Security Buyer talks exclusively with Don Erickson, CEO, Security Industry Association (SIA) to discover his perspective on the covid-19 pandemic and the future security landscape.
SIA provides training and advice, how are you helping guide members during this time?
In the very early days of the pandemic, SIA quickly pivoted to delivering a substantial amount of online content to help guide members during this unprecedented period. We have accelerated the development of online courses and published research that has helped members to increase their sales, onboard employees, harden their products and systems, stay abreast of federal financial assistance available to businesses; all while also facilitating introductions for our members to potential channel partners through innovative programs.
SIA has launched SIAcademy LIVE! e-learning programs, which cover specialised topics like how to do business with the government, how to optimise challenging parts of your integration business, cybersecurity training for physical security pros and even technical training on video and access control systems.
With the shift to remote working, do you think e-learning and digital training will continue post-covid?
There is no question that business owners have gained a deeper appreciation for the cost efficiencies associated with virtual learning and that digital transformation of many education programs has occurred more quickly than expected. When possible, security professionals will return to valuable in-person experiences and learning environments at events such as ISC West, of which SIA is the premier sponsor and leads the development of its conference program known as SIA Education@ISC. In-person instruction and workshops offered at ISC West and virtual learning opportunities offered by SIA will continue together. As individuals seek professional advancement, they will place greater emphasis on blended content delivery offered through both in-person opportunities such as ISC West workshops and virtual courses including the online SIA Cornerstones Learning Series and Security Project Management (SPM) courses.
How do you think the industry has tackled the Covid-19 crisis?
This industry never wavered in its determination to fulfil the mission of protecting people, property and assets during the pandemic period. In my more than 15 years at SIA, I have not witnessed a more cohesive mobilisation of business earlier behind a single cause than when more than 500 business leaders worked together earlier this year to secure “essential worker” status. The proliferation of new products introduced in the past year, many of which were recognised during the virtual SIA New Product Showcase (NPS) program, demonstrated that innovation by SIA manufacturer members never slowed down and continued to drive industry financial health. During this pandemic and period of racial unrest, our industry consistently recognised the heroes among us—first responders, teachers, members of the military and health care professionals.