Leaders in risk and security - To succeed in security: keep learning

Issue 2 2020 Editor's Choice

Adriaan Bosch has a rich and diverse history in the security industry. Originally from Pretoria, he studied agriculture be-fore going overseas due to a lack of work opportunities. He worked in a variety of jobs while out of the country before starting his first security assignment in the British infantry, eventually becoming a specialised sniper. During his five years in the military he was posted on various deployments and even met his South African wife in London.

Adriaan Bosch.

It’s no surprise that Adriaan ended up in security as his father, Fanie Bosch, was a founder of UNISA’s security programme, which is still going strong today teaching various security-related qualifications.

Once he left the army, Adriaan returned to South Africa and settled in Cape Town where he found no-one was looking to hire a sniper. He then entered the private security market in the close protection world. His work as a bodyguard was ‘strenuous’. While he worked for numerous international celebrities, his shifts were basically from when the clients woke up to when they went to sleep. And apparently, celebrities aren’t big on sleeping much.

While engaged in this field, he met his first mentor, Yann Mouret, who encouraged him to enhance his knowledge and skills in the security management field and introduced him to what was then the local ASIS chapter in Cape Town. His relationship with ASIS turned into a long-term commitment and he eventually chaired the Cape Town chapter.

After a year of close protection, Adriaan applied for a new position as security and risk manager of the De Zalze Winelands and Golf Estate. He spent two years on the estate before he joined Xone Integrated Security as an area manager, looking after various residential estates serviced by the company.

He was soon approached by another estate that had become the focus of criminals and a need to improve the physical security of the estate. The estate asked Adriaan to manage the security function by identifying procedural and security systems vulnerabilities, and develop an holistic security solution for the estate. Key to this project was building reliable perimeter security infrastructure, one part of which was the largest (at that time) fixed thermal camera perimeter system in the world.

The system was a hybrid approach in which internal personnel and external service providers worked together under a decentralised security management structure which made people accountable for their areas of the operation. The solution worked well and the estate was able to assure its residents that the security operation was functioning efficiently once again.

Sinking his teeth into security monitoring

Adriaan’s next challenge was heading Astrosec, a remote monitoring company launched by Fang Security. He put various procedures and processes in place to optimise the delivery of remote security operations and took the company to profitability in its first year of operations. He introduced a concept strategy to the market where command centres play a central role in the prevention, management and investigation of incidents by using new surveillance systems capabilities.

The Foschini Group (TFG) were on the market for a solution that would help them bring down their in-store incidents and approached Adriaan to be part of a new team to tackle the problem head on. While at the retail giant, as security manager, he implemented a centralised command centre approach to security strategy again, while also enhancing it in accordance with the group’s requirements. It ultimately proved to be a roaring success and the team’s efforts led to a significant reduction in in-store incidents and changed the corporation’s strategy on dealing with crime.

Then Shoprite came calling and Adriaan’s latest position is as the group security manager for the organisation. The size and scope of the operation makes for a varied risk landscape where Adriaan’s previous skills and experience are put to the test on a daily basis.

Mentors and ASIS

Throughout his career in South Africa, Adriaan has been involved with ASIS and found a number of mentors through the organisation. The organisation boasts a good blend of experienced security professionals who helped guide him on his path. From complex issues like corporate intelligence, to basics around the correct application of locks and hinges, there was always someone willing to share their knowledge and experience and he lapped up every bit of advice that was passed his way.

He took over the reins as chairman of the ASIS Cape Town Chapter in January 2016 and guided it through an amalgamation with the Johannesburg chapter to form the now South Africa Chapter. He was also fortunate to be awarded the opportunity by the organisation to travel to the USA for the ASIS Global Security Exchange (GSX) where he expanded his network of subject matter experts internationally.

Continual learning is a constant part of Adriaan’s career and he believes everyone should read as much as possible: “you don’t learn if you don’t read”. In addition, he says one doesn’t learn about yourself if you don’t write. Searching for him on the Hi-Tech Security Solutions website will reveal a few security-related articles Adriaan has written for the publication over the years (and there is another one in this issue on ‘Redefining retail and the supply chain’).

Adriaan has never had the chance to formally study a security qualification, but in 2019 he was awarded an Accelerated Scholarship from ASIS. This enabled him to write the ASIS Certified Protection Professional Certification (CPP). At the time of writing, he was busy with his ISMI CSMP (Certified Security Management Professional) certification and together with the ASIS CPP he has enough books to keep him reading for a while.

He says this is a tough course that consumes long hours, but everything you learn you can implement. It challenges you and is meticulous in its marking, which makes the student focus on the topic and pay attention to accuracy in all they do.

Today, Adriaan is in a position where he has become the mentor. He believes that if one has a passion for what you’re doing, you will make the time and effort to learn what you need to learn. He hopes that he will be able to mentor a new breed of security professionals who need to tackle the problems of a new generation.

Learning the ropes

To succeed in the security industry, Adriaan says one doesn’t necessarily need a formal qualification, but that does not mean you don’t need to learn. There are many learning opportunities available remotely which will enable the dedicated student to progress in their career.

However, in today’s world, security systems are all network based and one needs to understand IT and the risks associated with connectivity if you want to be an effective security operator. You don’t need to be a network or technology expert, but you need to understand how things work in order to be able to make decisions about cyber risk mitigation in your security leadership role.

Of course, there are also many jobs in the security market for capable technicians who are able to make technology work in a secure manner. There are also opportunities for control centre operators. People with good verbal skills and the ability to drive office applications with ease could find a good career in this environment.

Adriaan says his ‘secret’ is asking questions, learning, getting advice and doing. The security industry today is like a cake, you need to gather the various ingredients and then learn how to put them together to bake the perfect cake. To succeed in security you take one step at a time, start small and keep learning, expanding your experience and delivering value in every project you are part of.

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