04 March 2019


This month Simon Banks talks to Ben Edwards, who now works for a leading social media company. Ben has previously held senior roles at Ralph Lauren and Hewett Packard.

Your career has spanned retail, enterprise and now to a social platform. What differences and similarities have you experienced between these sectors?

The fundamental difference between retail security and corporate security is public access. In retail, a safe and secure space must be created and maintained for not only company employees but customers as well. This can be very challenging as companies are accepting responsibility and/or liability for members of the public whilst they are on the premises. Attempting to create a strategy for every eventuality in a creative, luxury clothing environment – across multiple sites – is not an easy task. There are similar challenges across industries and a good core security experience will serve you well in any industry. However, I do believe if you can survive in a retail security environment, you can succeed anywhere! You will be able to adapt as a security professional in most other industries due to the dynamic environment you have experienced in retail.

How have you been able to successfully utilise these transferable skills from retail to other environments?

My risk management knowledge has developed with every role. Risk appears in different forms but has always been present and prominent in each environment I have experienced. The biggest risk and most important factor of all three environments are the people. Employees are the number one asset of any big global corporation, followed by the company’s reputation and protection of their brand.

What are the real risks that face end-users and Installers in today’s security environment?

Today, a far more dynamic professional is a necessity in our sector. As we enter further into the digital age it is paramount that the modern-day physical security professional understands cyber security. If you are installing multiple security systems within your businesses, it is essential to hold a level of understanding of the protection provided by these systems and their potential vulnerabilities. Interestingly, it is the ‘insider threat’ trend that is on the increase across the board and we are seeing more and more incidents across businesses globally. This is monitored by focussing on people’s behaviours and cyber activities. Certain behaviours displayed by an employee can give early warning to malicious research and detect these incidents before they happen. Security Operations Centres are now utilised by an increasing amount of companies. These facilities allow convergence of both cyber and physical functions, such as the Barclays Bank Joint Operations Centre (JOC) in Canary Wharf.

Within these new risks are we also seeing new opportunities in terms of technologies and analytics?

The further development of Artificial Intelligence is central to the future of security technology and analytics. AI will be critical to the development of both physical systems for analytics and intelligent software algorithms. This will also play a pivotal role in automation, reducing headcount for cost savings and giving early warning, identifying, flagging and potentially resolving incidents instinctively.


“Your service is amazing, your products are amazing, your communication is amazing. If only every company was like yours, everything would run much smoother.”

Terry Grant, Lantern Fire and Security – 4th Feb

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