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The (Real) Price

of Security Solutions
A white paper on the challenges of buying and
selling high-quality security solutions


Critical Future is the market leader in providing topics of today. Critical Future’s white papers
white papers written by highly influential global combine expertise, research, and industry
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business community.


Dr Terence Tse earnt his PhD from Cambridge Business Review and other academic journals,
University in Management Studies. He publishes and on leading news channels. Dr Tse works
research on ‘Mega Trends’ in the Harvard with leading international organisations such
as the London Stock Exchange, Shell, and Laing
O’Rourke, as well as supranational organisations
such as the European Commission and the
International Trade Centre. Dr Tse has strong
media experience and has been featured several
times in The Economist, the Guardian, and
the Financial Times, among other journals and
Dr Tse is an associate professor of finance at
ESCP Europe Business School. ESCP Europe
is the oldest business school in the world,
established in 1819, and currently ranked as
the 11th best business school in Europe by
the Financial Times. Triple-crown accredited
(EQUIS, AMBA, AACSB), its alumni network
includes leaders such as Olaf Swantee (CEO at
Everything Everywhere), Stephan Bole (CEO at
Nintendo), Xavier Garambois (CEO of Amazon.
com Europe), and Jean-Pierre Raffarin (Prime
Minister of France, 2002–2005).

The BSIA has led the way for over 40 years in
The British Security Industry Association the shaping of the private security industry. Our
(BSIA) has commissioned this report. The BSIA members are industry professionals ranging in
is the trade association for the professional size from global companies to small and medium-
security industry in the UK. Our members sized enterprises, offering high-quality products
are responsible for more than 70 per cent and services to a vast spectrum of end users.
(by turnover) of privately provided UK It is our mission to be the voice of the private
security products and services, including the security industry, supporting members and
manufacture, distribution, and installation of encouraging excellence while educating the
electronic and physical security equipment, marketplace on the value of high-quality and
and the provision of security guarding and professional security, and while creating an
consultancy services. atmosphere in which our members can flourish.


ATEC Fire and Security has been providing Securitas uses a risk based approach that blends
independent expertise for 30 years. It is a multi- people, technology and knowledge to deliver
disciplinary security company that embraces Protective Services solutions for customers in a
innovation to provide deep integration and efficiency variety of industries and organisation types.
across logical and physical security domains.
In the UK, Securitas employs over 13,000
The ATEC Difference is about creating value people making it one of the UK’s largest security
not only through security innovation, but also providers.
by ensuring security projects deliver financial,
Securitas focuses on security and safety
operational, staff and business intelligence benefits.
centred solutions that are built for each
ATEC Fire and Security invests heavily in its in-house customer’s specific needs, using expertise in
capability in order to provide customers in multiple protection, risk mitigation, robust operational
industry sectors, with the best security consultation standards and customer service to protect
and advice, patented integration resources and the people, business and assets. Their Protective
widest possible range of security solutions. Services solutions incorporate a range of
capabilities and use advanced technology
ATEC customers are guided through the ATEC
content to respond to the needs of a wide range
Journey, a clearly defined engagement and delivery
of customers.
process that ensures solutions meet business needs
and continue to do so throughout their design life.

Director, NetVu Limited; David Ottewill,
The strength of this white paper lies in the Managing Director, Camberford Law; Mick
quality of the experience that has been shared Philips, Head of Loss Prevention, TJ Morris/
by notable industry figures. I would like to thank Home Bargains; Tony Porter, Surveillance
all the contributors who shared their experience Camera Commissioner of England and Wales;
and expertise, in particular Simon Adcock, Chief Ian Pugh, Head of Security, Intu Retail Services
Executive, ATEC Security; Dave Anderson, Ltd; and Craig Swallow, Managing Director,
Head of Security, UK and ROI, Sky UK; Cedrick SoloProtect Limited.
Moriggi, Chief Advisor to Group Security, Rio Last but not least, I would very much like to
Tinto; Joseph Murray, Corporate Head of thank Sankalp Sardana for his hard work in
Security, St George Healthcare Group; Brian conducting the research and giving valuable
Riis Nielsen, Country President and Managing input, without which it would not have been
Director, Securitas; Pauline Norstrom, Managing possible to produce this paper.


