Friday, July 30, 2010

Engendering Staff for Professional Development

The security industry has within its community individuals possessing a passion for its forward progression as a viable business entity. Many of its personnel demonstrate traits and characteristics sought after for leadership roles. As security consultants evaluating a business for its organizational integrity or efficiency, we are charged with assuring the business demonstrates sound practices, the capacity for profitability and encompassing competent leadership to direct its success.

Leadership for many security organizations can be found within its subordinate ranks. The differentiating component for the selection of those personnel exhibiting the capacity is the selection of those staff members with the demonstrated ability for leadership and transitional traits for success as a leader.

“The presentation of your capabilities will yield a harvest of appreciation as to your value.” These words hold significant value for individuals with transitional skills, talents, and abilities that comprehend leadership and the organization’s overall goal. Some people can assume a leadership role more naturally than others. However, we naturally possess these traits that are more adaptive and transitional into this valuable role. The selection process allows us to appreciate those transferable skill sets that can be built upon, and become the catalyst for success.

Continuing development for leadership is not an instantaneous process; to the contrary, this process is ever evolving. This process can span a life time. One of the critical roles that facilitate smooth evolution into leadership is the mentoring by seasoned veterans who bring to the table a married of experiences that will assure success is more attainable. Leadership is not only gained from hands on experience, tutelage and/or mentoring, successful leaders are also those who have gained appreciation of formal education. The knowledge acquired in academia introduces us to the ability to conceptualize, plan and generate solutions through multiple view points. Moreover, formal education continues the maturity of decision making for leaders and learning the application through real world scenarios.

There is no greater reward as a leader than the natural progression of deserving individuals. As upcoming leaders they are sure to encounter scenarios of indecision and times of anxiety for the unknown, however they must gain a since of confidence in their training, their ability to direct and most importantly in the knowledge that others have total confidence in their leadership. This is not an easy process, it will introduce challenges, but the rewards will outweigh the difficulties and generate gratification that is beyond measure. The development of future leaders is extremely important to the security industry. But, what is more important is for organizations to instill in staff members that their development into leadership is a crucial part of the organization’s growth and vital to its success.

Bernard S. Robinson
Managing Director, Principal
Robinson Security Consultancy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Proactive Security Measures and Child Safety

Summertime and childhood safety coincide, when contemplating their significance, it is understandable how both complement each other and the importance of each bears no inequality. As security consultants charged with the dissemination of appropriate safety and security measures, the safety of children becomes a focal point of great importance. Therefore the methodology of approach toward this sensitive, yet vital topic becomes paramount.

Each and every year county and city municipalities throughout North America provide summer orientated fun and energetic activities for our youth to take part in. These activities serve multiple roles, the education and challenge of the youthful minds to grasp topics that are impactful and engaging. These topics cover a wide range. However, none bear such significance than safety related information that ensues our children achieve a safe and jovial summer. I have elected four areas that we will further elaborate for this blog; Summer Safety, Internet/Online Safety, Community Helpers, and Strangers. While our dialogue only address these topics superficially, nevertheless, their impact is substantial.

Summer Safety: Summer weather introduces conditions that, if not taken seriously, can be detrimental to the youth health. For this reason, we would be contrite not to speak on the crucial role of youth consuming plenty of liquids to stay hydrated. Heat related illnesses are among leading causes for concern among youth. In conjunction with drinking an abundance of fluids, children should always seek shelter in shaded areas. Moreover, wearing loose fitting and light colored clothing is a must to combat very hot and humid days. In addition to the aforementioned, summer safety includes sound decision making. We must instill in our children the ability to walk away from those who would engage in non productive activity that belittles and degradation. They must unstained that it is far greater reward and maturity to avoid scenarios wherein revenge for wrongful words and acts drive their decision making. When such situations occur our youth must rely upon the wisdom of their parents or guardians.

Community Helpers: Each neighborhood has a wealth of individuals from whom our youth can seek assistance and guidance. These community helpers can be found in many venues and occupying professional and individual roles that are impactful. These role include but not limited to; teachers, principals, counselors, police officers, physicians, and nurses. Community Helpers further facilitate and assure summers filled with elation and safety.

Internet/Online Safety: The current generation is far more technologically advanced then their predecessors. As a direct result, today’s youth is more engaged with technology and internet activity. Because of the high volume to which children participate in online use, it behooves us to speak to the need for safety. Identity theft often involves in personal information retrieved via internet scams. Getting parental permission is the first step toward assuring safety. The more parents are involved in youth participation in internet exploration the probability of proactive measures would be enforced. We must enlighten our youth of the dangers of opening and/or replying to email from unknown senders, or participating in chat room/instant messaging again with unknown parties. They should never send photographs, and/or personal information in an online environment. Only respond or invite individuals they have knowledge of.

