21-23 Aug 2024
ICC, Sydney

Person of Interest: Scott O’Driscoll

Aug 13, 2020

National Security Manager, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The role of National Security Manager for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was probably the last career path a young bank teller might have imagined when starting his working life straight out of school.

“It didn’t take me long to realise that I wasn’t particularly keen on spending my life on a teller’s booth,” explains Scott O’Driscoll. “I had always enjoyed working with my hands, so I decided to look for an apprenticeship in carpentry.”

Following a series of unsuccessful applications, a friend of the family informed Scott his company was looking for an apprentice locksmith position.

“I remember thinking this was probably as close as I was going to get to an apprenticeship in carpentry, so I applied for the role and was successful.”

Bank Teller to National Security Manager

That lead to a 25-year career in the locksmithing industry before Scott once again felt the need to find a new challenge. Having spent over two decades in security, Scott felt his practical skills and extensive security knowledge might lend themselves to a role in security consulting.

“I knew I needed more formal education, so I applied for and gained entry to the University of Western Sydney, where I completed several courses which helped me obtain my NSW 2A consultant’s licence.”

Having finished his studies, Scott secured a role as a consultant with a well-known security consulting firm. Fast forward several years, and we find Scott working under a contracted secondment role in a financial institution as the Global Security Operations and Risk Manager.

“The role was both challenging and enjoyable,” explains Scott. “However, the contract nature of the role did not offer the job security I was looking for.” It was around this time when a colleague advised Scott of an opening for a National Security Manager at the ABC. Believing his experience and skills were ideally suited to the role, Scott applied, beginning the position in April 2019.

The role of National Security Manager for a high-profile organisation like the ABC brings a multitude of challenges. According to Scott, “We are currently working on a national upgrade of all security systems. Usually, it would be a challenge in itself, but the degree of difficulty has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions on travel, closed borders and supply chain issues have added unexpected complexities to the project. Fortunately, we have an excellent team of dedicated professionals working on the project, and it is progressing as we hoped.”

3 Decades of Change

Over 35 years in the industry, Scott has seen a great deal of change. He believes one of the most positive changes has been the evolution of security going from a part-time or interim job for students to security as a professional career.

“It’s a pleasing trend which draws in talented people who benefit both the industry and its customers. Coupled with moving towards security as a value-add service, providing anything from security system design, risk management and business resilience to concierge and now health-check services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it showcases our diversity as an industry.

Another trend Scott feels is having a profound impact on security is the global shift towards increasing privacy laws and regulations, limiting the industry’s ability to store data such as personal information and CCTV footage.

“This isn’t an issue specific to the security industry, but I believe it will have a significant impact on our ability to monitor and investigate security incidents. Similarly, the rise of social media also isn’t a specific industry trend but has had a profound impact on the role of security by creating opportunities for the average person to directly, and in some instances immediately, engage with persons who in the past may not have been as accessible. The impact of this accessibility can be less than desirable.

The Digital Age 

When asked about industry-changing innovations, Scott immediately sites the increasing use of technology, and how he feels it has had a massive impact on the way security is managed both commercially and domestically.

“Instant remote access to CCTV images, alarms notifications, access control and the like via mobile devices was and continues to be a game-changer.” Explains Scott.

“I also believe artificial intelligence will soon enable passive systems, such as CCTV, to become proactive monitoring tools, reducing instances of ‘false-positive’ alarm events.

“The convergence of systems used to manage physical access and physical identity via the installation of middleware is another game-changer for the industry. The reduction in manual handling significantly reduces the risk associated with incorrect provisioning of access or a failure to remove and change access privileges based on roles and functions.”

For those people looking to take the next step, Scott offers some simple advice.

“Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today; it’s a piece of advice I often tell others now. Several years went by after completing my university studies, and I regret not looking for a consultant role sooner. I think at the time committing to such a significant career change was daunting. In fact, it has probably been the biggest challenge in my professional career.”

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