ASIS International – Chapter Focus: Benelux

ASIS International

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Matthew Porcelli, CPP speaks exclusively with Erik de Vries, CPP, PSP, ASIS European Regional Board of Directors | Chair.

The Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg) chapter is unique in ASIS International as it connects security professionals in three European countries.

What are the most pressing security challenges you are facing in your region?

Cybersecurity, in particular data theft or ransomware, is on everyone’s mind.

Recent incidents have indicated the magnitude of the challenge and the reach of cyber-criminals.

The introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union boosted attention for data protection. And that is a good thing in defence against cyber-crime.

Beside security risks originating in geopolitics, increasing polarisation and energy transition-related security challenges, we face a multitude of issues that are drug-related.

With shame I must confess that the Netherlands is the world biggest exporter of synthetic drugs, in particular Ecstasy/MDMA.

And that leads to a lot of crime, varying from underworld rip deals (i.e., transactions, often illicit, where one party deceives or cheats the other and can escalate into violence when the deceived party realises the fraudulent nature of the transaction), bomb incidents and other violent threats.

The most worrisome issue is shootings in residential areas and subversion against mayors or other prominent public figures who wield authority (e.g., elected officials, judges, etc.).

Can you describe your journey in the world of security?

Just like many of my security peers I ended up in security by accident.

Following a fifteen-year career as an officer in the Royal Dutch Army and a three-year intermezzo in a timesharing project in Bali, Indonesia I joined one of the predecessor companies of G4S in the Netherlands.

My experience to date gave me the confidence for launching my business, advising others on security, crisis and risk management issues.

Ever since the launch of DutchRisk, I have had the pleasure and privilege of helping organisations to balance their risks and ambitions.

Can you tell us about your journey within ASIS and how it has helped you in your career?

When I realised in 2004 that security was a challenging profession for further personal development, I decided to earn my ASIS Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certification.

Soon after that, I joined the ASIS Benelux chapter and was asked to become Chapter Chair in 2008. Being Chapter Chair is, in my view, the most interesting volunteer position within ASIS.

Hands-on, closely connected to the members and the security field; it’s like being company commander: it feels like it’s your personal territory.

In recent years, I have been honoured to serve within the ASIS volunteer structure – working with top tier security professionals not only from my region but from across the globe.

After seven years as Chapter Chair, I advanced from Regional Vice President (RVP), Senior Regional Vice President (SRVP) in Europe to my current role – the first Chair of the ASIS European Regional Board of Directors.

These regional boards are an important step of ASIS to strive for stronger global governance through regional responsibilities.

Our CEO likes to call it ‘Glocal’ (global presence through local involvement).

ASIS has played an integral role in my professional development and building a global network.

Recently, European membership in ASIS reached an all-time high with 3,000 security professionals.

Also, we have conducted CPP, PSP, PCI and APP courses for a number of years in Europe, which has highlighted that having access to the type of knowledge and the strength of the ASIS network is amazing.

The relationships I have built within my ASIS network feel more like family than just purely professional.

Thus, I challenge NextGen security professionals to join ASIS early in their career. It will be worthwhile. Trust me! 

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