The security landscape has evolved significantly over the years. Where there used to be just outlaws to deal with, not there is a wide range of criminals looking to score a win, each with a different set of skills to boast. Businesses need a robust security infrastructure now more than ever. Businesses have a range of options to consider, ranging from contract-based security to proprietary, hybrid, or virtual security. However, not every one of these models is perfect for every security requirement. One of the biggest factors to consider when it comes to deciding the best model is to decide on the type(s) of risks the manufacturing plant is liable to find itself entangled in. This may include physical security or digital security risk, or even internal risks that may not come forward for years to come. Determining the risk is the first step in identifying the best type of security infrastructure to implement. This paper will discuss the different types of security infrastructures out there and which one would be suitable for this manufacturing plant.
Understanding the Different Types of Security Systems
The first type of security system that or organizations can go for includes contract security. Contract security companies may be operated by a single individual or a Board of Directors but can be offering their services to numerous clients. Usually, all the necessary stipulations, including the scope of security offered covered in the initial contract. In most cases, contractual security personnel is hired for securing perimeters and asset protection ONLY. They aren’t obliged to offer protection to any area other than the one mentioned in their contract. Security personnel is usually very well trained, albeit have tunnel vision in terms of the services offered.
Proprietary security is governed by the person or company they are guarding. The proprietor(s), their belongings, and property are all that security guards are responsible for, and the proprietor(s) govern the actions of security personnel themselves as well. This includes the overall management, hiring, and firing of personnel and associated assets. These are also referred to as controlled entities. The major difference is that these companies ‘are their own security providers.’ Proprietary security companies are usually responsible for every nook and cranny of the company they are protecting since they are in-house entities. These tend to cost more than contract-based security infrastructures.
A blend of the two involves assigning (a majority of) internal security personnel in managerial positions, while external companies are hired on contract to cover any deficiencies (personnel, technology, or more). Surveys suggest that around 62% of all companies use propriety security,whereas only 9% use contract-based security, and 30% use hybrid solutions. (Office of Policy and Analysis, 2014)
The most common use of proprietary security personnel is in museums, industries, plants, and other areas where outsourced individuals can’t be trusted, or if there are secrets that need to be kept safe. However, if there are any shortages or loopholes in the property security infrastructure, for example where more manpower is required or expensive technology, contractual security personnel can come into play. This combination of proprietary and contractual security systems constitutes a hybrid infrastructure. Such infrastructures often use contractual security only as reserves or at high-risk places where more trained staff is required.
Despite the definite pros of both security structures, there is one issue that arises when contract and proprietary security arecombined. Proprietary security officers and contract actual security officers often find themselves arguing with each other because of the difference in company culture, training, or even backgrounds. Even if said arguments don’t come out verbally, a certain sense of ‘misunderstanding’ continues to develop between individuals over time.
Hybrid structures also involve outsourcing the digital security aspect of a company and adopting a proprietary or contractual infrastructure for physical security or vice versa.
Virtual security involves setting up a department, either in-house or via outsourcing, that culminates measures, procedures,and processes to create a virtual infrastructure or environment to address issues faced by software or digital components of the organization. Virtual security is a broad concept that may also include physical security, but virtual management of physical security isn’t a recommended approach.
Virtual security may include the implementation of digital or physical security controls and procedures, making sure all assets are virtually secure, the network doesn’t have any unauthorized traffic, and creating a cybersecurity safety net from any digital or physical device. The control and authority of the machine remain with the parent organization, though.
Problems Faced By Different Security Infrastructures
A major problem that companies have to face with security personnel is that of loyalty. Security is only as tight as the interest and loyalty of every individual involved in the infrastructure. It has been noted that propriety security staff is much more loyal to their parent company than a contract security team. (Cohen, n.d.)However, for clients using contract staff, loyalty isn’t that big of an issue, considering staff’s loyalty, in this case, is the firms’ responsibility. As loyalty issues arise, the contracting company often replaces security personnelby transferring them to another post or in severe cases, outright firing them.
As for virtual security providers, the issue of loyalty doesn’t exist as much because of the virtual nature of the job.Having said that, having an in-house department for digital security would still serve better than an outsourced company, any given day. (Thompson, 2004)
Another issue faced by companies includes that of costs. One of the most expensive types, albeit effective is the contractual security infrastructure. Hybrid security structures offer a mix of highly trained staff, loyalty, and an overall better value for money.
The final recommendation of which security infrastructure the company should adopt is highly dependent on what the organization is looking for. If cost is an issue, hiring a contractual security company and letting go of a majority of our staff would be the best approach. This is because contract security companies make a point of making sure staff is well trained and is ready for issues that may arise, specific to any given organization.
For example, some companies cater specifically to manufacturing plants because of their familiarity with them. However, this isn’t a recommended approach for those looking for a quality-based resolution. The plant will save costs, but the quality of security offered may not be as efficient.
In my opinion, the best approach would be to get in touch with a contractual security company and a virtual security company on top of the 100 individuals we currently have on payroll. This mixture would help us ensure that we have every avenue covered. Yes, this would be slightly more expensive because of the proprietary element, but the quality of security offered will be much more reliable because of the training element. It is important to note, though, that this option will require a bit more management efforts.
As the world continues to evolve and technology takes over more and more elements of our daily lives, the risk to organizations also continues to increase. More and more credible threats continue to challenge security infrastructure, and with inflation on the rise, cost-efficiency also continues to be a major consideration for organizations. However, settling for less is not something that anyone can afford. To mitigate risks properly, organizations should remember to adopt a security infrastructure that offers the best value for money, which according to the observations above is a hybrid structure.