What’s all the hullabaloo about Certifications?

  • 12 Nov 2018
  • M. Brian

Recently I sat next to the Ebenezer Scrooge of the world of learning and development. On this generally boring flight, my neighbor engaged in some small talk which quickly got to the “what do you do for a living?” and an exchange of cards. Upon receipt of my card, I was asked why I needed an ‘alphabet soup’ behind my name. A very valid question, I would think. But Ebenezer who sits on the C-suite of a major energy firm said he would never hire someone who is certified. Of course, I prodded further to discover he also believes there is no value in a University education although he himself was educated at a top tier school. “I want someone who can do the job,” he said, not some ‘bookish theoric’, a phrase borrowed from the Shakespearean play ‘Othello’ to replace his precise choice of words that may not be business-friendly. Nevertheless, we engaged in some light debate on the matter until we were interrupted by the pilot’s command to fasten seatbelts, put away tray tables etcetera in preparation for landing.

After that, there was an uneasy silence, but the point had been made. I simply asked if one wanted to have an operation done even for the purpose of mere aesthetics, would one prefer to consult a Charlatan or a Board-certified Plastic surgeon? And I likened this important process to keeping your company safe and planning for disastrous events, do you want someone who just held a job for a long time or someone who worked in the field for a significant time and is very proficient in the best practices that the industry has to offer? Obviously, a rhetorical question but one which made him reevaluate his long-held position.

It is my belief that peer-reviewed certification, to distinguish from vendor certification, is quite useful in today's ever-changing world. For example, in my specific fields, the best minds come together to conduct a job analysis and review of the body of knowledge required for the field. Candidates are then tested on these agreed upon tenets of knowledge and are rewarded for displaying proficiency. In addition to that, candidates must show that ‘they can do the job’ through providing a detailed portfolio of their accomplishments in the workplace that must stand scrutiny from a board of their peers. Finally adhering to an ethical code of conduct which also includes a deep dive into a person’s past using an ethical lens.

Further to this process is the random audit that ensures that those whose intent to deceive are weeded out of the process. So why would you not want a certified individual on your team? To me, it’s a no-brainer. This not only enhances the team through the expert power exhibited through certification but also teams work well with competent, ethical individuals on board. I can also speak of the legal and regulatory advantages to having certified individuals advising your strategies or tactics, but I believe these points drive the point home.

Finally, I wanted to share some of the certifications in my specific field that you should be looking for either as part of the HR recruitment team or as an aspiring certified professional. The table is organized by subject area and compares certifications across one or two of the most recognized bodies offering it and aligning them in terms of equivalency in the industry across organizations.


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About the author

M. Brian Reid

CEO, Brison LLC

M. Brian Reid, MS, MA, MBA, FBCI, CBCP, CPP, CFE, ISO 22301 LI, is currently the CEO of Brison LLC, a Risk Management and Resiliency consultancy.He works with large global corporations and nation-states helping them improve their risk and security programs and get on the road to becoming more resilient. 

A graduate of the prestigous United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in Engineering Management. He also obtained master’s degrees in Business Administration (Henley Business School, University of Reading UK), Information Assurance (Norwich University, VT, USA) with honors, and Business and Organizational Security Management (Webster University, MI, USA) with honors.

Brian is considered a subject matter expert in Business Continuity and Security. He is Board certified in Security Management, a Fellow of the BCI and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. Brian has been listed among the top five most Influential Security Thought leaders in the world by IFSEC Global for 2020, 2021 and 2022. He was also the first winner of the BCI Continuity and Resilience Contributor for the Americas region and has been featured by Thinkers 360 as one of the top 3 security influencers globally for 2023.

Brian was a member of the inaugural global board of directors of ASIS International, a BCI USA chapter member and a chapter leader for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He is an accomplished speaker and university lecturer for graduate programs at top Universities in the USA. He has presented at numerous conferences around the world including ASIS GSX, the Smithsonian National Conference, DRJ and BCI World to name a few.

A firm believer in giving back, Brian has contributed his time in the past to the following charitable organizations on their boards of directors, Families of the Wounded Fund, the Podium Foundation and the Mega Mentors where his focus was on supporting underpriviledged youth and combat wounded disabled veterans. He was also a member of the IT Advisory council for Virginia State University.