In 1967, the ninth of June was proclaimed "Industrial Security Day" by several ASIS leaders and the mayor of Boston.
ASIS International was originally called the "American Society for Industrial Security" when founded in 1955. Members were principally government and corporate security professionals. The term "industrial security" denotes U.S. Department of Defense contracts with U.S. industry for defense technology and materials.
During the Cold War era (1945 to 1990), there was extreme political hostility between the Soviet Bloc and U.S.-led Western powers. The political tension called for an arms race, which in turn stimulated American industry. The robust economy created jobs within industrial security.
With concerns about Russian espionage, personnel security, including the screening and protection of employees, came to the forefront. So, too, did the classification of sensitive information so that it could be given the appropriate degree of protection.
Parallels between the Cold War era and contemporary times include espionage by Russian and Chinese agents, including corporate espionage and intellectual property risks. These threats extend beyond the security department, bringing in IT personnel to deal with cybersecurity and Internet of Things risks, as well as HR departments to screen employees so that violent individuals are not brought onboard—echoing a Cold War style of security management.
Today ASIS has a network of 35,000 members in nearly 250 chapters worldwide. Members represent a wide variety of verticals, including corporations, government, military and non-profit entities. In the security and investigation sectors, ASIS is "the Mother of All Networks," with membership available to full-time students as well as professionals.
Want to learn more about ASIS International's history? Check out this excerpt from former Security Management publisher Mary Alice Davidson's book, The Gold Standard: ASIS Celebrates 50 Years of Advancing Security.
Article by Chris Hertig, CPP,CPOI (Certified Protection Officer Instructor), a Life Member of ASIS. He is on the Professional Development Council and the board of directors for the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO).