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2020: What Has NOT Changed?

By Eddie Sorrells, CPP, PCI, PSP

At this point it seems beyond banal, and painfully obvious, to state that 2020 has been a time of unprecedented change in our society. Remote work, virtual school, and that often fleeting hope that tomorrow, or possibly next week, …ok maybe next month…. things will get back to normal. Like most, I viewed the situation we are currently in much differently in March than I do now. Back then when someone would raise the prospect of still “doing this” in the fall, let alone winter, I scoffed. “Of course, things will be back to normal by then” I declared when faced by the prospect of cancelling an industry event, customer meeting, or family vacation. I was motivated only by a desire to get back to business as usual. But here we are still dealing with change and grappling with ways to still do the things that are important. But when it comes to our industry, instead of bemoaning all the routines of life that have been upended, let’s take a moment and spotlight the things that haven’t changed for the security professional.

The Need for Continuing Education

The beginning of 2020 ushered in a renewed call for security professionals to expand their knowledge base in many different areas. Security technology is advancing at a rapid rate, while threats are evolving just as quickly. And this was pre pandemic! Security professionals in early 2020 were in need of cutting-edge information related to best practices, recognized security standards, and ways to mitigate threats that change almost daily. Has this changed considering what we have gone through the past few months? Only in one very important way—now the need is greater! While the delivery method is different, and the dynamic of learning in itself has shifted in many ways, now is the time to run towards continuing education and best practices. Regardless of where you find yourself in your career, whether you are a CSO or in an entry level position, there is no greater strategic value for anyone working in security than continuing education. If we have learned nothing as security professionals in uncertain times it is to arm ourselves with information about what we are going through now, and what the future holds.

The Need for Networking and Mentorship

OK, let’s state the obvious from the outset: it is hard to match the value and benefit of in-person networking. But because of the times we are living in, this of course presents many challenges. So, do we place this aside until things get back to normal? I do not believe we can afford that kind of delay. Just as with continuing education, the need to freely exchange ideas, challenges, and potential solutions has never been more critical. Associations and networking events have taught me one critical lesson, even as I approach 30 years in the industry: I need mentoring at every stage of my career. The day that I decide I have nothing left to learn from an educational session, a talk with colleague, or friendly advice from someone who has walked where I am heading, is the day I shall realize it is time to do something else . The need for networking and mentorship never goes away, it just grows stronger.

So, have things changed in 2020? Of course, they have. But as we enter the final phase of this unique year in our history let us concentrate on what has not changed! Our industry is poised for bigger, better, and greater things than ever before. But we must continue to invest in ourselves, our peers, and our profession If we truly hope to reap the benefits for years to come. I look forward to taking another such step on my journey at GSX+.

Eddie Sorrells, CPP, PCI, PSP is chief operating officer and general counsel at DSI Security Services. Sorrells has two sessions at GSX+ this year: The Role of Off-Duty Police in Disaster Planning and Recovery and COVID-19-Related Emerging Lawsuits and Liability Issues.