Last month, we discussed the value of taking an introspective pause to reflect upon your security career. If you had an opportunity to take such a pause recently, hopefully, you have clarified your aspirations and are ready to refocus on your career path.

It is important for security professionals to consider whether their reframed goals accurately relate to and support the landscape of how security services are provided both now and in the future. Understanding how security programs are structured and aligned for delivery across an organization can help you achieve success within the profession.

Consider the following questions:

  • What are leadership’s current concerns around security-related risks, and are there data supporting these concerns?
  • What is the C-suite’s expectation matrix for measuring success in each area, and do you understand the business challenges and pain points of your internal customers?
  • Have you produced a list of the various sub-elements that have programs and processes within each of these areas of concern: general administration and management of security; brand protection and supply chain; resiliency, crisis and incident response; geopolitical risk and intelligence; financial assets; physical property and premises; technology assets (cyber); significant business disruptions; environment, health and safety (EHS); security-related compliance; reputational matters?
  • Do you know what function(s) across the organization currently have accountabilities for each major security-related risk and the scope of that involvement? Consider using the breakdown below, which is frequently used by HR in compensation assessments for individual roles. It also relates to the departmental level.

Accountability Level

Not Involved: Position or function has no responsibility or involvement in the activity or process.

  • Participation: Position or function is a participating part of a team or group that supports the activity.
  • Active Support: Position or function is a key contributor to the activity.
  • Owner: Position or function has full accountability for the activity or process.

Scope of Responsibilities / Accountabilities Relating to Roles and / or Program Activities

  • Site: A single site, campus or facility.
  • Local: A region within a single country.
  • Country: A single country.
  • Regional: A multi-country geographic region.
  • Global: Across the organization’s global operations.
  • Are you a key influencer in the ongoing process improvement evaluations that will include reorganization of the delivery of security and risk-related services within your scope of accountabilities?
  • Have you mapped out technical and operational skills, experience or education for yourself or your staff that are necessary to meet a changing environment?
  • Does your organization have an expectation of ensuring resiliency of the security risk program by putting career development and succession plans in place?
  • What competencies and soft skills are needed for the security function to be aligned to your organization’s values? Have you analyzed these in relation to your functional job descriptions?
  • How comfortable are you in a continually changing, ambiguous organizational environment that requires you to achieve success by utilizing your ability to influence without ownership or control?
  • Have you developed a strategy for recruiting and sustaining your workforce through the following initiatives: active improvement of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) representation within the profession; cross-country, multicultural integration of leadership teams and programs; development or change process delivery that allows for the expansion of remote working arrangements while maintaining service quality; effective integration of technology and digital transformation?

Organizations routinely shift both reporting relationships and responsibilities of organizational security programs for reasons that may not be immediately apparent. Security professionals can position themselves for success in this circumstance by having a strategic, comprehensive knowledge of each security program element, including where it resides; if it’s cross-functionally independent; and how it supports the management of security-related risks to the organization.

Expanding your understanding of these services beyond operational and tactical execution means you can manage your career decisions in an initiative-taking versus reactive manner. Position yourself to be adaptable in a changing career landscape and influential in the future of security as a profession.