Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading resource for security and fire news in the industry. James was previously Editor of Professional Heating & Plumbing Installer magazine.
June 2, 2020

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In conversation with Mike Hurst and the role of ASIS

IFSEC Global recently spoke with Mike Hurst, CPP, ex-Co-Vice Chair and now a Director at ASIS UK, about his role and some of the initiatives the global organisation is working towards for the development of the security industry.

Hi Mike. Could you explain a bit about your role within ASIS?

MikeHurst-ASIS-20Well, my role has changed recently: up until March I was Co-Vice Chair – I’d been in that role for 10 years, so it was time to organise an orderly exit – but I’m still a director of the UK company.

I’m also secretary of the ASIS Professional Development Community, which does exactly what it sounds like. We run mentoring programmes globally and offer support to members on how to progress their own careers.

I’m also on the steering committee of the ESRM Community. ESRM is enterprise security risk management, which has been one of the major focuses of ASIS over the last few years – and for the future. ESRM is very much about aligning security with the critical business functions of an enterprise. It’s about identifying assets, looking at the risk to assets, how to mitigate those risks, and then having a structured risk-based approach to the whole thing.

You’ve got quite a large membership across the world. How differently does the UK company work compared to the international chapters?

I think broadly the same. Each chapter has a chair, a vice-chair, a treasurer and a secretary, and each will have other people handling membership, security, website and finance as they need it.

There’s something like 35,000 members globally in around 240 chapters in 74 countries, so it’s a big organisation. Some US chapters may be quite small, and have around 50 people, and may meet once a month for some networking and informal learning – it’s a very local network.

Ours is a very large chapter, we are the third or fourth biggest in the world. We’re a national body and we act in that way: we talk to the SIA and the Government on a national level, which is a very good situation to be in. The support and sponsorship we get from major security organisations, I think speaks volumes as to the influence we have.

But the principle is the same and the policy is the same. We want to educate, we want to network, we want to encourage accreditation and certification. We represent security as a profession to the wider community and government concerns. Our goals and ambitions are broadly the same as the smaller chapters, but obviously we’re doing it on a bigger scale.

Do you work very closely with national security organisations as well, such as the BSIA and SSAIB?

I’m personally on the Board of The Security Commonwealth, which is an umbrella organisation for security membership groups including ASIS, the Security Institute, AUCSO, IPSA, NAHS, BSIA, SIA, ASC and many more.

In the last year we’ve had a lot of meetings with government, with the SIA as part of the Security Commonwealth, with CPNI, the Cabinet Office and the Home Office about how we can better engage with the industry.

In the last couple of years we’ve also had panels at IFSEC International, so we know where to do things. We are very active.

Why would you encourage people to join ASIS? What can people expect from membership?

ASIS has that global footprint and global reach that nobody else does. If you want to be able to interact with colleagues all over the world, for me, there is only ASIS.  That said I am involved with many other groups:  I’m a member of the Security Institute and was a main board director for six years, I am an Associate Member of The Association of Security Consultants and the UK Director for the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO).

MikeHurst2-ASIS-20ASIS is also a big contributor to global standards, and the certifications are second to none. CPP, which is the top-level ASIS certification, gets around 50 to 60 security professionals a month. There are 10,000 ASIS certification holders worldwide.

We run four main events each year for education and networking in the UK, which get about 120 – 150 people. We organise around four or five CPE days – we call it CPE rather than CPD – which are free to end for people who need to get recertified, and of course we avail ourselves at IFSEC International. Charity events are important to us: we’re big supporter of a veterans’ charity called PTSD Resolution, of which I am also an Ambassador.

Supporting Young Professionals, Women in Security and those transitioning from careers in the Police and Military into security is also very important for us and we have dedicated groups for these.

Is there anything you’ve been doing recently to support members with COVID-19?

Absolutely. ASIS runs a lot of webinars. Some of them are open to everyone, some of them are members only, and most are free. We also have COVID-19 disease outbreak security resources on our website, which we update regularly with up-to-date information and webinars to support our members.

Via ASIS Connects, which is our community page, there are lots of groups there you can communicate with, exchange ideas and connect with, not just in the UK but all over the world. There are over 30 Communities of Practice for Members to participate in.

You’re working closely on ESRM, but is there anything else you see impacting the security industry other than COVID-19 in the near future?

Much of the security profession is working remotely, so there is a focus on IT security, information security, VPNs, encryption but also on welfare and mental issues.

Companies are starting to look at the way we work. If you’re a hotel or shop, fine, you have to go there physically, but I’ve just gone three months without using our London office, so a lot of companies are looking at reducing office space, meetings, costs.

I think another thing which is many companies may focus on more is supply chain security and resilience. The supply chain affects everything; do you have enough, gowns, masks, ingredients, materials IT services, even personnel.  When you’re hiring temporary staff, you could be dealing with a manpower supplier who is subcontracting to an agency and you have to know if and how these people are being vetted. One reason that this important is the Insider Threat question.  Insider threats are not always about criminals or people with malicious intent. It’s often about incompetence or a lack of training. It’s a very complex landscape.

It goes back to ESRM, you have to apply processes to everything and have consistency.

I suppose as a final thought, ASIS would encourage all security practitioners to, in addition to developing security skills and competencies, see themselves as part of the business they work in and develop their own business skills. There are so many ways in which security can deliver ROI. It’s not always easy, but like sales, marketing, financing, property and HR, security is a critical business function and we need to demonstrate that to the wider business community and society.

Find out more about ASIS, here. 

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