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Three Ways to Get Started Building a Physical Security Program

By Northland Controls, Dec 07, 2021

For companies building or expanding their physical security program, here are three things to prioritize when balancing rapid growth with safety.

As companies grow, through funding, acquisitions, or just increased recognition, the number of threats against employees, executives, and business operations tends to rise. Internally, events surrounding theft, workplace violence, and insider threats can target business operations and proprietary information while external threats such as natural disasters, IT outages, and damage to critical infrastructure can disrupt operations and compromise your brand. However, physical security systems such as access control, video management, and critical event management work together to mitigate these risks.

For companies building or expanding their physical security program, here are three things to prioritize when balancing rapid growth with safety.

1. Select the Right Technology
Selecting the right technology for current and future needs is one of the most important components of implementing a strong physical security program. With so many options for access control and video management systems, it can be hard to understand where to start. But, by keeping long-term goals in mind, you can select the right system to provide scalability for the future.

One of the biggest headaches for a physical security professional is having to “rip and replace” outdated or mismatched systems, taking time and money away from larger company goals. Selecting technology that can grow as the company grows maximizes return on investment. Features to consider include system capacity, price, cloud vs. on-prem, compatibility with internal systems, innovation, and usability, among others.

While security is usually seen as a cost center, there are many ways in which the right technology can actually support a company’s continued growth. At the end of the day, mitigating the increased number of threats against the company is a priority, but these systems can also provide valuable insight into business operations to further support operational success and efficiency. For example, leveraging the right data to create a more efficient office configuration can increase employee productivity while pulling data on occupancy rates can help save money on things like lighting, heating, and air.

2. Create Security Standards
Many quickly growing companies are challenged by the presence of disparate systems across their office locations. This often happens when a company acquires established offices or independently manages new office buildouts, resulting in different manufacturers throughout their security ecosystem. If one office operates on system A, for example, while the others use system B, it may complicate the user experience and make it difficult to collect data company-wide. It can also cause frustration among employees and executives who travel between offices. With disparate systems, employees can face challenges like needing to carry multiple badges or not having access to the right areas when they travel from office to office. For companies early in their expansion, or those looking to create a unified security program, the solution lies within security standards.

According to Danny Chung, Global Director of Design and Consulting, “Security standards help to define a unified system and create continuity among your systems, regardless of where you are opening a new facility.” He goes on to say, “These documents set a guideline for what these facilities should be living up to. This includes what they need to be securing, how to secure it, and the equipment needed to secure it.” During a period of growth, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. But creating standards for technology and policies takes the guesswork out of creating a consistent security program. Companies that employ standards remove uncertainties around new office buildouts and gain better access to valuable business data to create a seamless user experience for employees.

3. Consider a Managed Service
Physical security, done right, can be a huge compliment to a company’s growth. However, many businesses that are hyper-focused on expanding their business tend to be limited in resources and experience as it relates to physical security. For companies operating lean and looking for extra support on building best-in-class security programs, a managed service like an outsourced global security operations center (GSOC) or critical event management as a service could be the right fit.

Remote operators and analysts serve as members of the security team and provide around the clock monitoring and response capabilities so that when an incident does occur, there is always someone ready to respond. Internally, Global Security Operations as a Service keeps tabs on everything happening within the four walls of your business while Critical Event Management as a Service watches for external threats that could have negative consequences on employees and operations. These services either act as a primary response team or provide off hours support as a company’s program matures. This model is considerably less expensive than building and operating one’s own GSOC, provides easy scalability, and shifts many expenses from CapEx to OpEx.

By working with a third-party provider, companies can focus less on what threats are present and more on continued growth and profitability while mitigating risks. This type of outsourced model adds qualified security professionals to a security team without the resource drain to build, hire, and train internal teams. And, because it operates on a shared-resource model, it often results in cost-savings that can be dedicated to other corporate initiatives.

Taking a proactive approach to the health and safety of employees, facilities, and business operations sets companies up for long-term success. Doing so creates a heightened user experience throughout the company and zaps unnecessary vulnerabilities that could slow down future progress.

As your company navigates through new challenges, it’s important to understand who you are protecting, what you’re protecting them against, and how you can implement systems and policies to mitigate these new risks. If this feels like a daunting task, reach out to our team of security experts for help by emailing