Executive summary 6
1. Introduction 8
1.1. Aims of the paper 10
2. The commoditisation of security solutions 11
3. The importance of high-quality security solutions 14
The problem with focusing on initial outlay 15
3.1. Fulfilling the end user’s needs 16
Deploying a high-quality security options that fulfil the end user’s needs 16
3.2. Minimising whole-life costs 16
A low-quality option that underperforms and adds more costs 17
4. Implications and some action points for end users 18
4.1. Understanding the requirements 18
4.2. Collaborate with security-solution providers 19
The result of hiring insufficiently trained guards 19
4.3. See guards as an asset 20
4.4. Focus on the benefits and costs of total ownership 21
4.5. Look at security as ‘security plus’ 21
5. Implications and some action points for security-solutions providers 22
5.1. Work with the end users 23
5.2. Bridge the technology language and knowledge gaps 23
Countering a false claim with a high-quality security solution 23
5.3. Think people, technology, and process 24
People, technology, and processes working together effectively 24
6. Case studies 25
6.1. End user’s perspective: TJ Morris 25
6.2. Security-solutions provider’s perspective: SoloProtect 26
7. Conclusions 28
8. References 29
Appendix 1 30
Checklist for end users 30
Checklist for security-solution providers 30
Appendix 2 31


Recent statistics and changes in regulations suggest make purchase decisions based on quality, and
that businesses will be spending more money on not solely on price. Vendors, in addition, should
good solutions to counter security threats and to also consider selling on the basis of quality.
prevent and mitigate risk. Yet many buyers prefer From an economic perspective, it is perfectly
to make purchase decisions based on price, often acceptable to buy low-cost solutions. But buyers
to the detriment of quality. This preference is partly must beware of the pitfalls of investing in low-
the result of the fact that many companies are facing priced, low-quality solutions: these rarely fully
shrinking budgets. The unwillingness to spend on meet the buyers’ needs, and they often fail early.
high-quality security solutions is also likely to be By contrast, high-quality security solutions are
due to the fact that security focuses on intangibles much more able to fully meet the needs of the end
and has difficulty showing that it brings value to a users. Indeed, these solutions will be more likely
company. Such spending is seen as a necessary evil to sustain their high performance throughout
that only adds more costs. Furthermore, security as their expected life. Specifically, good security is
a business function is often accorded a lower status much more capable of achieving the following:
than some other functions within an organisation,
the result of which could make it difficult to justify
the expenditure. Fulfilling the needs of the end users
As the business environment changes rapidly,
As a result, many vendors have resorted to
it would be imprudent to treat security as a
competing on price, causing security solutions to
box-ticking exercise. Instead, to be effective in
be treated increasingly as a commodity. The value
preventing and mitigating risk, end users should
of security is seemingly further undermined by
consider security as business-critical. Viewed
the industry itself. Some facilities-management
from this vantage point, high-quality solutions
companies now make security a shared service,
are much better at fulfilling the requirements of
treating it like services such as catering and
end users, which are often company-specific and
gardening. At the same time, some security
idiosyncratic. Moreover, high-quality solutions
suppliers have branched out into non-security-
can be often better utilised, enabling the buyers
related services, such as supplying receptionists.
to avoid the additional expenses of replacing
But competing on price only erodes profitability
them prematurely, and to forestall potentially
further, at the same time leaving many customer
great losses through loss of business or inability
needs unmet.
to serve customers. Additionally, high-quality
This paper argues that it is of paramount solutions may create ‘security dividends’ that can
importance for end users of security solutions to increase business opportunities for a company.

