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Corporate security is no longer a local concern, but a global one. In today's age of high-speed connectivity and communication, security teams must keep track of distributed offices, facilities, and business travelers on an international scale — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no margin for error. The demand is unprecedented.
To underscore the breadth of challenges facing the corporate security department, between 2000 and 2017, the United States experienced 250 active shooter incidents leading to 2,217 fatalities. When it comes to terrorism, in 2018, 2,165 attacks took place globally, resulting in 9,767 fatalities. Corporate security departments must also contend with weather-related events, including tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes, which during the past few years take place with alarming frequency.
In response to an increasingly risky, “always-on" world, corporate security operations centers (SOCs) need more advanced physical and technological assets to mitigate threats. Without a well-equipped SOC, the security of your enterprise remains vulnerable to risk, breach, and loss.
Here's the catch: As the demand for security continues to grow, many chief security officers face constant pressure to rein in costs, while still delivering exceptional service. This raises the key question: How can you do more with less when the threats to your business are growing in number, complexity, and severity?
The following recommendations will help you establish a cost-effective strategy for your corporate security department, while maintaining—and even increasing—the effectiveness of your SOC. While they may not generate an immediate return on investment, the long-term benefits will prove invaluable.
1. Take Stock and Reprioritize
It doesn't cost much to conduct a current-state assessment of your organization, but it goes a long way towards raising and sustaining your department's performance. Begin by creating a detailed inventory of your existing projects and services and their costs and benefits. Which business areas receive each service? What metrics can you gather to demonstrate their value?
This exercise may seem tedious at first, but it will deliver vital insights into how your department uses its current budget. Your findings will inform discussions with business leaders about their needs, goals, and priorities and set in motion many of the following recommendations.
2. Eliminate and Optimize
With input from stakeholders and a detailed inventory of your organization's services and their costs, you can now identify and eliminate services or tools that no longer serve a purpose. This will free up funds for investments that can deliver value, allowing you to run a more responsive organization and deliver a higher level of protection for new or emerging threats.
3. Make New Investments Wisely
If new products are necessary for the security of your business, be sure your choices are prudent ones. First, take into account price and functionality; you need high-performing, affordable tools. Second, look for solutions that enhance and complement the knowledge base of your staff and are compatible with your existing infrastructure and processes. This will save on training, installation, and deployment costs. Third, keep in mind ease of integration. You'll want new products to exist within your current workflows and to help improve the efficiency of your day-to-day operations.
Investments are about cost, but they're also about implementation and functionality. Strive for innovation, but never at the expense of prudent budgeting or smart strategic planning.
4. Employ Publicly Available Data
Publicly available data, including social media posts, personal and corporate blogs, the dark web, sensors such as earthquake monitors, and flight updates serve as powerful, early informers of real-time events before they make headlines. Sophisticated technology solutions can notify corporations about issues that are relevant to their business, from natural disasters near a regional office to terrorist activity at an executive's travel destination.
The goal of an effective solution is to detect, classify, and determine the significance of publicly available data and the ramifications for corporate security. Such awareness allows you to respond quickly and effectively to any threats to your business, personnel, or facilities, no matter where in the world they may arise.
5. Use Cloud-based Technology Solutions
In an increasingly digitized and interconnected world, companies continue to embrace cloud services for a number of reasons. There's no hardware you need to maintain when using the cloud. Your business programs run offsite and are accessible to employees everywhere as long as they have access to the internet. Your supplier takes care of updating or replacing software, while also providing a secure infrastructure and the latest-available protection for your sensitive business data.
The vast majority of businesses have already made the leap to the cloud. According to Deloitte's 2018 Global Outsourcing Survey, 93 percent of respondents report that their organizations are considering or have adopted cloud-based technology. The primary drivers of cloud adoption include a need to catalyze IT innovation, a desire to increase speed to market, a push to improve performance, and the pursuit of scalable solutions. Cloud-based technology helps the corporate security department and the organization as a whole unlock a higher level of performance.
Less advanced procedures may not require in-house execution, either. Training, alarm monitoring, and travel security, for example, could be managed by third-party providers at a lower price and, sometimes, with a higher level of service.
Given that so much of corporate security work takes place remotely, many organizations don't need to maintain a large, physical office space. If your SOC pays a premium for real estate, consider cutting costs by relocating to a less expensive area. This recommendation assumes there's a supply of workers with the appropriate skills, or those willing to learn new skills. Don't limit your choices to a corporate home office or high-priced city location. You may find a more economical space in a nearby town or a different region of the country.
There's no doubt that corporate security requires a considerable investment. And while corporate security is a cost to a business, an effective department will save the company in the long run when a crisis strikes. By carefully reassessing your services on an annual basis and making strategic, cost-effective choices, your strategy can deliver the preventive and defensive measures your business requires, without breaking the bank.