No matter what business you’re in, keeping people, assets, and infrastructure safe is critical to your success–although that fact gets lost in the pursuit of new markets or fresh profits. It’s understandable. Growing a business is exciting, but managing physical security is not. Nobody goes out for drinks to celebrate the critical security breach that didn’t happen that day. They’re toasting to the million-dollar deal they closed.
At its best, a strong physical security infrastructure hums along in the background, forgotten. The problem is people only remember it when something goes wrong. That’s usually when executives get together and say, “We need to have better systems in place.”
But if you’ve lost valuable intellectual property due to a physical security breach, suffered loss or damage from an unforeseen criminal or terrorist event, or put your people or property in danger, that conversation is too late.
That’s why it’s important to make physical security a strategic business priority right now, before your worst-case-scenario catches you off-guard. To get ahead of emerging threats, follow these tips.
Understand your current physical security risks
Look at your current security posture. Are you using outdated systems that don’t work well together? Are you hampered by slow response times or poor communication across departments? How many security incidents, false alarms, threats, or critical events occurred in the past year? Could they have been prevented, and if so, how?
Quantify the cost such incidents have caused to your people, business, or property. Can you put a price on them? This is a key insight to bring to senior decision-makers who may not appreciate the preventative power of a strong security strategy. (It’s never a problem until it’s a problem, and then it’s a very expensive problem.)
Treat physical security as a commercial investment, not an optional add-on
It’s up to you to make the business case for why physical security is so vital to your organization. But, as we mentioned earlier, it can be easy for senior leaders to brush it off or think of it as a “maybe later” to-do item. After all, a strong security system should generate no real news of note: no security breach, no loss of data, no damage to life or property. Its very reason for being is to ensure that nothing happens. So when people do talk about it, it’s often because something catastrophic has already occurred.
Battle this tendency to move it to the “do later” list by outlining why it should be treated as a commercial investment. Create a strategic plan and roadmap for what you need to do to modernize and protect your people and assets. Define existing security challenges and attach a cost to them: what could you lose if something went wrong? Paint a picture of how a strong physical security system can future-proof your business operations, and how much it will profit your organization in all the costs not incurred.
Finally, identify security software that can grow with you over time. You want the flexibility to scale as needed and to integrate new technologies with legacy technologies you still use. Even worse than having no security solution is having one that becomes dated and won’t play well with others. You don’t want to get locked into an expensive solution that keeps you stuck in the same place while the threats around you continue to grow and evolve.
Insist on total integration of your security systems
Your business is evolving every day, and so are the tools you use to keep your property and people protected. Many businesses that started with a standard alarm system have found themselves adding applications and devices over the years, sometimes resulting in a chaotic web of security solutions. Today, they may find themselves monitoring input from countless systems: video, access control, heating and cooling, sensors, computer networks, and more.
As your business gets more complex, your physical security operation should become even simpler.
The best security and alarm monitoring software can integrate signals from many devices to give you a 360-degree view of your security posture–all from one control screen. This is valuable on many levels: first, you respond faster to emerging threats and make faster decisions in quickly-evolving situations. You get better insights into true risks, calibrating your response accordingly. You operate with greater efficiency (and lower costs). Finally, you get integrated insights about your total threat picture, so you can make better-informed security decisions in the future.
Focus on smart workflows and standard operating procedures
No top-of-the-line security system can make up for poor workflows, poor communication, and poor response times. In fact, we’re willing to bet that you’d be better off with an old, dated security solution and excellent workflows and protocols than with a fancy new system and sloppy operating procedures. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose, because you can and should have both.
The best security solution only becomes better with established workflows and operating procedures that standardize how you respond to real-time security threats. Taking the time to set up automatic workflows, for example, can cut down on confusion, lost time, and indecisiveness in key moments. It turns your security operation into a well-oiled machine, running smoothly 24/7 no matter who is on duty or what emergency arises. Identify consistent next steps for every scenario and focus on automated decision-making so you can work smarter, not harder. (A good software solution makes this easy).
Start prioritizing today
Anything can happen tomorrow, so make sure you’re ready today. Security Information Systems’ security alarm and integration software can be your first line of defense against multiple security threats, and is used by businesses around the world. See how our Alarm Center software can strengthen your defenses starting today.