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Why I took the PSP – Physical Security Professional certification by ASIS International?
When I first joined security in 2018, the only reason why a mechatronics engineer was offered a position in the Security Technology Unit was because of CCTV and drones. Somehow, it didn’t seem right to me to limit security to only CCTV and drones.
One of my first significant tasks was to create a Security Manual, as the one standard guidance and reference for the whole security forces in the company across Sarawak. Though I had the basics of manual making from my previous involvement with ISO stuff, it was still a mountainous obstacle due to my lack of security knowledge.
All I have is common sense and security knowledge from my various readings, games, and martial arts. I didn’t have a proper background in security.
This is where my personal journey for “What is security and how it should be?” began. I pored over material found on Google, BSi standards, and a few available government documents on security. After all that, I could see vague lines connecting one item to another in creating a security system, but I was still not satisfied.
I am also thankful that I got to meet some of my mentors who affirmed me on my path and provided light on my dark journey. Without them, my journey would have been very lonely and dark. This was the time when I came across ASIS International. I hesitated to join mainly due to the considerable membership fee I needed to invest and commit to unlock the vast knowledge library in ASIS International. Upon advice from one of my mentors, I shrugged the hesitation off and joined ASIS International in August 2020. Alhamdulillah, that was the best decision I made and helped me to understand and view security better.
At that moment, PSP was not my priority. Instead of strengthening my security foundation, knowing the basics was my main agenda. So, in February 2021, I bought the PSP review set and started studying PSP materials.
So basically, ASIS International breaks the discipline of physical security into 10 main topics which physical security practitioners must know to design a working security system. I thought I would share the summary of the topics as listed below for those who are interested to pursue PSP.
Chapter 1: Physical security concepts, functions, and how the human element enhances security systems are presented in this chapter.
Chapter 2: Before discussing security solutions, this chapter presents the basics of security risk evaluation.
Chapter 3: CPTED - designing the security systems itself. CPTED is already a broad topic with many books and materials covering it.
Chapter 4: Discussing the basic design of physical security systems, the measure preferences, and managing projects. Including the tendering process, this is the basic project management procedure common to engineers.
Chapter 5: Focuses on fencing and lighting.
Chapter 6: Intrusion and detection system discussion.
Chapter 7: Access control systems and authentication methods.
Chapter 8: Video surveillance systems or CCTV. One whole topic discussing CCTV!
Chapter 9: The business continuity plan is also part of the security system plan.
Chapter 10: Covering other loose items under physical security, such as ATMs, government buildings, tall buildings, schools, and religious buildings.
Studying the certification materials helped me realign my thoughts on security systems and design. I now better understand what my company is facing and what it lacks. I can also comprehend the solutions presented by our consultants and challenge them if necessary - not just accept what vendors and consultants have to say. PSP also helped reaffirm some basic knowledge of security. One thing is for sure, I never thought the world of physical security could be so vast and deep. It demands balance with the latest technology, making it an ever-changing and ever-evolving field.
Then I set my mind to sit for PSP after obtaining an ASIS Certification Scholarship and registered myself for the exam in February 2022. After going through the PSP materials for a year, I wanted to see whether I had achieved the standard as a physical security practitioner, and what better way to do it than by taking the certificate. My Chapter chairman gave me a further push by advising me to register for the certification exam and lock the date to ensure I don’t look back anymore.
That is why and how I obtained my PSP certification in February 2023! Yet to me, this is still a long journey and I still feel like I just started my journey into physical security!