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Security Guard Cost: How Security Operations Can Create Value

By John Paul Malko

When it comes to the cost of security guards, many budget holders haven’t been able to see past the idea of security being a cost center. In short, they’ve seen security guard services as a necessary evil and an unfortunate check-box service that they’d avoid if they could.

 

Challenging misconceptions around security

The reality is that negative attitudes towards security spending are a hangover of a bygone age. Before the advent of risk-based security management and security workforce management technology, security firms were largely throwing resources at a problem, using meager budgets and trial and error methods to determine staffing levels and how guards should be deployed.

It was difficult for security managers to truly know what was happening on the frontline, and security end users would often receive reports from their sites way after the fact that would often be incomplete and missing critical info. Lessons learned would be hard to compile and apply in practice. Adding to their woes, expensive on-site supervision was needed to manage field operations that would often be ad hoc and inconsistent and divert resources from more value adding activities.

Not only did service users find this frustrating, but security firms were also handicapped by a lack of insight. This made it difficult to assess efficiency and productivity and take a proactive approach to delivering security services.

The result was a perception that security boiled down to ‘guns, guards, and gates’ and didn’t add much more to the wellbeing of the end-user’s organization.

 

Updating the image of security

The contrast with today’s data-driven security service provider couldn’t be starker. With security workforce management software, security firms have a real-time, 100% accurate picture of their operations. From where their guards are at a given time, to a complete log of all incidents by type and severity, technology has revolutionized the security landscape.

The Security Guard Cost Myth – How Security Operations Can Create Value

Security providers are also able to link their contracts, SLAs and invoicing with dynamic scheduling that ensures seamless data flows from the frontline to back-office functions. It means security managers can do more to control overtime costs, and make strategic decisions about resource allocation that align to the actual facts on the ground. They can also reduce errors and get invoicing right first time by eliminating manual data transfers.

Security workforce management software enables flexibility in service provision that allows firms to blend guard tours with mobile patrols and key holding services to suit a customer’s risk appetite and budget.

 

The value delivered through security

The watchword of modern security is value. Today’s customer not only expects the basic safeguarding of their assets, they also expect business insight and an enterprise security risk management (ESRM) approach that aligns physical security with business objectives to holistically manage risk across an organization.

Not only can a tech-enabled approach to security save money by being more efficient, but it also makes it easier to demonstrate ROI because of the robust operational data collected. In this way, a lack of serious incidents will stop being a justification for cutting budgets when a security provider can point to the incident trends over time and estimate the savings generated by pre-empting major issues, compared to dealing with their aftermath from both a cost and reputational damage POV.

 

Speaking the language of business

As the professionalization of security has progressed, we’ve witnessed security and business start to speak the same language. By being able to be more strategic and proactive, security providers that have embraced technology are now able to align their services with an organization’s overarching goals which further supports the idea of security as a value adder rather than just a cost center.

Once you realize how the security industry has moved on, you’ll recognize the value it can bring and view your security spending in a new light.

 

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