Meshal Aljohani’s industry interview

Meshal Aljohani’s industry interview

This issue Meshal Aljohani, CPP, PSP, PCI, Security Group Supervisor at Aramco, spoke to Abdullah Alshehri, CPP, PSP, PCI, Security Duty Manager at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia.

Describe your experience in the security industry?

Coming from a military background, in 2009 I joined KAUST as a Security Supervisor. Despite the benefits my military experience brought, the military philosophy prevailed in my behaviour and logic, and I found myself sometimes moving against the grain. I believed that protecting assets was the ultimate goal. However, I realised that this narrow view did not serve the organisation well, especially when security practices needlessly hamper its operations. I was fortunate to work with a number of security experts who helped me develop a new view of the security primary mission. Becoming a member of several professional organisations, and attaining professional certifications have helped me grow professionally, allowing me to progress through the KAUST Security Department. I realised that security should be a business enabler not hindrance, and that the primary role of security is to serve the organisation to achieve its vision and goals. By wearing both security expert hat, and business leader hat, a security expert is able to set the right balance and achieve security objectives within the context of the organisation’s strategic goals.

What are the most pressing security challenges in your region?

Globalisation, convergence, advanced technology, ever-changing threats, and growing regulatory requirements have made businesses that operate locally and internationally tackle a wide range of physical, digital, operational, supply chain, and compliance risks. Businesses often have several separate functions such as physical security, cybersecurity, risk management, business continuity operating in silos, though they all aim to protect the business from all kinds of risks and ensure continuity of operations during interruptions. This is one of the big challenges facing security professionals and businesses alike. Structuring security and risk functions separately leads to confusion, wasted resources, and duplicated work streams. Perhaps the most effective approach is to establish a converged security program that brings a lot these functions under a single security executive such as a CSO. Bringing leaders of these multidisciplinary functions under the CSO helps to establish a holistic approach to manage risks, reduce cost, improve decision making, enhance intelligence sharing, and optimise use of resources.

Tell us about your experience with ASIS and how it has enhanced your career?

In 2011, I met a number of CPP-certified security experts who told me about it, and the certifications it offers. Immediately, I did my research about it and I was amazed at the strong reputation it has and what its certifications o er security practitioners in terms of exclusivity, recognition, growth and branding. I made ASIS International Certifications my main goal to obtain an offer filling their requirements. Eight years later, I earned the Triple Crown (CPP, PCI, and PSP). In 2021, ASIS Professional Certification Board recognised me for my significant contributions to the enhancement and advancement of its certifications. ASIS certifications have given me recognition, credibility, competitive advantage, and career and income enhancements. I consider ASIS International as my indispensable empowerment entity because of the many benefits it offers in terms of networking, security standards, intelligence and trends in threats, educational courses, the latest security technology, and conferences and exhibitions

How will the security landscape evolve in the next decade?

Technology is evolving rapidly and will have a major impact on the security landscape in the years to come. We will see more physical security systems that are faster, more efficient, more agile, and smarter. For example, many manufacturers already use some form of artificial intelligence(AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) in many security systems, including video surveillance, access control, drones, robots, and biometrics and facial recognition. These technologies help to intelligently correlate data, and independently and automatically draw conclusions and predict potential risks. Hence, AI, ML, and DL technologies are the future, and they will revolutionise the physical security landscape in the coming years, enabling proactive and effective security responses to security threats.