Security departments are often treated as cost centers. Yet when you consider the cost in losses, customer confidence, or reparations required had the team’s efforts not been effective, it seems hard to understand why they are not viewed as a value driver. When leaders look for places to cut costs, they naturally look to cut funding for cost centers, and security departments are often high on that list. However, not only are they are missing an opportunity, but they are potentially setting themselves up for a radically different result than they expected. It takes a paradigm shift to realize what was considered a cost center is actually critical to achieving the bottom-line goals.
What does it take to highlight the value your security team is returning to the organization so that your department is considered an investment center? The first step is for managers of these departments to view their teams and the role they play in the enterprise differently.
Tie the Value of the Department to Critical Business Metrics
Your security department should have performance metrics that are routinely measured and reviewed. They may even have formal SLAs to measure performance and adherence to expected standards. The question is, other than proving you are doing your job, why aren’t you showing how the technology initiatives impact the business and how security contributes to the overall financial goals? Alarm monitoring is important, but how does it enhance the business’s financial performance? Prove how your team can become a strategic partner, providing innovative solutions and leveraging cross-functional expertise for ways to increase the company’s revenue. The first step is in the alignment of your department’s contributions to the strategic objectives of the business. Demonstrate how your department can take an active role in decision making by offering innovative, insightful solutions.
Do the Math and Quantify Your Value
If you aren’t familiar with ROI, your leadership is. It means return on investment, and it measures the benefit you get from the money you’ve invested. This is your opportunity to present the value your team provides in a very tangible and impactful way. Work with your finance department to get input on investment numbers as well as an endorsement of your metrics that show how your team is providing an impressive ROI while enhancing the bottom line. Don’t forget to look at each of the services your team provides, like antivirus and firewall security, access control, endpoint security, and security training. Then solicit bids for companies that offer those services. Show not only how your team can cost-effectively provide the services, but the advantages that your in-house team provides compared to outsourcing.
Manage Business Performance, Not Team Performance
Once you’ve found the right methodology to quantify your department’s bottom-line impacts as an investment center, you need to start setting goals based on your contribution to business performance. While performance against your SLAs is important, they don’t show how you are furthering the interests of the company. Set clear, achievable, and measurable goals that are directly tied to the performance projections and objectives of the enterprise. Promoting and supporting a paradigm shift can be a challenge. It can take knowledgeable and experienced guidance to get your company to recognize your department’s value as a value driver.
Leverage Technology to Help Provide Additional Value
Finding software solutions to help streamline your operations and ultimately help cut costs can show the value of the security department through operational efficiencies. Integrating your security systems can provide faster and more effective threat detection, assessment, and response. SIS can give your security personnel more tools in their arsenal to free up resources by allowing them to determine real vs. nuisance alarms quickly. Our security systems integration will enable you to leverage the strengths of each system to create a synergistic effect, resulting in a more robust protective and defensive strategy. Contact SIS to find out how they can help your security department reach its potential as an investment center.