Minimising whole-life costs that they are better qualified and more skilful in
handling situations.
Focusing on the initial outlay may tempt end
users to neglect the other costs that can be Focus on the benefits and costs of total
incurred over the term of deployment. These ownership. Buyers should resist the temptation
costs include a higher probability of negative to focus on the cost outlay. Performance and
incidents taking place, with consequent direct utilisation rates over the time of solutions
economic losses and an indirect drain on the time ownership are perhaps even more important.
and resources of the organisation. There can be Buyers can also seek financial specialists to help
damage to reputation, and litigation-related costs. spread the costs over a period of time.
Furthermore, even in the absence of incidents,
Look at security as ‘security plus’. End users
low-quality solutions can incur extra costs as a
should view security not just as a protector of
result of earlier-than-expected replacements, low
assets but rather as a business enabler. High-
utilisation, and inefficiency.
quality solutions are much more capable of
Both end users and suppliers better achieve their helping end users collect useful information that
goals if they shift their focus away from price can be used in other business functions, which
orientation to think in terms of quality. There are a may help to open up wider budgets.
number of action points that both of these parties
And for security-solutions providers:
should consider.
Work with the end users. Going the extra mile
For end users:
to understand clients’ needs is found to be one
Understand the operational requirements. End of the key factors for success in the security
users can get the best solutions to manage their industry. Vendors should help customers to define
security issues only by developing an in-depth their needs, especially when many buyers have
understanding of the needs and requirements difficulties identifying them.
in question. To do so, they must conduct at
Bridge the technology language and
least some basic risk assessments, if not a fully
knowledge gaps. Security-solutions suppliers
comprehensive assessment.
must ensure that their staff have a good
Collaborate with security-solution providers. understanding of their products, in particular
Buyers of security solutions sometimes under- those that involve the latest technologies; they
estimate the crucial role they must play in order should also have the ability to communicate the
to achieve good security. Having a working benefits and challenges clearly to the buyers.
partnership with the vendors can help both
Think people, technology, and processes.
parties to identify the needs of the end users, and
Solutions are likely to be most effective if there
the appropriate solutions.
are well-thought-through processes combined
See guards as an asset. If end users pay low with technology and manpower.
prices for manned guard services, they are likely
Two case studies are provided to
to get badly trained or even untrained guards.
Rather than seeing it as a job that anyone can do,
illustrate in detail how an end user might
a job that needs no particular training or aptitude, choose a security solution, and the
end users should consider paying hired guards actions that a supplier can take to help
more and demanding that the providers ensure buyers find suitable solutions.


Recently, there has been extensive debate and retailers in the UK, with 41 per cent of the
on the need to improve security. Yet much total wholesale and retail premises in the UK
of it centres on security problems in the IT being victim to crime (Home Office, 2015). The
industry and in cyberspace. Seemingly less British Retail Consortium (2015) found that
discussion has been dedicated to security in the there are 4.1 million offences across the retail
traditional, non-information-system/IT setting.
industry in 2014-2015. This represents losses
This is curious, given that recent statistics
of some £613 million, the highest level since
appear to be supporting the case for investing
records began, and three times as much as only
in good security. For instance, in 2014 alone,
five years before.
an average of 13,070 incidents of crime per
1,000 premises was reported by wholesalers These figures suggest that the necessity – and

