The Next Generation Security Consultant

Blog Date:  8/9/2013
Author:  John DeGeorge

‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’, an opinion that we’re all familiar with and while applicable to many aspects of our professional lives, is totally erroneous and misleading when applied to the ever evolving professional security consultant community. Future security consultants will have to proactively prepare for their careers through education and experience. In the academic world ‘publish or perish’ is still valid, but in our profession it could easily be ‘re-educate or retire’.
The rapid multi discipline technology and strategy improvements/advancements occurring in security will quickly obsolete any consultant who does not keep current and focus on future developments. It is precisely this situation that mandates that the next generation of security consultants will need to be better educated, highly technical and knowledgeable in a much wider, more diversified spectrum of protective strategies and methodologies.
I envision the consultant firm profile to continue essentially as either boutique smaller firms or substantially larger corporate entities that cover a wide range of disciplines, including security. Both will be challenged by the need to provide a wider range of qualified expertise to their clients. Firms will retain degreed candidates including engineers and business majors(MBA) in ever increasing numbers as well as higher level candidates like those with Professional Engineer(PE) credentials. This particular state issued license has become significantly more difficult to achieve, allowing only the most qualified to attain it. The result for the firm is verified licensed expertise becoming available to their clients, reduced liability exposure and substantial competitive marketing advantages.
The larger corporate entities with security consulting divisions will have varied technical expertise in house but not necessarily in that division. They will ‘job shop’ this resource between divisions as needed, much like many of the major firms are doing among themselves, to balance workloads and keep relatively constant staffing levels. The most significant and in demand expertise, now and in the foreseeable future, is IT in general, and networking in particular. Stand alone security systems have essentially become dinosaurs. The current trend is the deployment of security elements on a site wide and/or multiple site networks where they can interact, integrate, interface and become part of the life safety, fire, HR and other protection and business systems. This approach relies heavily on PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) capabilities of security systems to work in conjunction with other site wide or multiple site systems to respond real time and in some case preemptively to security and life safety threats.
Next generation security consultants preferring to join smaller firms will enjoy more viable candidacies if they also possess a well rounded business education. I believe that the smaller independent security consultancies will remain financially viable by joining together in national and international organizations of professionally certified security consultants. The real force multiplier is the availability of varied resources that exist across the membership base that can essentially be utilized by any individual firm under sub-contractor and partnering arrangements.
While we have only addressed technology to this point, it is only a portion, but probably the major portion of the security solutions that will be developed and deployed by future security consultants. A viable and necessary pool of future consultants will continue to be comprised of former law enforcement, intelligence operatives, military personnel and other local and federal agency personnel who possess pertinent real world experience. The selection process for these potential security consultants has and will increasingly continue to be specific real time specialized experience, thus narrowing down the size of the pool significantly.
Suffice to say, future security consultants will need to be well educated in multiple diverse technology disciplines, have directly germane real world experience, possess recognizable business acumen, be willing to achieve specific certifications an equally as important be dedicated and focused.

 

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