THE MAGAZINE

The Art of War for Security Managers

By Scott A. Watson, CPP, CFE; Reviewed by Brent Campbell

***** The Art of War for Security Managers. By Scott A. Watson, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner); Published by Syngress, www.syngress.com (Web); 200 pages; $34.95.

Following a number of other authors who have adopted Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to modern-day business “battlefields,” Scott A. Watson, CPP, CFE, has applied the strategist’s 2,500-year-old wisdom to the job of the professional security manager.

Watson divides his application of Sun Tzu into ten basic areas, demonstrating how to reapply advice originally intended for Chinese generals of antiquity. Topics covered range from the need to understand internal and external “enemies,” to the need for good intelligence and understanding the strategic environment, which includes all factors that impact an organization’s security posture. Watson also discusses the supreme importance of leadership. The security manager must inspire his or her staff and must also inspire others in the organization to support its mission, or all is for naught.

Most chapters conclude with a hypothetical scenario and a set of questions that can be used either for self-review or to facilitate discussion within a peer group. Extensive appendices provide further documentation and assistance.

This is not a book of “how-tos.” It does not purport to offer a security plan for all occasions. Watson has, however,  produced a book that uses timeless ideas to provide insight into the practice of security management.

Security professionals who aspire to leadership roles will find much to consider in The Art of War for Security Managers. More seasoned security managers may be inspired to look at familiar topics in new ways and to add new tools to their management arsenals. All will benefit from having considered this adaptation of a classic theory of warfare.


Reviewer: Brent Campbell is the information system security manager and the security operations support manager for Computer Sciences Corporation in Falls Church, Virginia. He is a member of ASIS International’s Information Technology Security Council.

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