hence demand – for crime-prevention and theft- understanding of the factors deemed important
prevention security solutions can be expected to in security procurement and buying processes.
increase. Yet protection of assets comprises only Among the various key findings, one which
a part of the security-solution industry. Equally stands out is that more than half of the end-user
important are the health and safety concerns of respondents said they would consider quality
employees. Consider, for example, the 6 million to be the single most important factor when
lone workers in the UK. With the introduction purchasing security solutions. However, at the
of the new sentencing guidelines this year, the same time, almost 30 per cent of the same end-
potential cost of one incident involving a worker user respondents claimed that they would be
has risen substantially. A large firm found guilty willing to compromise on quality if they could
of corporate manslaughter could face a penalty acquire the solutions at a lower price.
upwards of £7.5 million, up from the previous
It is obvious that these two statements are not
starting threshold of £500,0001. Hence, it
fully compatible. Yet such a response probably
may be more sensible to treat prevention and
reflects a common dilemma faced by many
mitigation of risk, as well as the ensuring of
buyers: the need to choose between price and
health and safety, as a business-critical function
quality. Making such choices may have been
like IT or sales, to which firms must dedicate the
made more difficult by shrinking budgets. Buyers
necessary resources. It is also clear that firms
are therefore often under pressure to find the
must choose wisely when selecting security
most economic solutions. An additional factor
adding to this dilemma is that many companies
Less clear, however, is the nature of the solutions consider security to be a necessary evil – they
themselves, as some companies require more really have no choice but to buy it (Kovacich and
manpower as part of their security solutions;
Halibozek, 2003).
some find a mix of manpower and technology-
based solutions to be a better fit for their needs; To meet buyers’ unwillingness and the limited
and others consider sophisticated technological budgets available to spend on security, many
security solutions to be the right answer to the vendors have sought to compete on price, and
problems they face. this, in turn, has further driven many buyers to
focus on price as their main purchase-decision
To better understand the views of both buyers
criterion (Gill and Howell, 2014). While in
and sellers, the British Security Industry
the short term some security suppliers may
Association (BSIA) conducted a security
be able to capture new business deals, this
procurement survey for vendors (ranging
is unlikely to be beneficial in the long term,
from video surveillance and security guarding
because competing merely on price has already
to specialist services) and a security buyer’s
significantly eroded profitability – so much so
survey for end users (the respondents to
for some vendors that their profit margin has
which consisted of chief executives and
already dropped to a meagre half a per cent2.
security directors/managers from sectors
including retail; education; government and Indeed, the long-term negative impact is not
local authority; police; transport and logistics; only restricted to diminishing profitability.
banking and finance; and construction and Many sellers have often been able to offer
facilities management). The objectives of their customers low-priced solutions because
these two surveys was to develop an in-depth they are of insufficient quality. When incidents

2. Thanks to James Kelly, Chief Executive of BSIA for this piece of information.

happen, inadequate or insufficiently rigorous needs, in order to provide suitable solutions that
security measures can not only lead to business meet those needs and perform well over time.
disruptions: firms can also suffer from serious Another aim of this paper is to partially fill a
financial, legal, or other damages and penalties. gap. A recent study suggests that in order for
The costs of these damages and penalties, companies to place greater value on high-quality
together with the spending needed to restore security solutions, the security sector needs
business continuity, can far outweigh the savings to find new ways of showcasing excellence,
made from buying the cheapest possible options of highlighting security practices that lead to
in the first place. Therefore it is important outstanding performances, and of publicising
for end users to think through the relative them (Gill and Randall, 2014). Even though
advantages and disadvantages between low- this paper does not pretend to be able to fully
priced and high-quality solutions. Whether one accomplish these goals, it intends to represent a
or both of these factors matter, and by how first attempt to do so.
much, is ultimately an empirical question.
The next section describes the current trend
of commoditisation of security solutions.
1.1. Aims of the paper Against this backdrop, Section 3 examines the
importance for end users of favouring high-
This paper addresses the above empirical quality solutions over cheaper options. Sections
question by exploring the price versus quality 4 and 5, respectively, examine the implications
debate from the perspectives of both buyers and of this, along with some possible action points
sellers of security solutions. The main findings for both the end users and their suppliers.
of this paper clearly suggest that end users Section 6 offers two case studies – one of an
would find it far more beneficial to consider end user and one of a supplier – to reinforce the
and deploy high-quality security solutions. view that it is important to take into account
The findings also reveal that there are many various considerations beyond that of price.
advantages for security providers who offer This paper concludes in Section 7 and provides
high-quality solutions to their customers, instead two checklists distilled from the discussion
of merely competing with each other on the throughout this paper. Presented in Appendix 1,
basis of price. These vendors would be much these lists aim to help end users find the security
better off collaborating with their customers solutions suitable for themselves, and to assist
and developing a good understanding of buyers’ providers to better serve their customers.


