Strategic vs. Opportunistic

So apparently the trick is to lead with a shocking headline … OK here goes. What if I said that the routine patrols you send your security officer out on may be one of your biggest corporate security risks? BS you reply … because you hire a contract security company the risk is transferred to them. This is true … sort of. It doesn’t take long on Google to find instances where security officers are hurt or killed suddenly on the job. A few more clicks and you will see that the name on all the newspaper and TV stories is not the Guard Company but rather the company where the security officer was serving. The Brand of that company takes a big hit.

So moving to reality. The last thing anyone wants is for anyone to be hurt on the job. It is my submission that one of the most dangerous things that can happen is when a security officer and a criminal come face to face … and both are surprised. The fact is neither will know exactly what is going to happen next. Your security officer has some tactical advantages. They know the terrain, they are sober and they have back-up ….. they DO have backup don’t they? Statistically they do not have quick back-up so with luck they didn’t get too close too quick.

The point is that the above security officer is working entirely in an opportunistic manner. If they happen to see something … they do something. Great security officers get great at knowing when and where to be to be most effective however that comes with time on the site which takes time and likely some bumps along the way.

So my challenge is this. With every security camera company under the sun claiming they have great analytics (with a few of them actually having OK analytics), why are these camera views not leveraged in real time to a security officer who is in the immediate vicinity? With expensive access control systems able to detect all sorts of anomalies, why are most access control event logs just logged onto a server in a room and never seen by human eyes?

The typical answer is that a security officer that is visible is more effective and there is definitely value to this statement. Clients want the security officers on their feet in plain view as opposed to asleep behind a bed of computer monitors.

Another typical answer is there are no cameras or access control points. Also true however that is a problem solved with funding, and given the promised (by me) increase in security efficiency it will be easy to show a business case for an investment.

Lets measure a security officer’s performance, not based on how many steps and clicks are put in on a shift but rather how many security anomalies were attended to and what were the outcomes. In addition, how many security anomalies were not attended to with an explanation for why there was no attendance. This information is readily available and automatically tracked. Even I would have a hard time having a nap if there were several blinking red lights and beeps awaiting my acknowledgement knowing that I will be questioned in the morning why these alerts were not attended to. Fact is, the only good answer is that I was fully occupied on other incidents and this why we need more staff at this site.

And for those who have staff watching a big bank of cameras and dispatching guards, are you not guilty of just doing opportunistic monitoring instead of strategic monitoring? Please don’t get me going on the value of “motion detection” that has sucked for the last 30 years.

Lets let technology do what it does best by raising security anomalies and lets let security officers do what they do best and provide a quick strategic response.

This is a call to examine every part of your contracted (or in house) security team’s mandate and seek out opportunistic tasks that should be strategic. There will be well defined opportunities that will provide real time intelligence to your staff on duty as well as long term analytics to measure total team performance. Respectfully I don’t see this approach coming from current guard companies…. yet. Necessity is the mother of invention. It is on the businesses who are hiring these companies to require a change.

On a lighter note, I am making it in just under the wire for a self imposed one post per year !! I am so lucky to have maintained great clients and industry friends in 2022. Here is to a safer and more secure 2023 🙂

Thanks for reading