Stranger Danger: Of the topics we have discussed, the dangers associated with strangers, is truly one of the most impactful. Childhood abductions are very real. The more knowledgeable a child is the more likely proactive measures can prevent a child becoming one more statistic. We not only must enlighten youth regarding the lure techniques employed by child predators, we cannot voice with enough significance the urgency required in addressing this topic. It is critical that we instill in our youth the need to suppress youthful curiosity to venture away from adult supervision. Children should always stay close to acquaintances, relatives and parental approved supervision. Surrounding yourself with friends, even when using public facilities, can act as a deterrent for criminal behavior and/or averting harm’s way. The one true technique for children to utilize when being approached, trapped, or attempt abductions; a child should SHOUT FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!. This act with certainly serve as a deterrent; garnish attention and possibly adult assistance and possibly apprehension.

It is the hopes of Robinson Security Consultancy (RSC) that the dissemination of this material can assist with our youth taking part in a safe and elated summer.

Bernard S. Robinson
Managing Partner, Principal

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Security and High Profile Principles

One of the most demanding, yet rewarding operations to spear head, is security coverage for high profile celebrities and/or dignitaries. This type of security introduces, depending upon the experience of leadership, unforeseen variables that may impact the degree of coverage and its application. More often than not, organizations have prior law enforcement or former special operations personnel serving as security agents for specific principles (high profile celebrities and/or dignitaries). Challenges in the security detail (coverage team) become heightened when the principles visit properties outside their norm.

Modifying an established methodology of communication with the security detail, the channel of communication chosen will facilitate the degree of success. Among the topic of discussion is the most efficient and expeditious points selected for entrance and exit. Multiple routes of access and/or exits are the points of examination. This is necessary to provide the security detail with an overview of necessary points of contingency for evacuation.

A good example would be when a state government or high profile dignitary is scheduled for visitation to a property, the secret service will provide a preliminary advanced team to assure all aspects of security concerns are addressed and resolved. The secret service advanced visit encompasses the presence of military personnel with explosive detecting canine dogs to conduct a thorough sweep (walk) through the designated room or area for the meetings and/or conferences. This sweep includes adjacent corridors, building exterior and even perhaps the adjacent neighborhood that may include law enforcement agencies. Many occasions will also include obscuring any vantage point or distant observation by street closure and/or using drapes to cover entrances and exits.

Dialogue regarding emergency processes (medical procedures and emergency responses) will also be disclosed to assure proactive measures are addressed. This builds confidence and fosters a positive working relationship to meet or exceeds expectations of the client.

Security operations regarding the coverage of high profile celebrity or dignitaries are dependent of an organization’s security team’s adaptability to meet the needs of such clientele. Thus, achieving such connections is key to the success of the organization and its ability toward providing accommodations that is both adaptive and secure.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Operating in Budgetary Constraints

As consultants, we are continuously faced with customers who yearn for everything yet, restrict the financial means to achieve the desired end result. A consultant must explore multiple avenues to obtain the final product and/or service sought by his/her customer while still operating within the constricted financial boundaries. The current economic conditions warrant sound financial decision making by consultants. The challenging financial state for many customers can promote poor management practices and less strategic alignment with business goals.

The process that enables customers to gain significant faith in the security consultant’s ability to provide sound guidance and access to multiple vendors that demonstrate an established partnership representing various products and services. The ranges in cost must appease the most prudent budgets and allow higher quality product and services. Yes, it is true you get what you pay for; however, the importance of consultant hands on knowledge that can balance out the bottom dollar with quality service is of great importance.

It is vital for consultants to completely comprehend that quality service delivery is crucial to meeting customer expectation and achieving brand loyalty. As consultants, the customer heavily relies upon your expertise and industry network to connect them with the appropriate vendor of both quality product accompanied by competent service delivery. When both components are successfully attained, delivered and sustained, then and only then a long standing business relationship is formed.

Bernard S. Robinson
Managing Partner, Principal
Robinson Security Consultancy

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Brand Distinction and Service Delivery

When contemplating the term brand distinction and service delivery, I often reflect upon the words regarding commitment, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the little extra.” I forgot who said this quote, but this is etched in my memory forever. Regardless to the business sector, entity and/or area of specialization, the objective behind brand distinction and service delivery is establishing, fostering and sustaining, if not exceeding, customer satisfaction. A brand can be referred to as a signature or representation that gives dissimilarity to a product or service that is catered to a particular segment of society, moreover an individualized preference. For security, emphasis on the level of commitment and service delivery is especially true, therefore the methodology employed to achieve customer satisfaction speaks volumes toward establishing brand distinction.

