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In The Boardroom™ With...

Bill Durso, CPP
Founder & Principal Advisor

The Durso Group, LLC

Connect with Bill Durso on LinkedIn

UPDATED Aug 11, 2023 Thank you again for joining us today Bill ! GSX 2023 is coming up fast in September and ISC East soon after that. Are you engaged with these events, any other upcoming events that you’d like to mention?

Bill Durso: The Durso Group will be attending ASIS International’s GSX conference in Dallas in mid-September and will be attending CONSULT 2023 with SecuritySpecifiers in mid-October. This fall season is already shaping up to be quite busy as this all leads into ISC East in New York City right before Thanksgiving, where I will be presenting the IAPSC’s “Successful Security Consulting” workshop with other IAPSC consultants J. Kelly Stewart, Drew Neckar and a few others.

While at GSX, I will be attending Texas Night with the Friends of Chuck, attending Canada Night, Woman in Security breakfast and so much more. I’m looking to reconnect with the likes of John Nemerofsky, Sage Integration, Jeffrey C. Friedman, Building Intelligence, Pierre Bourgeix, ESI Convergent and Jon Polly, just a few of the thought leaders in this industry and friends. Heading to these events is always a great opportunity to help the security industry continue to grow, re-connect with so many colleagues and friends and have the chance to build new relationships while growing The Durso Group and further partnering with so many security professionals. If you are going to be at GSX in Dallas, TX, please reach out today and let’s chat.

Bill Durso, Founder & Principal Advisor, The Durso Group

The Durso Group, LLC, was founded by Bill Durso CPP, an innovative and collaborative security expert with extensive experience in corporate security management, physical security operations and electronic security technologies. Being board certified in security management as a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) from ASIS International, he brings Security Management, Security Operations and Security Technology together creating cohesive security master plans.

A skilled security leader with over 25+ years of extensive experience in corporate security management and physical security operations, I have worked in a variety of security verticals to include, multi-campus solutions, high-profile high-rise, hyperscale data centers, commercial real estate to name a few. I am also a highly trained project manager who participated in the hands-on development of personnel security, physical security and electronic security systems from risk assessment to commissioning.

As such, The Durso Group provides security advisory services for corporate clients who require customized security management services in an agnostic, independent and unaffiliated way. TDG can effectively and efficiently fill the gap that exists between companies without security expertise, those needing security services, the integrators who want to provide advice to these prospective clients and the manufacturers that provide the products.

Most consultants perform security assessments and outline at a high level what is needed for a client, but some don’t have the required expertise to implement the plan from start to finish that not only includes policies, procedures, but also the technology for the whole security master plan to be successful. More importantly, the end-user may not have the expertise and need a roadmap on how to mitigate these gaps, what to prioritize, know what it will cost and how long it will take to implement. This is where The Durso Group comes in to fill that gap from operations, physical security, and security technology in making sure the clients’ objectives are met.

Essentially, The Durso Group is the hub that touches the many spokes of a project; the manufacturer, the integrator, the unknowing client, the design team and making sure the user experience is seamless. Each of these spokes has their own needs in mind where TDG will make sure the manufacturer’s equipment fits the client’s needs, TDG will validate the integrators are certified to install the products and equipment, and TDG will make sure that when the project is completed that all these items meet or exceed the client’s vision both operationally and technically.

Bill has worked to create and develop security programs and departments from the ground up with a breadth and depth of knowledge acquired over a 25+ year career that makes The Durso Group the ideal vehicle to serve clients in need of real-world industry expertise and security advisory services to secure people to apply processes and procedures to implementing state of the art security technology in a security master program. Thank you for joining us today, Bill. We read with great interest on your site about the Security Advisory Services you provide and the results you have delivered for your clients. This indeed, is quite impressive,

Before discussing The Durso Group capabilities and services in greater detail, please tell us more about your background.

Bill Durso: I took an Introduction to Security Systems class at Penn State. It covered all aspects of all different types of electronic security systems from cameras, access, alarms, etc. I still have the textbook to this day and graduated with an B.S., Administration of Justice degree, and the rest was history. I had many friends and family who were police officers, in the military, or were state or federal law enforcement, which at the time was the traditional way of entering the security industry. I always wanted to be more proactive and not so reactive, which is what drew me toward the private sector of security and safety.

