As businesses respond to shifting work environments, novel safety concerns, and emerging security threats, many are rethinking their approach to safety and security. Not only do companies have a moral responsibility to keep their people and property secure, but it’s increasingly becoming a key differentiator that impacts their ability to attract and retain top talent.
It’s both a significant challenge and a profound opportunity. Chuck Andrews understands this dynamic well. As the Founder of Friends of Chuck, a security group that exists for the purposes of networking, locating employment, and discovering new emerging security technologies, Andrews has unique insights into the latest security technologies enhancing workplace safety.
In addition, Andrews is a trusted security advisor, strategist, and thought leader. We recently connected with Andrews about the latest security challenges companies face as they transition to remote work, the defining features of companies that truly take security seriously, and the technologies enhancing workplace safety in 2022 and beyond.
As a security industry expert with experience in law enforcement and corporate security, what unique safety challenges are businesses facing in today’s hybrid work environment?
After experiencing two pandemic years, people and businesses are increasingly adopting hybrid work arrangements. While this is a boon for companies and their employees, it poses many security challenges, especially related to protecting people’s personally identifiable information (PII).
At the same time, we also have less consistency with who is on and off-premise, making it more difficult to determine who is in and out of a building. As a result, authenticating individuals is a particularly novel challenge.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to understand who is on and off-site because people are not arriving or leaving on a set schedule, creating greater security risks because everything is more difficult to assess. For example, security personnel might not recognize employees, requiring new and better authentication methods to keep people and property secure.
Your far-reaching and accomplished career, including 40 years of experience in law enforcement and securities industries, undoubtedly provided unparalleled insights into the impact of security best practices. What are the defining features of businesses that truly take security seriously?
Companies that truly take security seriously make regular, even daily, communication a top priority. They use a variety of formats, including email, security briefings, or “safety moment” meetings.
This is especially true for chemical companies and critical infrastructure entities where safety is their first and most important job. When safety is the top priority, every day starts with a safety and security moment. These meetings help make safety and security top of mind for all employees.
Unfortunately, too many companies ignore this priority. In my opinion, less than 5% of corporations actually do that. They don’t communicate best practices, and companies should be doing more of this.
However, safety and security costs time, money, and resources, and many c-suite leadership and boards don’t see security as a risk because security incidents don’t happen with enough frequency or affect them personally enough to justify the expense. But there are many things that corporations could do at low cost using existing communication strategies to improve safety and security outcomes for everyone.
Many companies don’t invest time, talent, or resources in safety and security. Since they don’t act like they have a duty of care, and they aren’t exposed with enough frequency (concern) with legal liability, it’s a priority that isn’t properly supported. Of course, after facing brand damage, loss of employees/business, litigation, or diminished work performance, companies rush to enhance their safety and security efforts.
Many companies are leaning into tech-based solutions to protect their physical spaces. With experience in both physical and cybersecurity spaces, what are the top advantages of this trend?
This helps with issues of zero trust environments, frictionless ability to come and go, and it addresses unauthorized personnel, including tailgating scenarios, or a discharged employee back on the property. People are generally comfortable with this, and you are going to see more and more of this. It’s very much a growing space. When security solutions start combining AI and Machine Learning, the risk continues to lower as these powerful technologies enhance security capacity.
What's your favorite feature about Alcatraz AI?
Alcatraz AI has developed a very compelling, real-time authentication that uses powerful analytics and access control capabilities. They’ve made it so frictionless that it’s almost a second thought. It does not disrupt workflow. They’ve really automated the ability to mitigate a variety of risks under one rock.
Technology is complimenting security practices, and it should be. It's an efficient and cost-effective way to reduce exposure while helping with regulatory compliance where needed. I advocate for looking at and utilizing technology - from access control and identification to entrance control systems - for a variety of reasons, including fire safety, reconciliation, unauthorized personnel, active shooter, and more.
Work culture is demanding more of a touchless verification of someone’s identity, and one of the ways to do that is through facial authentication.
Right now, facial recognition is getting a bad rap. Many people don’t understand that corporations using this technology are using permissioned access because the only people that are in the system work at the company. It’s part of security norms.