A visitor to the “Googleplex” Google headquarter in Mountain View, California makes himself a name badge and signs a non-disclosure agreement. Photograph by Erik Möller

The first time I Googled myself, I was connected to the Internet at a Starbucks Hot Spot. Before I could blink, up popped dozens of my past articles, lectures and comments other people had published about me. I loved seeing that.

Then I Googled my boss. I found some juicy stuff I could use (if needed!). Then one of my clients – a press release that helped me to understand a dynamic about his business I hadn’t grasped before.

Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., is the epicenter of a seismic shift affecting security executives. Google is the search engine that – slowly at first, but then comprehensively – we all made the centerpiece of our individual Internet experience. It is the search engine that gives me the best, fastest information, and that seems nearly to read my mind. Google’s mission is to plug into a world of information technology and put all the world’s information at my fingertips and yours.

As we see in this month’s lead feature, Here Come the Techs, the entire information technology (IT) industry looks at the world of the security executive as bits and bytes, structured and unstructured data – in a word, “information.” Video images become valuable information as soon as the camera captures fraud, attempted theft or injury. Alarms are electronic signals that convey important information about a door opening or temperature dropping. Even the electronic requests from a card reader to the electric strike and back to the access control server are information the accuracy of which is mission critical to most companies.

Security executives surround themselves with systems running on computers, using the latest software and data repositories (Microsoft Active Directory, Oracle databases, etc.), and transmitting information across network cabling infrastructures. Security executives surround themselves with information technology.

Security is information built around information technology, so you can be sure that our customers – the business unit managers and senior executives of our organizations – will want to see it, use it, critique it. Like you, your superiors and customers Google information all the time. They want the most relevant information, quickly and instantly accessible – simple reports that prioritize the information of security and suggest remediation. Modifications in personal privileges will follow the IT model of self-service – individuals will use a secure transaction on the network or over the Internet to change their privileges to certain doors or buildings. Business managers, marketing managers, partners throughout the supply chain and the foreman at the loading dock all want instant access to some video images forwarded to their phones or handhelds to help them ensure supply, anticipate demand, avoid loss and increase productivity and profit.

The list goes on. Try it yourself. Think of two or three more ways that the information of security may be used by people outside of the security department. Is your security operation ready for that? Microsoft, Symantec, Oracle, Intel, Cisco and Google are actively training your constituents and the whole world that information – especially the information of security – is coursing through wires and radio waves all around and may be put to use right now.

Become Google-friendly

Here are some tips to help you be more relevant and appreciated in the executive suite.
  • When acquiring security technologies, make sure the manufacturer - not only the integrator – has strategic partnerships with IT companies and talk comfortably about IT.
  • Seek software that adds reporting, process and workflow across disciplines that you’ve historically segregated, like video, access control and incident response.
  • Ensure that security policies and regulatory compliance efforts are coordinated with the policy and compliance teams in IT.
  • And, most importantly, keep an open mind about new technology.
Your security operation is in many respects an extension of the IT infrastructure – with all that software and computers and networking that you are using. v