Brendan McGarrity heads up our Risk and Design division at Evolution and he is also our resident GDPR practitioner. Brendan is a physical security, risk and assurance specialist, having worked in the military and with a wide range of FTSE100 clients. In this Q&A we will find out what motivates Brendan and gather his views on the current security climate.
Can you tell us a little about your background in the security world, Brendan?
When I left school, I joined the Royal Marines, following a serious injury I was discharged and subsequently re-joined the military as a Weapons Mechanic in the RAF. My career took an unusual route when I became a Bomb-Disposal Operator, which can be a pretty stressful job at times - as you can imagine. However, working in a high-risk environment ingrains into you a particular methodical way of working, which exactly lends itself to the skillset needed to deliver risk based, proportionate security solutions. Working in bomb-disposal throws many challenges at you on a daily basis, in which it is essential that you remain calm and collected, ensure clarity of thinking across a 360-degree environment. Having a methodical approach to problem solving is the key to having a successful career also, having left the RAF eight years’ ago, I have worked with FTSE100 companies in a variety of sectors - from governmental to retail.
Do you think that the specialist skills you learnt in your military career benefits your involvement in the security industry’s commercial business?
My military career honed into me accepting discipline and a sense of purpose, from taking care of my appearance, to the methodical way of working to set procedures and due process. I understand the mindset of security in terms of the law and its enforcement and understand how you can transfer those principles to your working life. The skills I learnt during my military career have proved very useful for life outside the military and have served me well thus far.
What is your experience of commercial security systems?
Since leaving the military, I have worked with a wide range of FTSE100 companies across a number of wide and diverse sectors. I have worked on security projects including direct involvement in security design, programme delivery and project management and have also conducted Business Continuity and Security Policy Reviews for clients. One of the key projects I have worked on in my security career since leaving the military, is the provision of risk and assurance to a major sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic and Para Olympic Games. I provided, created, implemented, tested and evaluated security operational processes and procedures for HS1 Javelin service to the Olympic park, on behalf of the Transport Division of the Olympic Delivery Authority.
What works well and what could be improved?
Technology and legislation are rapidly evolving; however, the Policies, Processes and Procedures are often left behind and are not keeping up to support these new requirements and innovations. As a result, tribal inefficiencies are highlighted and exposed across departments and organisational cultures lag far behind. What should happen is that new ideas and inventions should keep pace with the technological developments which accompany them.
What issues and trends are currently dominating the security space?
Data Protection and Big Data! It all comes back to the management of data and implementing systems which are aligned to the current legislative requirements and which are very challenging. I follow the PPP approach: which is ‘Policies, Procedures and Processes’ and use it as a template when implementing GDPR compliance with our clients. This PPP approach can be extended to encompass the 4 P’s, that is the ‘Protection of People and Property through Physical security measures’ - basically helping organisations migrate GDPR compliance, whilst driving forward commercial and operational effectiveness.