From that point on, I was an investigator who handled white-collar crimes like insurance fraud and was later hired as a security specialist with a management consulting firm. This position started as issuing badges, changing videotapes to training to eventually overseeing projects for adding security systems to newly added or renovated floors in the high rise we resided in. I enjoyed the conceptual design and discussing needs to specify the equipment with my integrator partner and seeing the project and technology be built-out and come to life, and I have continued to do this throughout my career as a security director, facilities director and most recently as a security advisor for almost 20 years. My background is a blend of security operations, facilities, real estate, project management, security technology that makes The Durso Group unique and valuable to its clients. The case studies and testimonials here speak volumes about the services and results you deliver. With projects at Erie International Airport, CME Center (home to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange), Country Club Plaza, and Meta Hyperscale Data Centers, it appears that your firm has a strong niche in critical infrastructure projects. Care to elaborate?

Bill Durso: These projects were completed over the last few years, but most recently involved with hyperscale data centers, so in a way yes. Critical Infrastructure has a responsibility to have the latest and best security technology, policies, and procedures in place. These entities which have a public-private partnership recognize this, and I anticipate many security consulting firms that do security design and engineering in critical infrastructure will see more of these projects as many critical infrastructure verticals like the electrical grid, chemical plants, port terminals, airports will continue for the foreseeable future. If I can continue to be a part of these projects in the future, The Durso Group will. Are there any recent projects you would like to talk about?

Bill Durso: Unfortunately, I can’t mention any current projects as they are confidential and proprietary, but over my career, I have worked on many different types of projects in a variety of verticals from most recently hyperscale data centers nationwide to commercial high-rise real estate in major cities, regional international airports, and high-end lifestyle centers to school districts and supply chains, to name a few.

One project that I can mention, and quite proud of, is a pro-bono project that I am currently working on - the “Sixth Man Center” powered by Philadelphia Youth Basketball, a non-profit organization, in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia. This organization is filling a substantial gap in an underprivileged part of the city, and I was invited to participate and build a security master plan, assist, specify, and oversee the security technology being installed and outline all security operations in their new 100,000-square-foot facility. This facility will be a community gathering place, a basketball centerpiece with courts and student programs all throughout the year, a financial center and down the road upon expansion, a specialty skills labor generator for many skilled trades. Target opening is early 2024. The headlines continue to be very troubling and scary. Violence is, unfortunately, on the rise where we live, work, shop, pray, visit our doctors, and send our kids to school.  What are your thoughts Bill regarding “best practices” that should be in place to help mitigate risk and keep people as safe as possible.

Bill Durso: What are your risks? If you can’t answer this question as an organization, then you can’t mitigate threats that your organization may face. This is Security 101; all security plans and programs should be based on the risk and vulnerability assessment results so that an organization can then prioritize their risks. Every consultant should complete this exercise before putting a plan and program in place. The Durso Group does this from the start so that a Security Master Plan, (the People, Processes & Technology) can take shape that includes operational security, physical security, IT security, and electronic security systems that work within the culture of a given organization. We live in a litigious society for sure. Please tell us Bill about Expert Analysis And Testimony Services you provide.

Bill Durso: After attending the International Association of Professional Security Consultants (IAPSC’s) Forensic Witness workshop back in 2022 and having a career as a Security Director that built and improved security departments from the ground-up, I always made sure that policies and procedures I created and administered were in line legally and could be defended in court as a reasonable safeguard. As an expert, you are applying security best practices and standards in a variety of verticals and in all different types of cases. One of my mentors shortly after this workshop, referred me for a case, I later issued my opinion, and the case was ruled in our favor.

I will provide case review, report submissions, deposition, and testimony services for my legal clients. Having studied the Administration of Justice, earned an MBA and with over 25 years’ experience, made sense to add this as a service as I can now cover the creation, development, administration, and continuous improvement of a security department or program. For me, it is also having the ability to increase my critical thinking and each case is different and interesting to be able to creatively think and formulate an opinion based on so many factors in each case, it is a challenge, keeps me sharp and I enjoy it.

