it is also critical for professionals to find the right work-life balance. We’ll need to work at maintaining that which is most important – our relationships with family and friends and our health.


What do you like to do for fun?

During my presidency, I anticipate many memorable moments and some fun. The camaraderie and goods spirits that are central to our meetings make me confident that it will be a special and enjoyable year. I hope there will be opportunities to involve my wife and son in some of the trips around the world. Being on the road together is one of the best things there is. It has also given us some of the dearest memories we have. I mentioned work-life balance and for me all activities with friends and family contribute to what I call recharging the batteries. I am extremely lucky to have some solid friendships that go back many, many years. Recently, I have taken up golf and swimming again. And, maybe not surprising for a Dutchman, I enjoy getting on my bike to run errands in my village and to go shopping with my family.  

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