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Don't Say No - Say How
Security procedures are often seen as things that get in the way of doing business. Whether it is a locked door, or a rule that prevents an employee from installing a new software application on his desktop computer, many people see security procedures as things that slow them down and prevent them from getting things done.
When you are the security director for your business, or a manager of a department that has security as one of its many responsibilities, you are often in the position of having to say “NO” to employee requests. When you see things that you think have potential to cause harm to the organization and the people that you are charged to protect, your first reaction is to prohibit these things. While this response is natural, it is typical of the “old school” way of thinking in the security profession, where the need to provide good security takes priority over all else.
While this way of thinking was prevalent in the 20th Century, it has given people who manage security the image of being the “company cop” – stogy, unbending, and an obstacle to productivity. Consequently, these people are never really seen as a part of the management team, and are rarely invited to strategy planning sessions and are often the last ones to learn about new developments in the company.
The 20th Century security manager is going the way of the dinosaur. To survive in the 21st Century business environment, security professionals must be “business enablers” that help the business move forward and contribute value to the bottom line. Managers responsible for security need to think more like business people and less like cops. As a part of this shift in thinking, managers need to find ways to stop automatically saying “NO” when other business units suggest doing things that may conflict with standard security practices
While there are some things that are and must remain absolute “NOs”, there are many requests that can be safely accommodated without jeopardizing security if they are approached in a positive and creative way. Instead of saying “NO”, try to find a way to say “HOW”. In other words, instead of telling someone that they can’t do what they want to do, tell them how they can do what they want to do while at the same time minimizing security risks.
For people who have been in the security business a long time, this shift in thinking can be a real struggle. You must set aside your normal prejudices and start thinking outside of the box. Here are a few things that you should consider when making the transition to the Don’t Say "No" – Say "How” way of thinking:
If you need help in finding ways to make your security program more responsive to the needs of your organization, please contact us.
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