Security training has become an almost trendy market in this second half of the 21st century’s first decade. Companies who traditionally supplied peripheral security services have hopped on the bandwagon and started offering security courses, providing participants with relevant skills and knowledge, and even a course certificate or “diploma” to validate their completion of the course. This sudden spurt of security training academies and programs begs the questions: how do I know that I’m receiving professional training from industry professionals? And are these companies free to offer whatever security training services they deem fit, or are they governed by some sort of regulatory body?
First, it should be noted that there are in fact many academies and companies that have been providing professional services for decades. They have reputable local and/or international credibility and have established a deserved name for themselves even before the “trend” to provide such services arrived on the security scene. One can even find services and academies on six out of seven of the world’s continents. The private security industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in South Africa, and private Israeli security training companies are among the industry’s leaders, as Israel is still regarded as the world’s leading authority on intelligence and security. Their CEOs, instructors and lecturers are most often veterans of the country’s state security agencies, and have transferred this knowledge acquired in the public sector to the private sector.
While there are a plethora of entities that offer security training services, some older, larger, more popular or established than others, very few are accredited by a governing body. Several European organizations, including The New Security Foundation, exist with the intention of providing an international or national forum to discuss public and private security issues, including security training. Similarly, the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP) is a London-based not-for-profit body which is governed by its members and aims to ensure “standards of professionalism – for training, qualifications, operating practices and individuals”. However neither serve as a governing body capable of accrediting private companies to ensure that their services meet are meeting adequate standards. In fact, in the absence of such bodies, such standards have yet to be established. Recently, however, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) extended its accreditation of a certain academy responsible for, among other services,. The first year that the GCAA offered accreditation for potential service providers was in 2004. They are proof that accreditation entities can be privately led without any ties to state government.
Many private security training companies have been in business for decades, providing security training services to both the public and private sector, and legitimately enhancing their clients’ efficiency and defense. Many of these entities would probably not only measure up to the standards of a potential accreditation agency, but with their vast professional experience actually form the board responsible for creating those security training standards. While accreditation is certainly not the only measure by which to assess the credibility of private security training companies, one can’t help but wonder when this inevitable transition is going to finally begin.