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How Much Should You Invest in Your Internal Security Department?
Money is a constant concern for those in charge of a business. After all, you don’t have an unlimited budget, and there are many expenses to keep track of – from marketing and inventory to employee wages. In the midst of all these other expenses, it can be easy for your internal security department to go overlooked. This should never be the case.
Your internal security department is essential for protecting your employees and business assets from a wide range of threats. And just because you haven’t experienced a security incident in the past doesn’t mean that a threat doesn’t exist.
The simple reality is that even basic investments in internal security – such as tighter access control or providing improved resources for guard personnel – can save your company thousands or even millions of dollars in the long run. But how much should you invest in your internal security department?
Here’s how you can make the right choice for your business.
Conducting a risk analysis should be the first step to determining how you should invest in your internal security department. This process should begin by conducting a thorough audit of the business assets that are housed on–site. This goes beyond computer systems and customer data – it should also account for anything that has a direct impact on your ability to keep your business up and running.
Your risk analysis will also need to evaluate which threats your property faces.
Does your facility have poor lighting or fencing, making it vulnerable to unauthorized intruders? Could a negligent employee unwittingly create a security breach?
A quality risk analysis should account for both physical threats (such as a natural disaster or a robber), as well as virtual threats (like hacking or phishing scams). You should also take note of current security measures you have in place.
After auditing your assets and determining what threats your business faces, you need to prioritize your investments. Naturally, your most valuable assets will warrant the most protection. Threats should be prioritized based on their likelihood – for example, a door that doesn’t lock properly is more likely to pose an immediate security risk to your business than a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane.
When establishing priorities, it can help to look at what safety and security issues your company has dealt with in the past, as well as any trends affecting your industry or even your geographic location as a whole. This can give your team a clearer idea of which threats are most likely to impact your business.
Choosing Appropriate Investments
Once you have determined which risks pose the greatest threat to your business, you can make informed decisions regarding the investments you need to make in your internal security department. Address your biggest risks first. Remember, the cost of these investments involves more than the original purchase price – for many systems, ongoing operation and maintenance costs will also need to be considered.
But how much should you actually spend to address your security concerns? The best answer: as much as it takes to eliminate the threat. As a good rule of thumb, companies should invest at least 0.75% of their revenue into security improvements¹. However, each security risk your company faces will likely require a different level of investment.
For example, a door that won’t lock properly would typically only require some repair work. But if your facility is poorly lit at night, you may need to install improved exterior lighting and a security camera system. Don’t forget about your security personnel, either. Additional training, improved incident reporting software, and superior back office support will make their job easier and safer so they can better fulfill their responsibilities.
Keep in mind that security investments offer long–term benefits for your company. What you do now can help you save thousands of dollars in the future – so don’t neglect your security department.
1. Security Director’ Report. (2011). Overall Security Spending [Report]. Retrieved from http://sdrmonthly.com/content/resources/OverallSecuritySpending1.pdf
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