Security is likely to play an increasing role can achieve with the latest technology.
in business. If the UK’s economy slips into a
However, while there is a need for firms to
recession after the Brexit referendum, it is
increase spending on security, many buyers of
highly likely that the demand for security will
security solutions are facing shrinking budgets. As
increase. Moreover, as the business landscape
a consequence, they tend to name price among
is rapidly changing, security measures are also
becoming more and more sophisticated. At the their top decision criteria, or even as their top
same time, the speed of change on the supply criterion. Responding to their budget constraints,
side has accelerated, with new technologies being many existing vendors, as well as new entrants,
introduced to the market at astonishing rates, offer their customers low-priced solutions often
often leaving many buyers not knowing what they at the expense of standards and quality.

It must be noted that such unwillingness on price. A recent survey points out that 45
to spend on high-quality solutions is also percent of respondents agreed that ‘security is
probably attributable to the fact that security predominantly a grudge’, compared with only
focuses on intangibles, and has found difficulty 20 per cent who disagreed with this view. At the
demonstrating that it brings economic impact same time, suppliers cited customers’ perception
(Cavanagh, 2004). Thea paradoxical nature of security as an unwelcome cost on the bottom
of security solutions is that their success is line as a major reason for lowering prices (Gill
measured by the absence of activities that and Howell, 2014).
would have negative impacts on the business
Furthermore, when assessing the priority of
if they occurred. If the security solution has
security as a function within a business, finance
been working well, its achievements are mostly
and procurement both receive higher rankings.
invisible, and a need for bigger budgets and more
In other words, the two key departments in
resources may seem unwarranted. By contrast,
deciding on purchases (including security
if the solution has performed poorly and there
solutions) are both accorded a higher status than
have been many incidents that cause loss to
security (Gill and Howell, 2014). It has also been
the company, a stronger case can be made for
suggested that, as security is not highly valued
spending more money to prevent further losses
by some end users, these buyers make fewer
(Challinger, 2006).
efforts to support the security suppliers, and are
Furthermore, as the success of security unwilling to buy high-quality solutions (Gill and
is measured by the absence of incidents, Randall, 2014).
companies are effectively buying on the
It is therefore perhaps not a surprise that
assumption that many more would take place if
an increasing number of sellers resort to
these measures were not deployed. Viewed from
competing on the basis of price, leading to the
this vantage point:
commoditisation of security solutions along the
“Security is largely based on way. But such commoditisation could also be the
assumptions … [It] is a profession result of various industry-wide practices. For
that is both uncodified and largely instance, some facilities-management companies
unproven. We assume that security have incorporated security solutions into other
officers provide some deterrent value. facilities-related services, such as catering,
gardening and cleaning, creating bundles that
We assume that state-of-the-art
can satisfy the buyers’ urge to keep expenditure
technologies are effective in preventing
low. At the same time, some private security
loss of assets and life. (Dalton, 2003, p. companies are encroaching into those territories
xxviii) traditionally held by facilities-management
The problem is that if decision makers in firms. To expand their businesses, these private
an organisation do not subscribe to these security companies have diversified into
assumptions, then it would be difficult to decide supplying receptionists, maintenance workers,
on the right security solutions (Challinger, 2006). and other staff in non-security roles (The
Consequently, these buyers would also be Economist, 2016).
unlikely to want to spend. The problem with such bundling is that it leads
The fact that security is not always regarded as a buyers to focus on the synergistic value that
top business priority may have also contributed can be extracted from the savings, neglecting
to the purchase of security solutions based the business-critical nature of security. In this

