ASIS throws hat into standards ring

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--"Get involved or don't get heard" was the basic reasoning behind ASIS International's recent decision to refocus its attention on developing standards instead of just producing guidelines for the security industry. ASIS officials announced in mid May that the 35,000-member security organization had a responsibility to aid in the process of developing standards, said Mark Geraci, chairman of the newly named ASIS Commission on Standards and Guidelines. And, on May 29, ASIS International announced it has been granted liaison status by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the international body of standards development.
The ISO has established a technical committee, ISO/TC 223, preparing security standards that will directly impact domestic and international communities, on which ASIS will serve. ASIS will advocate for security professionals in standards development as it liaises with ISO/TC 223 on the international level and CEN, a European body, on a regional level.
In 2001, ASIS established the Commission on Guidelines to to increase the effectiveness and productivity of security practices and solutions. That is no longer enough, Geraci said, after noting other security organizations were creating standards initiatives with or without ASIS' input.
"We realized," said Geraci, "that either we get involved and change our focus, or these standards would be written without our input."
In March 2006, many wondered if ASIS would get involved with standards. Regis Becker, global director for security and compliance at PPG Industries, told Security Director News that ASIS could only make a move to standards development if it had the infrastructure to support it. That infrastructure is now in place, Geraci said.
"Once you start playing in this big arena it's very different than writing guidelines," Geraci said. "The infrastructure is a reorganization to move these things along."
For more information on the ASIS International Commission on Standards and Guidelines, visit http://www.asisonline.org/guidelines/guidelines.htm.

Elisabeth Wilkins contributed to this report.