Darren Martin has built highly successful and award-winning security teams. He is an industry expert with experience in protecting large and prestigious clients. We asked Darren to share his thoughts on leadership, training, and technology trends in the security sector today.
What has been your journey to becoming a Strategic Account Manager at Bidvest Noonan?
I started my security career seventeen years ago as a Security Officer, and over a short period of time I developed a strong skillset in loss prevention and risk management. By the age of 22, I had already progressed to the position of Security Manager for one of the largest luxury department stores in Ireland.
This client facing role helped me to further enhance my skills in leadership, people management, effective communication and problem solving. One of the most important things that I learned early on in my career, was that it is imperative you are a person of high integrity, and that the most successful relationships you will have with clients and colleagues are built on trust.
In my five years working in operations, I have been very lucky to have enjoyed success working in partnership with some of the best-known retailers on the high street, the largest luxury department stores and destination shopping centres, as well as popular tourist attractions and multinational corporations.
The security industry is constantly changing, especially after COVID-19. What skills do you think are most important for security professionals nowadays?
Since the start of the pandemic, the security industry has had to rapidly adapt to changing conditions. The role of the Security Officer has evolved from a uniformed deterrent at the entrance, to an ambassador for the business they represent. By showing empathy, using strong communication and customer service skills, the security professional can support the customer journey, enhance their experience, all while advising of the current safety protocols in place.
We have also seen a shift in the way that the security professional uses technology by having to incorporate occupancy counting, temperature checking and contact tracing efforts as part of their daily duties.
And for leadership? What are the essential traits for successful management in security?
I would have to say that being self-motivated, an effective communicator and people orientated are all essential traits to being successful. It is vital to be able to motivate and empower your team members, if you can enlarge their vision, insight and understanding then this is the best way for a team to build momentum and achieve their goals.
How a company can go about ‘upskilling’ its current security teams?
We are always looking for new ways to upskill our security teams. Examples of this include the roll out of a suicide awareness training programme at the start of the year, regular scenario testing events with our colleague Mark Hobden, and most recently providing access to our officers, supervisors and managers to new recognised security and risk management training programmes through our partnership with ISRM.
In my opinion Continuous Professional Development is a personal choice, and one that is very important to me in my role. I completed the Level 6 Diploma for Certified Security Management Professionals last year, and recently completed a Level 5 certificate in Corporate Risk & Crisis Management. It is vital to keep up to date with emerging global risks and threats, as well as mitigating factors and new ways of working.
What trends do you expect to see in the security sector in 2021 and beyond?
I expect to continue to see the security sector catching up with its use of artificial intelligence, this will have a real positive impact on the way that surveillance is used. Operators will become more efficient and proactive by moving to an event-based way of working, rather than continuous manual monitoring.
Companies will continue to move towards remote security solutions as they combine new technologies with traditional manned guarding techniques. Security Officers are being equipped with added tools to enable them to do their jobs more effectively. These include video analytics software for alarm detection, drones for perimeter protection and quicker response, as well as mobile monitoring solutions.
Digital transformation will continue to be a driver of change in business by allowing us to collaborate more efficiently and deliver better value. Security leaders will need to be prepared for the additional risks that this will present. Personal data will continue to be an attractive target for hackers and there will be an increase in the frequency and severity of cybersecurity incidents, particularly ransomware and phishing attacks.