Q & A: Eduard Emde, CPP


Eduard EmdeWith 38,000 members worldwide, Eduard Emde is the first non-US member within ASIS International to be elected to the Presidency.  Making his home in the Netherlands, Eduard has been traveling the world extensively to promote ASIS and the Security Industry since taking office in January of this year.  Throughout his travels, Voice of Security has been touching base with Eduard to gain his perspective on a number of topics.  In this Q & A Eduard shares thoughts on ASIS, his personal security journey, what he sees as the challenges for individual security professionals, and more. Voice of Security:  What prompted you to originally get involved in ASIS International?

Eduard Emde:  I first learned about ASIS in the 1980’s. After connecting with some members, I joined in 1990 as a student member. The education coupled with the global networking opportunities were very appealing and quite valuable to me as I began my career in the security profession. These aspects of membership have been consistently beneficial to me over the past two decades. I am very proud to serve as the first non-U.S. president and to be in a position to give back to the association and the profession.

Voice of Security:  What type of ASIS International growth have you seen since becoming a member in 1990?

Eduard Emde:  We have added thousands of new international members to our community since I joined in 1990.  Although ASIS has had a global presence from the beginning, (in 1959, four years after the foundation of ASIS, there was already a chapter outside the U.S. and international growth has been ever present) the footprint has grown larger. In 2002, the emphasis on the word “international” in the name marked a milestone and was introduced to more accurately represent the membership body.

Voice of Security:  Now that you are President, are there specific areas where you will focus the attention of your Presidency?  What are those areas and what do you hope to accomplish in each one?

Eduard Emde:  There are many activities that, for the large part, will be led and supported by dedicated ASIS volunteers and staff. ASIS chapters, regions, councils, and ad-hoc committees initiate and manage activities related to ASIS board certification, education, and standards and guidelines. The ASIS Foundation focuses on research and development of the profession as well as the professional, while special membership groups such as the CSO Roundtable, Women in Security, and Young Professionals address some of the unique interests, needs, and challenges of these particular sectors within the membership.

I have three important areas of emphasis. I am passionate about ASIS being visibly inclusive and truly global. Secondly, I want to focus on members and potential members in terms of ensuring that the products and services we present are most in line with their needs as a security professional. And lastly, it is my hope that by advancing these first two goals, more people will know about ASIS, share our mission, beliefs, and ideals about security and, ultimately join.

Voice of Security:  It seems to me that desire for certification (and actual attainment of certification) is growing at a faster rate in Europe than the US.  Is that the case?  If so, to what do you attribute that trend?

certificationEduard Emde:  Board certification brings benefits to everyone who aspires to be recognized as a professional in the respective field. I see no difference in geographical areas. Of course spreading the word is important and I surmise that growth exists where there are others who are espousing the benefits. Although ASIS certification programs have been in existence for 35 years this year, there are areas in the world where it remains relatively new and, often where English is a second or third language. In these areas, getting certified clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to the security profession and evidently conveys the global nature of certification as a worldwide standard of professional competency.

Voice of Security:  ASIS and ISCjoined forces for the first time at the 2011 Orlando conference.  To a large degree IT Security has seemed to exist outside the focus of ASIS International for many years.  Where do you see this partnership between the organizations going as time goes on?

Eduard Emde:  ASIS has traditionally been focused on serving security practitioners in the physical security fields, investigations, crisis management, etc. Over the years, in ASIS council activities and otherwise, information security has always been a serious consideration. It was the technology side of information security and IT in general that was most often explored, but not as a primary focus. The association is seeking ways in which the full spectrum of Information Security knowledge is accessible for members who wish to acquire basic knowledge or become specialists in these fields.

