Possessing the GAD Factor
Midland: For years, and in some cases decades, I’ve been hearing that next year would be the year of this or that technology. Well, my bet is, we are now at a major inflection point with respect to security, and the next 2-3 years will bring major changes. For instance, smart cards, biometrics, digital certificates and IT convergence will come together and change the way we look at almost everything.
Longer term, say ten years from now, I don’t think you’ll even be able to recognize the industry as it exists today. Security will simply become part of the fabric of the business environment, not just something that was bolted on after the fact.
Physical and cyber security will be tightly coupled, enabling a more holistic and productive approach to security. A wider range of behaviors will be monitored, and anomalous activities will be flagged as users conduct company business; accessing not only areas of the building but also network resources. Data collected by physical security, network access control, personnel management, video surveillance and other systems will be aggregated; presenting a more complete view of people, activities and operations.
Almost everything will be encrypted. Organizations in many industries will routinely encrypt hard drives, e-mail traffic and use electronic signatures for documents. And all devices that communicate or store sensitive information will become far more secure through various trust-based authentication systems.
Smart cards will morph to smart chip-based devices, and they will be ubiquitous.
Security Magazine: What do you believe will be the next product category to significantly impact the physical security industry in the short term?
Midland: Smart cards. There’s really little question now: smart cards, contact or contactless, can dramatically increase security – individually or used in combination with biometrics. I believe this will lead to a paradigm shift in identity management that enables logical and physical access to finally live up to the hype of “convergence.”
Due to technology advancements, international smart card initiatives, and the U.S. government’s HSPD-12 program, smart cards now can play a critical and essential role in successfully securing both physical and digital assets.
Security Magazine: Many security executives have to tighten the budget and do more with less: Do you have any tips on defending ROI (return on investment) and/or the business case for security during tough economic times?
Midland: The costs of a single facility or information systems breach – the remediation, litigation, penalties, intellectual property compromise, customer loss and reputational costs – can put a company completely out of business. So, positive ROI for a security system is actually quite an easy case to make. Besides the “big ticket” cost avoidance savings, like securing intellectual property, there are numerous other ways a security system can help save money. Automated data links between the security and human resources systems eliminates costly errors and reduces data entry. Automating certain security functions might reduce costly personnel requirements as another example.
We’ve even had customers make money – actually generate revenue – using the security system. So the ROI case is there. You just have to be strong enough to deliver the message appropriately and the solutions that deliver on the promise.
Security Magazine: What are the blind spots in the industry?
Midland: We still think and act in silos. Everyone is afraid to give up any of their turf, so they often impede progress rather than enhance it. People are afraid of change, but change is inevitable. The biggest blind spot is looking only at the way we have done things in the past. We need to look outside of that to determine how we should do things in the future. We need to find the few leaders who can then guide the rest.
Security Magazine: What is one thing you learned that you apply to your career? Or, what is your catchphrase or mantra?
Midland: In dealing with people through-
out my career, and in trying to build a quality company, I have developed what I refer to as the GAD Factor™. Of course you always look for the brightest and most energetic people; you want those with a positive attitude rather than a negative one; and you want people with a high sense of integrity. But there is one other intrinsic value that is essential: Employees and partners alike must ‘Give a Damn’!
If you don’t deal with people with a passion; if you aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to make something right, then you are condemned to mediocrity. You can tell that I’m passionate about this. It’s because I’ve found that those who really care are the only ones you can trust to do the right things. It makes life easier for me if I surround myself with people that have the GAD Factor and then give them the authority to do what is right.