Round the Clock

ASIS 2009 reminds the industry to stay vigilant—even in the face of a recession.

In just a few weeks' time, the security industry will once again be converging on the annual ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits, this time in Anaheim, Calif.

The 55th annual tradeshow will feature nearly 1,000 exhibiting companies, high-profile keynote speakers and more than 160 education sessions, all attended by an estimated 22,000 industry members. Clearly, even in a year that's been a bit slow, ASIS 2009 is the place to be.

Doing More With Less

This year's theme, "Security Never Sleeps," seems fitting in a time when the economic downturn has many companies and end users tightening their belts across the board—even in the security sense. It looks like the economy will be a hot topic at the show, with plenty of resources provided for attendees to help them stay ahead of the security curve in the face of financial difficulty.

"In periods of economic downturn or crisis situations, it is more important than ever for security professionals to have access to best-practice ideas and technology," said Michael R. Cummings, ASIS president. "The value that ASIS 2009 delivers cannot be overstated. The many resources will allow security practitioners to better deal with the complexities of our jobs and the demands to do more with less."

One of those resources is keynote speaker Ben Stein—presidential speechwriter, lawyer, economist, college professor, game show host and actor. Stein also has written more than 30 books, many of them on the subject of finance. (And yes, he even played the boring economics teacher in that famous "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" scene.) Stein will speak at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22, and I for one won't miss it.

The economy also will be a popular subject in the educational sessions. Some of the relevant classes are Economic Misery and Crime Waves, Successfully Selling Security and Survival in a Sinking Economy: A Guide to Stretching Your Security Dollars.

Looking Ahead

While some companies may be cutting back on expenses such as travel, most continue to see the value of tradeshows like ASIS. The networking opportunities alone are priceless. E-mail and phone calls just can't replace the power of face-to-face interaction.

This year, more than 22,000 security, business and government professionals from 90 countries are expected to attend the ASIS show. In addition to cruising the show floor, attendees can network at the New Member Reception, the Get-acquainted Mixer, the Opening Ceremony, multiple luncheons and the President's Reception. And, as usual, the ASIS Foundation is sponsoring the annual Golf Classic and a bowling party.

While rubbing elbows with fellow attendees can create all types of opportunities, looking outside the industry is important as well. And it seems that politics' role in people's careers and everyday lives takes on even greater weight during economic difficulty.

That's why the show's other keynote speaker, Condoleezza Rice, 66th secretary of state and national security adviser in President George W. Bush's administration, is such a perfect fit right now. According to the ASIS 2009 blog, Rice's speech will include stories about her experiences in the White House and offer a comprehensive look at global affairs. Although Rice is taking a break from administration—while working as a professor of political science at Stanford University—her talk is sure to be fascinating. She'll speak at 8 a.m. on Sept. 23.

Something for Everyone

No matter what segment of the industry you're in—or how hard-hit you've been by the economic downturn— tradeshows like ASIS 2009 hold some sort of value for you. Nowhere else can you experience more than 850 companies, showcasing everything you could possibly need to secure pretty much anything.

"ASIS 2009 will really cover the full spectrum of security—including all vertical industries, government and private sectors," Cummings said.

And don't miss the educational programs, with more than 160 concurrent sessions on a huge range of security topics, best practices and strategies, emerging trends, and critical issues. Pick from homeland security, terrorism, crime and loss prevention, crisis management, investigations, infrastructure protection and more.

Also, a set of pre-seminar intensive courses provide concentrated instruction in one- and two-day add-on programs. The topics include Facility Security Assessment and Initial Conceptual Design, Critical Infrastructure Protection: An Educational Forum and Securing Houses of Worship, as well as a seminar on hotel crisis response with an accompanying tabletop exercise.

ASIS 2009 runs Sept. 21-24 at the Anaheim Convention Center. For more information, visit asis2009. See you there!

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