Cooperation with leading organizations is a key element to ASIS reaching its goals most effectively. For example, we partner with the International Association of Chiefs of Police because we recognize the importance of public private partnerships. Likewise, our recent partnership with (ISC)2 is very valuable. As I am both a CPP and a CISSP, I take great pleasure in seeing the benefits afforded to many by the colocation of the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits and (ISC)2 Security Congress for the second consecutive year. We’ll be together in Philadelphia, PA, USA from September 10-13. I can foresee these and other partnerships introducing even more benefits to our members and potential members in the future.[tfg_social_share]

Voice of Security:  Security Professionals will be curious about your own consulting business.  How did you decide to go into business for yourself?

Eduard Emde:  The experience I gained in security management has always been either as a consultant or an in-house consultant or security manager. I started with KPMG and then worked with a large financial institution before joining the European Space Agency as the head of safety and security of the ESTEC research and testing facility. Since 2007, I have been working in security management consultancy.  On my own, I act primarily as a security coach to managers and security professionals who seek assistance with enterprise security functions or consult during times of change, when new issues arise or staff development is needed. For Europe, I also act as a guide for companies from other parts of the world that are seeking solutions for issues they encounter when entering or expanding their presence there. My current position provides me with the flexibility to both work with clients and also dedicate a considerable amount of time to the presidency of ASIS. My core focus this year is ASIS. I will serve as Chairman of the Board in 2013. I can see myself returning to a corporate job at some point in the future, as I believe some tasks can be done better by an insider. This profession is in constant movement; new opportunities abound. It is for these very reasons that I so enjoy being a security professional every day. I think it is a good field for talented and motivated young professionals.

Voice of Security:  What advice do you have for other Security Professionals considering launching their own business?

Eduard Emde:  It may not be a revolutionary thought, but I feel that you have to keep close to your core capabilities and beliefs and focus on delivering the best quality service you can. In hand with these, it is important to develop and maintain lasting, trusted relationships with clients and others in the profession. To me, it is irrelevant whether someone is in a corporate or a vendor position—a dedication to the profession and a sincere focus is required. Of course, as in any profession or position, there needs to be a fit. I have been very fortunate in that I have seen many industries and experienced a wide scope of the profession in a variety of roles. That in and of itself is something that I would recommend to people entering the profession. Although there is a distinct need to specialize now, I am convinced there is a great benefit to possessing a diversity of experiences and having exposure to different perspectives.

Voice of Security:  When you look into the future for individual security professionals, what are the greatest challenges we face?

Eduard Emde:  Specifically and simply, keeping up with change is the greatest challenge for any security professional. Constant changes in technology and business circumstances together pose complex challenges and opportunities for today’s security professional. In the area of communications alone, the evolution of 24/7 availability has challenged the way and the means by which organizations track, secure, and protect their people, property, and information. Globalization of business is another significant challenge for organizations that has had a dramatic impact on the security profession and professional. Assets (again, people, products, and information) are in motion across borders and cultures.

Voice of Security:  Are you considering more professional development for yourself?  If so, what are you going to focus on?

Eduard Emde:  If there were three of me, I would focus one on learning more languages, traveling, and delving into understanding different cultures within countries, industries, and organizations. The second would focus on knowledge both in learning from other fields like safety, reliability studies, business innovation, management research etc., as well as broadening and deepening my knowledge in the information technology field and many other established and emerging fields. The third “me” would want to invest in maintaining the network and professional friendships that have brought so much benefit over the years. Unfortunately, there is only one of me with limited time and resources. Therefore, I’ll focus on education and networking whenever and wherever possible. I am very honored to be in a position this year that graciously and generously affords me many opportunities to do just that.

Conclusion – Voice of Security thanks Eduard Emde for his accessibility over the past months and his willingness to share his thoughts on a wide variety of security industry topics.  It is very clear that the ASIS organization (and its members) has benefited greatly from Eduard’s giving of himself to promote the security profession and draw attention to issues that impact the future of security.  He has a genuine interest in bettering this industry and is able to communicate it by both his actions and his words—traits we certainly need in today’s security leadership.