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May 5, 2021

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Contact tracing and COVID-19 director’s briefing

IFSEC Interviews

Charles ‘Chuck’ Andrews on the cyber issue, growth of AI and collaboration in security

Voted the top influencer in the security thought leaders/association figures category in the 2020 IFSEC Global Influencers Awards, Charles ‘Chuck’ Andrews has held several high profile roles in security and US law enforcement since starting out in the industry in 1976. Julian Hall put some quickfire questions to him on the trends and issues he’s witnessing in the sector.

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Charles ‘Chuck’ Andrews

Charles “Chuck” Andrews, CPP, CFE, CFCI, ICPS, MSME has been in the law-enforcement and security industries since 1976, starting as Police Explorer, and has served in many roles of leadership as Chief of Police, Chief Security Officer (CSO), Adjunct Professor Computer Science, CJ & Security Asst’ Dean and Global Security Advisor & Strategist. In addition, Chuck has served in many leadership and board roles with numerous security, crime prevention and law enforcement associations across the globe. Known for his group of security colleagues, friends and leaders in the industry, Friends of Chuck (FOC) has become a household name in the security industry. Chuck was also named the top Crime Prevention Officer internationally, ISCPP, and the OSPA’S Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Julian Hall (JH): What does your company/organisation do and what is your role within it?

Chuck Andrews (CA): Friends Of Chuck (FOC) is a professional security network group that exists for the purposes of networking, locating employment, exchanging business opportunities, discovering new emerging security technologies and sharing information to FOC members.

The FOC is an extensively broad network of 100,000+ security professionals, colleagues and friends across the globe. The common connection is that you know Chuck and Chuck knows you!

JH: What are the most pressing issues in your sector of the industry now?

CA: Cyber, active shooter, fraud, AI and security industry consolidation – both corporate and trade show. In a little more detail:

  1. Cyber – most pressing of all issues and affects everything and everyone, yet, nobody is paying attention. Thus, it’s criticality!
  2. Active Shooter scenarios continue, yet, response and prevention are not being addressed and thus, these issues will continue to grow unabated.
  3. Fraud – huge issue! Now that everyone is wearing a mask, billions of dollars are going out the door with ZERO repercussions! Losses are staggering but they are passed on to the consumer.
  4. AI continues to dominate and make decisions for us – both good and bad?
  5. Security industry collaboration through acquisitions continues and thus, all the challenges that go from 25 choices to basically four choices go with it! The jury is still out on this because it is unprecedented. Imagine that the fourth largest employer in the USA is now a security officer company? Times are changing!

JH: Are these issues likely to still be here in 5 years’ time?

CA: We will continue to see cyber leading as the big issue, but, like always, we will woefully lag behind in both response, prevention and attribution! Additionally, you will see a big shift from some traditional law enforcement duties to the private security sector!

JH: What exciting trends should we be looking out for? 

CA: AI and Machine Learning will be interesting to watch, both in tech growth and investment. Self-learning anomaly detection, as opposed to ‘rules-based’ analytics with cameras, will be coming shortly, and that’s a game-changer!

Robotics – as I’ve previously said, we will see a ‘rise in machinery’ to supplement the use of security officers in some roles. Right now, they can’t keep up! Companies are using them now to ensure that they don’t lose contracts, because for clients it is all about costs. I struggle with this change because a company’s brand is tied to perceptions by people – security officers are people, and robots are not.

Ultimately, you can’t completely rely on robots for decision making – they can’t do CPR! Yet, there will be no more work-comp cases, OSHA injuries or HR issues now will there? The jury remains out…

JH: How has the pandemic affected your organisation?

CA: It has not negatively affected my business at all, if anything, it has tripled! Staying at home using virtual meetings has given more efficiencies to do more with less, both better and faster!

JH: Will it have a lasting effect?

CA: Who knows for sure? Numbers might never be the same because a section of the population that would otherwise go out to dinner, buy a ticket to a show or otherwise travel, will elect not to do that.

Though at the point of writing of this article (1st May), people in the last three weeks are coming out in masses for dining, shows and events! Clearly, people are tired of being cooped up, restricted and otherwise not allowed to be social.

JH: What are you excited about?

CA: Cyber! Nobody is doing it right or better, cheaper or faster. There is a whole lot to talk about here. Vendors sell you things you don’t need without considering the risk being clearly defined, and Boards of Directors/CISOs/CIOs/CSOs really have no clue what they are really being sold. Lots of change happening here at the board level!

There are a lot of moving pieces here, i.e. survival of job roles, buying something to show we are ‘trying’ to keep the bad guys out, and just keeping the Board of Directors happy whilst just putting something in place to ‘check the box’.

The point is, I’m excited because there is a real gap of opportunity to deliver that which you only need all based on the real risk you are up against.

Vendors need to take the perspective of a CISO or CSO, someone who has been there/done that, when selling. Only a handful of vendors out there are doing the right thing to help companies protect themselves, I can literally count them on one hand!

JH: What are you anxious about?

CA: In the USA, the defunding of law enforcement agencies and the perception of slow-erosion in their traditional role of protecting society – this is of real concern! Big changes by law enforcement agencies are needed, and soon, but it is slow-going in being both effective and adopted by communities, no matter what side of change you advocate.

The question is, what is it that really needs to change? That is a long dissertation that will collectively take the minds and experience of a diverse America to begin that process. From my perspective as a police officer, Crime Prevention Officer, Command Officer, Chief of Police and Security Expert, it should focus on prevention as it is first and foremost a community mission.

Crime prevention is something everyone can agree on without argument and requires Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs), the security sector and the community to work together! Remember community policing in the 1980s and 1990s? It was a good start and was very successful! But now, it needs to be the overall mission! Don’t get me wrong here, LEO is critically needed and is already great at being reactive to crime scenes to gather evidence to identify suspects and engage felons in progress – we have been doing it for a long time – but, again, our mission, policies, budgets, best-practices, community engagements and much more should be first and foremost focused on crime-prevention!

JH: What’s a motto you live by?

CA: At Friends of Chuck (FOC) our mantra is: “Dream Big, Know How to Have Fun and Get Stuff Done!” Why do anything else?

Dreaming Big means big returns in all you do. Dream small, be small. Very simple logic here.

Knowing How to Have FUN is critical, why would you do something NOT fun in life, work and play? If you don’t follow this rule, eventually, you will be on to the next “J O B”.

Finally, when we say Get Stuff Done, we really mean WE GET SHIT DONE! We make progress, move the needle and bring value. If you’re going to do it, then DO IT RIGHT! You only get one impression to impress, so get it done. Your reputation, credibility and more will ride heavily on this for days to come in your profession. Leave a lasting legacy…

Connect with the security industry online 1-30 June

Connect 2021 is your first major opportunity to come together with the security industry online from 1-30 June!

The month-long online event will give attendees the opportunity to make up for lost time by browsing security solutions, connecting with suppliers and accessing thought-leadership content - all from the comfort of your own home or workplace!

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