Security Matters

Read the latest insights, advice and updates on security services, technology and careers.

How to Choose a Contract Security Firm

Atlanta, GA – The selection of a contract security firm is of critical importance to every business.  This company and its security guards are often the front-line representative of your organization when visitors come onto your property for any reason.  How they interact with your customers and visitors can have a tremendous impact on their perception of your business.

Define the Scope of Work

  • The first and most important step in the decision-making process is to clearly define your expectations prior to deciding on a security structure for your business by conducting a Security Analysis or Needs Assessment.  A qualified security consultant can assist with this process by guiding you in conducting a detailed analysis of your property, structures, physical features, environment, operating procedures, and internal controls.
  • What are your concerns?  What are your expected losses and their value?
  • What is the probability of the risks occurring?
  • Where are the weak points in your business that need strengthening?
  • What are your 1 year and 3 year expectations for changes in your company’s operations?
  • Is your current security posture adequate to meet your current needs?
  • What budget can you afford or should you be spending to achieve these goals?  Keep in mind the old saying, “you get what you pay for.”  Quality service is always going to cost more.

With a detailed Security Assessment completed, then you are prepared to move forward with specific solutions to address the identified concerns.

Personnel Standards

Your security provider should work with you in establishing specific standards for the personnel that will be hired to provide services on your property.  These standards include previous education, work experience, skill assessments and background checks.

If these personnel will be required to use a computer to manage the physical security system or badging systems, then assessments of computer skills may be appropriate at your site.  Other sites may not require these skills and find this unnecessary.

Often, labor cost is the largest portion of a security budget.  Personnel standards correlate directly to pay rates of the personnel which then sets your budget.  Your security requirements may be met satisfactorily with a low-paid watchman or require a highly skilled, trained Officer at twice the pay rate.

Training Requirements

Work with your security guard company to implement the appropriate training as identified in your Security Assessment.  The first step is always to meet the minimum legal requirements of your local and state territories.  Beyond these basics, identify specific computer programs or equipment needed in the daily duties of the security guard as well as procedures to implement.

A Security Officer working alone on the night shift while your building is locked may require different training than an Officer on duty during the day and interacting regularly with your customers and employees.

Your judgment will come into play to balance budgetary restrictions with training necessity.

Supervision & Accountability

Your guard services provider should have a clear chain of command.  They should provide consistent supervision and be responsive to issues when they arrive.

Once again, the budget impacts the balance of supervisors providing more or less frequent monitoring of the site.

Guard Tour System

Electronic Guard Monitoring Systems come in a variety of formats and capabilities.  It is important that you and your guard company select an appropriate system that meets your needs for accountability of your security guards.

Many systems today are GPS/Satellite enabled to track the Officer’s movements at all times, in addition to when they “check-in” at an electronic station on their tour.  Immediate alerts can be sent via text message to Supervisors should a unit remain motionless for ten minutes, eliminating the risk of guards sleeping on the job.  Detailed reports can be reviewed to monitor compliance and receive reports from the guards where they report incidents during their shift.

Operating Procedures
Your guard services partner should work closely with your management team in developing operating procedures for the officers that closely follows the initial needs assessment.  The leadership of the company should have experience in the physical security industry to insure that your guards have the best training and procedures in place.  Your guard company should be a trusted partner that inspires your confidence.

In summary, choosing the right guard services firm is a critical decision for every business.  These officers represent your company in dealing with your customers and your employees.   A deliberative evaluation of the partner firm is required to reduce risk.




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