Canadian Security Magazine

Reaching resilience: The new model

By Kristine Power   


The inaugural 2013 Reaching Resilience Conference is happening on May 27 and 28 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto.

The conference will bring together the latest trends and thinkers in security, crisis management, and business continuity, with a specific focus on collaboration as a way to create and sustain organizational resilience.

Conference Chair Malcolm Smeaton says the conference will offer everyone from practitioners to senior executives the ability to share experiences and discuss their work. “Sometimes it is difficult to get together and have a real conversation about the work we do and the lessons we have learned throughout our careers,” says Smeaton. “Usually we all work away in our silos and sometimes lose sight of the big picture. This conference is an attempt to bring everyone together.”

The power of shared experience is at the very core of the conference. This year’s theme is “The Art of Collaboration.” Resilience requires more than just co-operation between security, crisis management and business continuity departments in an organization; it requires putting the goal of overall organizational resilience ahead of each program’s own improvement. This shift in approach is something Smeaton believes is necessary to truly prepare for the risks that an organization faces. “Programs very rarely report to the same executives but they often perform similar processes. That’s when we find ourselves competing for those coveted resources or engaging in turf wars,” says Smeaton. “Duplicated efforts and the lack of co-ordination lead to poor risk management.”

For security practitioners, presentations will cover topics ranging from national security to local security issues such as facility security and employee screening programs. Equally as important, the conference will provide an opportunity for subject-matter experts to network and discuss their work with attendees.
The range and quality of subject matter is something registrants welcome. “I am looking forward to what looks like great plenary speakers and breakout presentations at this year’s Reaching Resilience Conference,” says Jason Caissie, vice-president of operations at Profile Group. “Security is a topic that is constantly evolving and this conference aims to cover much of that relevant material.”
Covering the intricate security landscape is a topic that Ray Boisvert, the former Assistant Director of Intelligence at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), knows well. He is set to present on the complicated balance of protecting intellectual capital in an open workplace. Boisvert’s background with CSIS offers a unique perspective steeped in experience from a national security standpoint. In his session, he aims to remind security practitioners of the importance of protecting a crucial asset — information. “In the most practical of ways, the pilfering of knowledge or secret information cannot be so easily arrested. Reducing the risk of loss is a very tricky business in an increasingly complex world,” writes Boisvert in his recent article “Getting it Right: Being Effective or Being Secure.” Social networking and other collaborative communication tools that businesses and organizations now rely on quite heavily also increase their vulnerability to risk.


Other security sessions provided at the 2013 Reaching Resilience Conference include Lina Tsakiris, senior manager of global physical security operations, TD Financial Group, who will present “Four Elements to Impact and Enhance your Security Assessment Toolbox.”

Rafael Etges, information security lead at Ernst & Young is presenting on the “2012 Global Information Security Survey
- Fighting to Close the Gap.” The survey has some surprising and alarming results, including the fact that during the last 12 months, Canada has been behind many countries in security innovation with roughly five per cent of spending invested in new technologies and management processes targeting information security.

In the spirit of collaboration, many sessions will cover elements of security, as well as business continuity and crisis management such as “Advanced Integration of Facility Life Safety, Security & Operational Crisis Management ”and “Critical Components of Emergency Planning” just to name a few.

In addition to presentations on the latest security topics, the 2013 Reaching Resilience Conference will also hold preconference intensive workshops designed to give participants practical learning experience together with takeaway tools, worksheets and checklists to help apply what was learned at the workshop.  

The in-depth workshops include vital hands-on learning of security practices such as how to conduct threat risk assessments and crisis simulations for senior executives. “This is definitely an added bonus,” says Smeaton. “We wanted to combine practical know-how with the broader security concerns we all face in society.”

By sharing the element of networking with specific and detailed workshops, Smeaton hopes to bring together the best of the conference world with high-level learning opportunities that will last well beyond the two-day conference, he says.

The 2013 Reaching Resilience Conference on May 27 and May 28 will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. For live coverage check our LinkedIn group.

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