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How Have Corporate Security Budgets Evolved over the Years?
Decades ago, a company’s security budget may have been little more than however much it cost to install a set of locks on the building. While some businesses also hired security guards to patrol their facilities at night, security often involved little investment. For better or worse, many businesses ignored security entirely.
Of course, this is hardly the case today. Changing technologies and a greater understanding of the threats businesses face (both physical and digital) has led an increasing number of companies to invest more of their revenue into advanced security measures.
The way confidential data is stored and transmitted has completely changed many aspects of the corporate world. Customers’ credit card data is stored online. Client contracts that were once printed and stored in a filing cabinet are now recorded electronically. In addition, more private information is shared between companies and their clients than ever before. This makes businesses an appealing target to thieves, because now there is much more of value that can be stolen beyond mere merchandise.
Setting a little extra aside for the security budget doesn’t just prevent thefts of merchandise or equipment — these days, it can easily save a company’s reputation with its customers.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest changes in security budgets have come in the realm of cybersecurity. Though this shouldn’t diminish a company’s current investments in physical security, the importance of cybersecurity is worth noting.
The internet has made it possible for malicious individuals to steal confidential information or otherwise attack your business without ever setting foot on your property. Data theft is an especially common concern, as a hacker who breaks into your company’s network can steal customer credit card data and other confidential financial or personal information. Such incidents can completely undermine consumers’ confidence in your business.
Other common attacks include ransomware and viruses. These often involve harmful programs that are inadvertently downloaded through a spam email. In a ransomware attack, company systems could be frozen or made inaccessible until a ransom is paid.
Because of these threats, modern corporate security budgets also make room for firewalls and spam-filtering software to protect their digital assets.
The Continuing Importance of Physical Security
An increased emphasis on cybersecurity doesn’t diminish the importance of physical security. Indeed, one could argue that advanced physical security measures are more vital than ever in preventing theft, vandalism, and other harmful acts perpetrated by intruders and even employees. Even with the rise in cybercrime, many criminals continue to use “old-school” methods to steal information — in some cases, disgruntled employees have snuck confidential information out of the building on a USB drive.
Some companies only increase their physical security budget after an incident takes place, but prevention is always the best solution. Modern technologies have allowed physical security to be more effective than ever without driving up expenses.
For example, new guard monitoring software allows security providers to ensure more efficient patrols at client facilities, enabling rapid incident reporting and improvements in response times. Improved guard reporting software can even help companies lower expenses by enabling a faster response to maintenance issues. High-tech video monitoring systems make it easier to detect intruders or identify suspicious behavior. Computer-controlled access locks help keep unauthorized individuals from breaking into restricted areas.
While each of these advances requires a greater initial investment than was used in the past, they go a long way in preventing the financial losses that would occur should a break-in or other incident take place. These improved security measures help companies avoid such costly setbacks, and are well worth the investment.
Changing technologies will undoubtedly continue to alter the way companies approach their security budget. Those that are aware of current threats and opportunities will be best positioned to protect their physical assets and digital information, ensuring that a relatively small investment in security yields major long-term savings.
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