THE MAGAZINE

Identifying and Exploring Security Essentials

By John Gargiulo, CPP

Identifying and Exploring Security Essentials. By Mary Clifford; published by Pearson Prentice Hall, www.prenhall.com (Web); 382 pages; $51.

  An associate professor of criminal justice, Mary Clifford has written a lengthy text that would be especially useful to students pursuing a career in security management. Chapters conclude with discussion and review questions designed to help readers understand the terms and concepts presented. These exercises and the practice scenarios contained in the book are best when considered in a group or classroom setting with an opportunity for feedback.

Although the information is available in other sources, the text is worthwhile reading for security practitioners because it presents a multifaceted approach for conceptualizing and evaluating the security function. As suggested by the title, Clifford explores basic concepts, terms, and issues necessary for designing, implementing, and evaluating a good security program.

The "essentials" mentioned in the title include risk assessment, personnel and security management, physical security and asset management, information and computer security, the significance of interdepartment dependencies, legal issues, emergency planning, disaster response, human behavior, and future trends.

In the prelude, Clifford makes the critical point that a security plan must be site-specific and adaptable to an unstable, unpredictable environment. Given that reality, achieving a safe environment is an ongoing challenge requiring constant evaluation and revision.

When they're finished with this book, readers will have the basic information to develop and evaluate security objectives. It would take volumes to cover the details of various security disciplines, and, thankfully, Clifford doesn't try. She has developed an approach for thinking about security as a process and a system, and she recognizes the need for specialists to plug the gaps where a specific expertise is applicable.


Reviewer: John Gargiulo, CPP, is a part-time security consultant, h aving retired as the director of security for Reuters America, where he served 18 years. He also served as a lieutenant for the New York City Police Department for 24 years. A lifetime CPP, Gargiulo is a member of ASIS International.

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