EXCLUSIVE: Corporate security – know your organization

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Harmonizing with the rest of the business is key for corporate security leaders, says Dean Geribo, Vice President of Corporate Security and Business Resilience at Moderna.

What is corporate security?

I’ve just celebrated my three-year anniversary at Moderna where my role is Vice President of Corporate Security and Business Resilience.

Our corporate security organization is comprised of the following disciplines: Executive Protection & Aviation, Global Intelligence, Threat Management (Insider Threat), Business Resilience, Brand Protection & Supply Chain Security and Physical and Technical Security.

To me, corporate security means the protection of a company’s people, property, product, reputation and our case, our patients.

Everything that we do in corporate security directly contributes to the safety and expected experience of our patient populations.

Whether it be the protection of our associates who research, develop and manufacture lifesaving mRNA vaccines for patients around the world, to the protection of our IP for future products and everything in between, corporate security has a hand in the entire lifecycle of the business.

When I speak with our associates, I remind them that the security group works for them regardless of function or role within the company.

Our job is to provide them with the assurance that while they’re working on our campuses or remotely that they’re safe and that the work they’re creating is protected.

This allows them to concentrate on their jobs and in the case of Moderna, deliver on the promise of bringing mRNA to patient populations around the world to improve lives!

However, there is also a trade or understanding between the corporate security elements and the business that needs to be clearly understood to achieve this level of safety and balance, making it a symbiotic partnership.

Additionally, we must be able to artfully communicate to our executives the risks we’re facing in this segment and the financial upside to investing in certain technologies so that security can be seen not only as a profit insulator but also a business center.

Corporate security is only as good as the amount of information it can discover and process; therefore, I remind everyone that in order to be successful in this challenging task, our associates embody a security mindset: report challenges and opportunities; voice concerns; provide feedback; and when able, ensure that we’re following the guidelines and contribute to each other’s safety!

Corporate security in pharma

In my opinion, corporate security is a business enabler within the pharmaceutical industry.

CSOs need to be well versed in end-to-end business process along with having an understanding of various cross-functional areas to ensure we’re proactively staying ahead of threats and expectations to ensure shareholder stability and patient safety remains front of mind.

Too often, security is seen as a cost center or a red line item; however, for CSOs in this sector, we need to not only understand the risks inherent to our business but also comprehend the margins and costs that go into our pricing to build a program that protects the patients while remaining budget-sensitive.

Additionally, I believe that security within this space needs to have strong partnerships or oversight into business resilience activities to fully grasp the tolerable levels of risk within an organization.

This allows us to ensure that we’re safeguarding and investing in the right areas and technologies.

An evolution

For the future, corporate security must embrace AI and machine learning to remain relevant and proactive.

ChatGPT and other platforms in this space improve efficiencies and have the capability to harmonize disparate functions and systems, thus making a better, more agile security department.

Drone technologies are also a force multiplier to existing guard forces and this is a very exciting area for me.

Additionally, leaning deeper into biometrics and facial authentication technologies to support access control systems not only provides a simplified experience to our workforce but also enhances our security posture.

We can’t shy away from technology and we must be able to articulate cost benefits and short-term trade-offs of investments in the near-term compared to the long-term success and stability of the future of our programs.

As my former CSO often reminded me, a CSO needs to be a business executive with a security background.

Having the ability to not only forecast risks but also articulate those risks to business leaders helps to future-proof the corporation’s success.

A company invests millions in its employees’ experiences, marketing, R&D and supply chain to ensure its success and long-term financial health, so security must be viewed through the same lens.

Therefore, security executives must know the business!

For the security world

1-ISJ- EXCLUSIVE: Corporate security - know your organization
Dean Geribo

In terms of advice for others in the security world, I would say know your business, the markets, threat actors and over-communicate to create partnerships with your stakeholders and end-users.

Corporate security must be at the front of the business to stabilize the workforce you support to provide the peace of mind that safety and security is being managed – thus allowing business leaders and employees to focus on the tasks at hand.

Finally, make sure you’re also open to feedback and criticism – security is only as good as it’s reach coupled with its agility – by soliciting feedback, you gain buy-in across the organization, maximize the eyes and ears your department can lean on and allow for organic growth that highlights your ability to keep pace with the world around you.

This article was originally published in the September edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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