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Are old-fashioned ways for the old-fashioned days?

The world has witnessed what advanced technology can accomplish in the hands of competent personnel; the results of the Persian Gulf War speak for themselves. But do these technological accomplishments have a message for security professionals?

History reveals that the growth of the United States from an agrarian country to a powerful industrial nation was facilitated by advancing technology and the labor-saving devices it produced. Where we used technology, we prospered; where we ignored it, we have done so at our own peril.

For instance, our lack of technology during World Wars I and II cost many lives. However, our technological preparedness for the Gulf War resulted in minimal casualties. In addition, the countless examples of the failure to develop American inventions only to watch the Japanese bring them to market has been detrimental to American jobs, productivity, and trade.

Advancing technology has come to the security industry, and the same consequences will befall those who do not react to it. Those individuals who are still managing security the same old-fashioned way are going to have their jobs on the line soon, if they are not already.

A ripple effect will hit management and those in support services such as architects, designers, engineers, and facility managers. This ripple effect will also have direct consequences for insurance and legal personnel.

Technological advances will require significant changes in the way we plan, fund, and manage security. This will come as stark news for those who are unwilling or unable to change.

Large security officer forces will be replaced by smaller, better-trained, and better-equipped forces. These smaller forces will do a superior job with the aid of technology, will be easier to manage, will cost significantly less overall, and will reduce the liability exposure of the company.

Electronic systems will have to support interdepartmental needs, such as time and attendance tracking, inventory control, fire and safety operations, material tracking, article surveillance, access control, intrusion detection, guard tour management, industrial process monitoring, and energy management through a combination of both centralized and distributed processing systems.

Increasingly, security's adequacy will be judged against the standards of society, the insurance industry, and the government. Security measures based on company policies will no longer be sufficient in this scenario.

Security managers who do not react to these accelerating trends will lose substantial control over their departments, budgets, salaries, and even their jobs.

Worse, these security managers will be denying their organizations the twin benefits of maximum security and economy. Within their own companies other departments will compete for the budget to install modern technology.

The security department will either receive the funds and grow in size and stature, or it will lose to other departments and diminish. One certainty is that things will not remain the same.

For security managers who take action the news is good. Technology has delivered effective tools to handle virtually any security requirement at a time when the demand for security is exploding. The security department, which once had a minimal role, now encompasses all aspects of business.

Take full advantage of this and your future will be bright. The time has arrived for security to come out of the basement and take its rightful place in the upper levels of corporate management.

Richard H. Cantor, CPP, Certified Training Instructor (CTI), is president of Amerigard Alarm and Security Corporation in New York City. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Cantor, Richard H.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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