At Invictus Consulting we have a special place in our hearts for schools that want to improve their security. We all have children of our own and take very seriously the idea that schools should be safe places.
Part of our risk assessment process when we go to schools is to interview various faculty and staff to get a clear understanding of the school’s current policies and procedures as relates to visitor management, credentialing, emergency protocols, and reporting issues.
The interview process is intended as a way to uncover gaps between theoretical policies and procedures and what is actually happening on a day-to-day basis. For example, administration may indicate that visitors are supposed to be buzzed in to a building, sign in at reception (after having their ID checked), get a visitors badge, and be escorted to their destination by a member of the faculty or staff. What happens in practice may be very different (e.g., they ran out of visitor badges a year and a half ago and people usually forget to sign in), and the interviews are a way to uncover this difference.
The interview process is never used a source of blame or condemnation – it is a data collection tool used to uncover gaps in security. With that said, sometimes interviewees are nervous to answer questions truthfully, fearing that they will be reprimanded or seen as ratting out the administration. This is precisely one of the times at which being a woman in the world of security consulting is a virtue. So many security consulting firms are paramilitary in nature – the majority of their assessors are ex-military and ex-law enforcement men, which can be intimidating. Imagine being nervous about an interview in the first place and then sitting face-to-face with an intimidating man who looks like he just stepped out of a RoboCop movie who asks you who has access to the building. “ummmm…. I think people have to sign in and the doors have keycard access….” (Never mind admitting to this man that sometimes teachers leave doors propped open! Best leave that little confession out of the interview…)
As a woman in the security industry, I see the value in sometimes having a less intimidating person conduct interviews at schools. We want people to be completely open and honest (otherwise we aren’t really uncovering gaps in security), and the reality is that women faculty and staff are apt to be more open and honest with a woman interviewer.
Being a woman in the security industry is a topic we will continue to explore on this blog, so come back regularly to take a look at this subject with us.