Once a product and/or service is found to be the customer’s choice, rather than the delivery of the product or service becomes the focal point. This is where brand distinction comes to fruition. The level of dedication to service delivery separates those organizations content with mediocrity, from those organizations striving for perfection. The organization that instills in its employees to give a little more is often those rewarded with customer loyalty. Often this devotion to one’s product and/or services relays heavily upon the perception by the customer that the services rendered are very personalized and consistent.

Security is the one segment of the business world wherein the impact and significance of organizational success is dependent of service delivery. In the last decade, pre and post 9-11, security has move from being the least concerned, to the most significant topic or the forefront of business priorities. The key turnaround has been the emphasis placed on service delivery of security measures that culminate both the application and conceptualization of security and its impact regarding security awareness. Regardless to the division in which security emphasis or training implementation is employed, this heightened prominence also transitioned into more innovation application solutions in cyber security. The service delivery component of security is not only in the appropriate business norms, (depending upon the business sector and/or environment) professional behavior, but more so in the application of the in-depth training of specified state laws or city ordinances in the practical scenarios the security practitioner would encounter. Training is the most noteworthy element to efficient service delivery or its accomplishment. Service delivery and training compliment one another. The organizations that have attained more success are those organizations who embrace continued development of security processes and procedures for the seasoned practitioner, as well, for those security personnel just beginning his/her security venture.

The key point of reference to note is each and every scenario that the security practitioner encounters is a platform for learning, a forum for enlightenment, a situation wherein the residual effect upon the customer will greatly depend upon the application of proper, efficient and professional service delivery. It is the service delivery that will harvest the volume of customers desired by the organization whose central focus is its fundamental philosophy centered on the significance of service delivery. It is service delivery that will honor the organization with customers who dedicated to that organization’s brand and its distinction.

Bernard S. Robinson
Managing Partner, Principal
Robinson Security Consultancy

Monday, February 15, 2010

Interview with WTOC 11 Savannah

Interview with Bernard S. Robinson
Managing Director of Robinson Security Consultancy
Principal Consultant with Saber Security & Investigations, LLC
February 12, 2010 WTOC 11 Savannah, Georgia
Discussing Security Issues For Small Businesses

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Audit: The Checks and Balances of Operational Efficiency

Recently, I successfully completed two very different yet critical safety and security audits. Upon doing so, I now contemplate their independent and necessary application toward operational efficiency. In years past, I have participated in such security audits that experience enabled the process to not present challenges and/or intangibles that would take on the role of an unforeseen variable, or represent such difficulties that I would be faced with a loss of valuable time. However, I did find that the processes and required components for the present safety and security audits provided me a more thorough self-induced evaluation of my methodologies and direction as a complete leader. In the end, it is always our goal as industry professionals to assure we exhibit the highest caliber of qualities and applications that demonstrate sound safety and security oriented management practices. The audit processes guarantee those practices achieve departmental, divisional, and/or organizational goal attainability is achievable.

The first of the two audits assured all established corporate mandated practices or Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) were being implemented and executed in the local departmental and/or property operations. While the corporate processes provide for each department and/or property a generalized or skeletal framework for each safety and security processes and procedures, the application of each procedure must be individualized or expanded to a more property specific procedure. For each local department or property to achieve the highest degree of operational efficiency and to strive for an accident-free environment. The corporate audit additionally encompasses a broad overview of departmental or property operations, e.g. an audit composed of several hundred questions or components involving multiple departments and/or divisions property-wide.

The evaluations of safety and security applications in one specific department are as significant as the acceptance and embracement of safety and security practices within another department and/or division. The goal is the development of a safety and security program that involves total associate participation. Moreover, an additional element to the corporate audit is the requirement of continued knowledge of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the application of its established standards regarding safety and security. The goal of OSHA is to enhance existing processes and procedures and assure compliance of staff and/or general public safety is first and foremost the highest priority by the organization in its operations prerequisites. Because the first of the two audits is so in-depth, it is very time consuming. The normal time needed for the corporate audit is eight or more hours, this is property specific and ranges greatly depending upon the general make up of the property, e.g. city versus resort, luxury and/or residences.

