As what has been a unique and difficult year for many finally comes to a close, I find I have been engaging in a significant number of conversations regarding what the future holds for security careers in these challenging market conditions. Security leaders want to know what they can expect to face professionally in the coming year and beyond. Career professionals are seeing a rapidly changing security risk environment at the same time as shifts in work force and physical locations where work is performed.
As has been previously well documented previously from a leadership perspective, security related risks continue to be categorized as: Compliance, Operational, Strategic, Financial and Reputational through the same lens as is taught in business schools. The involvement of the security leader in supporting the mitigation and reduction of potential losses continues to vary widely within organizations throughout the world.

Understanding your role in the ownership, participation, and influence to aid in the many processes and program strategies continues to be a significant factor in how the organization values your contribution. Often, it is a blend of each, and success is achieved through effect and well-honed soft skills and competencies.

As you look within your organization, following are areas that the security professionals are often involved. There are numerous subsets of issues and programs in each category and many security related program initiatives are interconnected across each area, function, and business operating unit.

  • Brand Protection
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Financial Assets
  • Geo-Political
  • Human Capital Related Issues
  • Intellectual Property
  • Physical Property and Premises
  • Significant Business Disruptions
  • Supply Chain and Logistics
  • Technology Assets

I am sure that these are familiar areas and suspect that any security risk related concern can fit into one or more of these. Despite the changing “flavor of the month” terminology, new issues not previously considered or shifting priorities of the leadership teams and their Boards, the one consistent underlying factor that continues, involves people and their behavior both internally and externally. Sometimes that behavior is intentionally directed and other times the impact to the organization is unintentional.

Looking forward, as you identify future program considerations, it is likely you will be identifying those areas that will create some of the most significant challenges and negative impact to organizations. As a part of your strategy development, you may want to consider what impact the external influences listed here will have on managing security risks in your organizations. Analyzing these ahead of time will allow you to better consider the impact of behaviors in your risk planning.

  • Apathy and self-absorbed entitlement behaviors.
  • Belief in unsupported conspiracy theories and fringe ideologies.
  • Denial of or no interest in factual realities or scientific analysis.
  • Domestic terrorism and its underlying motivations.
  • Manipulation of the increased amount of fictitious information on social media platforms.
  • Disregard for intellectual property ownership and utilization of personal data.
  • Privacy and ethics practices in collection methods and utilization of personal data.
  • Lack of interest in collaboration; extreme polarization and tribalism surrounding public discourse.
  • Security challenges and business risks associated with remote working arrangements.
  • Increasing volume of elicitations by foreign intelligence services.

An organization's employees are a cross-section of the societies where they operate. The behaviors and individual characteristics that are exhibited externally will appear within and will likely have a negative impact. Examining and considering the potential vulnerabilities and risks to your organization’s operations as a result of societal behavior trends should be integrated into your future planning and predictive analysis.