We spoke to Rahul Lal, MRICS, National Head for Infrastructure, Facilities, Real Estate & Security, Dalmia Bharat Group to understand the changing role of a CSO in ensuring security for an organization, how he foresees security strategies maturing in the Indian corporate organizations, the role played by technologies such as AI, IoT, Machine Learning and Big Data in enhancing security of an organization and his views on the IFSEC India show and how it can be leveraged by the security stakeholders to enhance awareness about security products and learn about security strategies.
Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma
1. Please dwell on the changing role of a CSO in ensuring security for an organization.
In this ever changing world of advance crime methodologies and MIS requirements, the CSOs of today must be excellent technocrats and administrators. It is imperative for them to focus on a few key elements of their work, so as to keep up with the evolving security requirements.
A CSO needs to understand the legal limits and crime definitions, so as to optimally undertake his role as an efficient manager. The CSOs must be well versed with the laws of the land, with a thorough knowledge of legal pitfalls of any action that may pose serious legal trouble for the company. The CSO must be able to give sound basic advice in such matters.
While the modern day technology provides the means to monitor, control and record activities in a much-advanced and efficient manner, it is critical for a CSO to distinguish between the need for technology and the fortification of profile by strong work processes and procedures. No amount of technology can help if the processes are inadequate, breached or compromised. The CSO has to be an advocate for deployment of technology only where it is absolutely required. Any excesses are a waste of company resources.
The CSOs have to be excellent auditors with a thorough knowledge of formulating meaningful audit formats that will help generate useful MIS and will establish accountability, faith and justification of the manpower and technology deployed. With the right analytical skills, the data always reveals surprising facts that may never have been evident otherwise. It is important for them to document even the smallest of details and mandates them to create, upkeep and retain vital records.
Understanding the application, limitation and comparative analysis of different technologies is a skill that the CSO must possess. This will ensure correct recommendations for expensive investments without burdening the bottom line.
2. How do you foresee security strategies maturing in the Indian corporate organizations?
The importance of manpower management and legal compliance is growing by the day, more so because of the growing litigation trends. Key strategies for a mature Indian corporate should include elements like respectful communications, flexibility, technological advancements, hiring the right resources etc.
Communicating respectfully is a key aspect one must follow and the compatibility with the needs of the company must replace the hierarchy.
I also believe that rigidity does not work in today’s corporate world. Modern tools of control and record generation must replace the files and wastage of stationary wherever possible.
It is important to rethink the skill set required for a CSO’s role. Having served the army or the paramilitary is not a standard of corporate security capabilities. Lack of legal knowledge, IT know how and issues with corporate adaptability are huge challenges with such incumbents. A degree in corporate security with LLB would work better for a CSO’s role as legal liability is one of the biggest issue turning out to be nightmare for the corporates.
Certifications from world renowned organizations like ASIS, ACFE, IFPO, S2 are also sought after.
3. What role can technologies such as AI, IoT, Machine Learning and Big Data play in enhancing security of an organization?
Modern day technologies play a critical role in managing and enhancing the security of any organization. One of such technologies is Data Analysis and Big Data. However, the paramount requirement for the implementation of these technologies, is the onboarding of CSOs with sound technical knowhow of these technologies.
Data analysis plays a key role in identifying the emerging threats, adequateness of existing measures, evaluation of performance of roles and responsibilities, monitoring function related data, and identify business issues. Modernization of security function using latest analytical and programmable advanced software and gadgetry is a force multiplier that aids and strengthens the function on multiple fronts.
One such great example for this is Big Data. Big data is a concept that uses millions of data ranges scattered across multiple locations at a very fast speed to arrive at conclusions that are then used to predict the future possible occurrences of crime against the company. For effective use of Big data analytics, a corporate needs to be strong in MIS, which in turn requires tech savvy CSOs.
Before implementing any modern technology, strengthening base processes, and having the necessary skills to adapt, are the core necessities to justify the investment. Machines require trained manpower to operate it with any efficiency, and the present-day security is severely lacking regarding the tech skills of the managers entrusted with handling the function.
4. How do you think expos such as IFSEC India can be leveraged by the security stakeholders to enhance awareness about security products and learn about security strategies?
The Security expos provide high-impact informative demos and a wealth of opportunities for the stakeholders to network and learn about new technologies, industry best practices and trends, challenges, market insights and discover the best solutions to keep their business and clients secured.
The interactive workshops being conducted at these Expos helps in enlightening the participants with an array of political, socio-economic, societal, legal/ regulatory and environmental risk impacts to businesses of all sizes and complexities, comprehend further analysing the risks and opportunities that they present to their businesses to de-risk and grow.
Comprehensive understanding on subjects such as the emerging trends in critical infrastructure Security, the evolving role of CSO in Crisis Management and in ensuring Business Continuity, identifying security risks to an organization and implementing the right strategy to combat them, the growing importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Internet of Things (IoT) in augmenting the capability of Surveillance Systems, the increasing sophistication of cyber-attacks on Surveillance Systems and how unmanned aerial vehicles can be effectively used to patrol the company premises are some of the benefits participants can avail.
Security trade fairs address every aspect related to the management of security, ranging from cyber security, intellectual property, theft and fraud, to physical security. Many innovative security solutions are exhibited in such shows. Participating in security & protection trade fairs helps the exhibitors to increase their sale prospects by reaching out to huge audience at the right time and the visitors and participants are significantly benefited from such exhibitions so that they can buy products of their choice.