The second of the two audits is more localized, and involves the checks and balances of safety and security processes that coincide with local emergency and/or fire and safety entities, e.g. local fire and rescue departments. This audit or inspection is performed by the local Fire Marshall. While this audit or inspection is not as time consuming as the corporate audit, it is no less important and critical to operational requirements. This audit encompasses combining knowledge of local governing ordinances, state laws and OSHA prerequisites, e.g. inspection of emergency generator, electrical closets, automatic sprinkler systems, alarm systems, elevator operations, horizontal fire doors, fire alarm enunciator panels, emergency strobes and speaker systems, fire stairwells, emergency egress, services corridors and fire control rooms. Moreover, the Fire Marshall evaluates all conference or public assembly rooms for correct occupancy cards and permits, structural drawings that exhibit state or local certification and approval by a local emergency entity, employee training regarding emergency evacuation processes and procedures, and appropriate storage room usage for safety clearance for ceiling (sprinkler systems). All such components have one key element as its focal point; emergency processes and the protection of life and assets. The normal time needed for the Fire Marshall audit is four to six hours, this too is property specific and ranges greatly depending upon the general make up of the property, e.g. city versus resort, luxury and/or residences.

The two audits I have discussed at length demonstrate the significance of their role in enhancing organizational efficiency regarding the conceptualization, training, implementation and the fostering of management practices toward the assurance of safety and security as first and foremost within organizational prioritization. The two audits compliment each other as they provide blanket of protection for asset protection. The knowledge gained by such audits truly enable individuals charged with the direction of safety and security to demonstrate practices that will align corporate and local safety and security measures that are proactive and continual in the education of safety and security in today’s work environments.

Bernard S. Robinson
Managing Partner, Principal
Robinson Security Consultancy

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Soft Targets Are Elevated In Luxury Hotels

While large occupancy hotels focus more on conference services and large groups, however, luxury hotels are more focused in providing individualized services. Luxury hotels cater to a clientele that is very demanding in their services and products they use. This poses many problems and emphasizes soft targets. Soft Targets are those organizational entities wherein security proactive measures are not the highest within the organization's objectives whereas security measures do not coincide with budgetary constraints.

There is large human traffic in general population areas, this holds true even more so with convention hoteliers and often within management practices in convention hotels. Hotels fixed location normally with limited exit strategies, and shallow security proactive measures and perimeters are most vulnerable. Hotels in general are considered soft targets, however, within luxury hotels, this can be elevated due to the heightened service oriented environment that has potentially large threats in access.

Because of these threats, improvements must be made to address the casual environments hotels soft targets seem to convey. Security measures can improve through awareness of daily activities of guests and patrons, collaboration with local law enforcement agencies and emergency response teams, and informed and trained staff members of situational awareness and emergency response procedures. This process requires security practices that embrace the importance of asset protection and investing in the security upgrades that will provide products and services to act as proactive measures rather than reactive measures. And although, security departments are under budgetary constraints most of the time, it is often the last department that funding applies to rather than automatically planned for. The toll of asset loss has been great, especially in monetary value, however, investment in security, most particularly in the hotel industry, proves both to guests and patrons of hotels that management has a commitment to their overall safety and protection.

Stay safe!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yesterday’s Lessons and Tomorrow’s Application

As we ushered in the twenty first century, many sectors of society held high degrees of apprehensiveness and anxiety about cyber and real world criminal activity that would disable many sectors with the Y2K bug, and other possible criminal elements. The first decade of the twenty first century introduced American to terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and those fragments that support a philosophy and direction of criminal activity that devalued life to emphasize its agenda. The ripple effect and its consequences gave way to the re-prioritization of security and its role from back drop and least concerned to the forefront of operational significance, not just in cyberspace but in many other segments, e.g. airports, subways, interstate commerce, and historic sites throughout North America.

Yes, the first decade was special and the events that transpired were memorable, but if we cannot gain insight from those lessons learned, then how are we to progress and apply those teachings into applications wherein we demonstrate our new found knowledge.
Security operations and its application, regardless to its origin, is crucial to the assurance we have polices and procedures in place to employ proactive measures that prevent the destruction of assets and the obliteration of human life to support criminal agenda.

The old saying, “Time Waits for No Man” is applicable in the security industry because it says that we cannot be apprehensive nor indecisive about the lessons gained from past vulnerabilities and the implementations of those polices and procedures that corroborate conceptualization, training, and implementation, of sound direction for security that protects against terrorism, both foreign and domestic. However, the second decade appears to be heading into redundancy of the first unless we learn from our mistakes and create innovative security solutions. The lessons learned failed yet again and we are again faced with organizations that have no trepidation about engaging in activity that place humans into harms way or the probability of asset loss.

It behooves us as an industry to re-evaluate lessons learned and applications of sound management practices and policies implementation that demonstrate we can now move in the direction that alleviates ambiguity in security efficiency, effectiveness, and operational significance. Robinson Security Consultancy (RSC) finds its role in this process to be a competent information provider; information that facilitates industry practice and sound application that exudes proficiency and expertise.