Unfortunately, as you have mentioned, we live in a litigious society. Security is so commonsense sometimes, that if most organization and venue did not attempt to cut corners, they would not be in litigation. To that point, in the short time I have been providing these services, which has been for almost a year, it has become the fastest growing part of my business. We see that one of the offerings on your site is for companies to engage with you as “Security Director as a Service (SDaaS)”  when needed. How does that work exactly, Bill ?

Bill Durso: There are so many companies that do not have any security expertise or may rely on building management’s security or have none at all. Most companies these days outsource functions that is not their specialty, maybe its IT management, facilities management, security management etc. Those end-users don’t know, what they don’t know. Therefore, our firm provides that expertise under a retainer services agreement with a client, to be able to provide the security expertise to companies that don’t have it. The SDaaS is that expert to help the client understand what they need, implement it and make sure they understand it. This could be an interim security director until a permanent is hired, could be writing drafting policies/procedures, and enforcing them, could be conducting a risk assessment that turns in to a long-term engagement or really anything in between. Essentially, if you have a security issue to address, the client has that security expert a phone call away. We seem to be seeing a trend Bill, of security consultants who have historically been on the “physical security” side, broadening their offerings into cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning services as well.  It seems to make perfect sense to us as all systems and platforms need to be in sync with each other for the best possible efficiency and safety.  Your thoughts on this, Bill?

Bill Durso: As a former end-user of security and facilities technologies, security is just one part of an evolving landscape where all sensors for a facility or building will talk to each other. The educated advisor can bring the physical security and operational security expertise in partnership with the IT, cybersecurity so all logical security and physical security gaps are filled that brings them both together and bridges the gap between physical and logical security. Consultants and advisors that are successful in growing their technical knowledge and not being afraid of it, will be a valuable commodity to those end-users seeking the expertise on what works, how it works and how it makes my security operation better.

Security systems are on IT Networks so cybersecurity is critical, AI or Machine Learning will now exponentially make bad actors’ jobs easier, so the security industry MUST be flexible and learn as much as they can to minimize the risks because of someone using AI for no good. Bottomline, you can’t have technical security without people security. The human is the single weakest link to any technology whether cyber, AI, Machine Learning, access control or video surveillance to name a few. For these reasons alone, security consultants MUST broaden their offerings to remain relevant and competitive. We had the pleasure of recently talking with Michael A. Silva, President, International Association of Professional Security Consultants, and we understand that you currently serve as Secretary of the IAPSC. What would you like the security community at-large to know about the IAPSC…if we can help spread the word we are happy to help !

Bill Durso: That is correct. I am a member of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants since 2016, having served on a variety of committees, Member of the Board and now current Secretary who will be running for Treasurer for 2024. The IAPSC has helped many individuals making the transition from corporate security, law enforcement and other backgrounds into security consulting. I have had the privilege to work with some knowledgeable professionals over my career as a security director and consultant, that have helped me get to where I am today. Being able to talk with other consultants, with varying experience in all different verticals from healthcare to casinos to government to bounce ideas, collaborate on projects or just discuss the everyday peaks and valleys of being a security consultant running your own firm is tremendously valuable.

Being a part of the IAPSC has made me a better security advisor! Are there any upcoming speaking engagements or events you would like to mention?

Bill Durso: The IAPSC gives me the ability to give back and help those wishing to get into security consulting. This is done through the “Successful Security Consulting” workshop that we presented at ISC West and will be doing again at ISC East in New York City in November, so looking forward to this event again. I took this course as a security director, and it just solidified my belief that I could become a security consultant down the road, become a valued asset for my clients and help others learn how to run their own consulting firm. Thanks again for joining us today, Bill, we look forward to future updates. Is there anything else you would like to add today?

Bill Durso: I’d like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce The Durso Group, a unique security advisory and for having a chance to discuss the security industry and the security advisory services that my firm offers.