respect, it is important that bundled service additional manpower, money, and time needed to
providers do not undermine the value of remedy and rectify the situation – are incurred,
security solutions that serve the vital functions easily exceeding any of the savings resulting
of protecting critical assets and ensuring health from buying low-price options. Worse yet, on top
and safety. of these additional operating costs and losses,
poor preparations and ineffective handling of
As a result of the actions of both companies
incidents can lead to reputational damage and
and the industry, price has become a dominant
personal injuries, which would only accumulate
purchase criterion. This over-emphasis on price
more costs, such as those related to litigation.
can lead to costly and dangerous consequences. Indeed, even if there is no incident, cheaper
When all goes well, buyers of low-quality security purchases may have to be replaced
options could presumably make some savings sooner than expected, creating additional capital
from the purchase. However, when incidents expenditure in the near future. Only when these
occur, cheaper security options can very likely events happen will buyers see the real price
reveal their inadequacies and lack of rigour, of deploying lower-quality security solutions.
being unable to deal with incidents effectively This is the reason why buyers should seriously
and efficiently. This is when the true costs – the consider high-quality security options.


The economic appeal of low-priced security term but it may not be (it for purpose
solutions is easy to understand: they suit and will need replacing sooner which
tight budgets at a time when companies and will incur further purchasing and
organisations are going through relentless
labour costs to (it it.
cost retrenchment. Moreover, since these
low-cost options are often less customised to A major problem with buying low-price and
the needs of buyers, they demand, in turn, far therefore low-quality products is that, as the old
fewer efforts by these buyers to develop a full adage goes, 'you get what you pay for'. It is not
understanding of their real security needs. wrong to purchase these options. The key is that
Buyers also view security as a lower business buyers must be fully aware of both the upside
priority within the organisation. For many of gains and the downside losses and risk that they
these end users, buying and deploying discrete are assuming when choosing these solutions (see
security products and services, instead of box: The problem with focusing on initial outlay').
taking a holistic view of their security needs, is Given the business-critical nature of security,
also likely to be simpler to execute and manage as well as the fact that security is a matter of
over time. protecting both lives and properties, this paper
asserts that end users would find it beneficial
to seriously consider quality when purchasing
INITIAL OUTLAY security solutions. Despite the fact that higher­
Consider buying a cheap surveillance quality solutions are inevitably more expensive,
camera. It might cost less in the short end users can gain and save more in the longer

term. Low-quality security solutions can never Figure 1 summarises a comparison of
fully meet buyers’ needs – or they often fail low-cost, low-quality versus high-quality,
early. By contrast, high-quality security solutions high-cost security options.
are able to meet end users’ needs to a fuller
extent. Moreover, they frequently perform well
throughout the expected life of the solutions. 3.1. Fulfilling the required needs
Specifically, high-quality security solutions are Companies purchase and deploy security
much more capable of achieving the following: solutions to meet certain needs, which can
1. Enabling buyers to achieve what they want to range from the protection of assets to ensuring
achieve, be they prevention, risk mitigation and/ high levels of health and safety. As business and
or maintaining high level of health and safety. social landscapes change rapidly, firms can face
High quality solutions are simply much better at an increasing variety and severity of risks that
fulfilling the required security needs of the end can disrupt the continuous operations of their
user: business. It is therefore surprising that many end
2. Helping end users minimise whole life costs. users prefer to treat security as a box-ticking
The impact of using poor security solutions exercise, without paying the necessary attention
can lead to direct economic losses and indirect to identification of the risks that threaten the
drain on time and resources when situations business, and to ascertaining that they are
arise. Whole life costs also include those costs properly managed. Many end users often ignore
resulting from reputational, legal, and financial or fail to address the necessity of having a
damages as well as penalties. Even in the thorough understanding of their requirements
absence of incidents, low quality solutions would in terms of security solutions. If anything, given
likely carry extra costs. that risk management is critical to business

Figure 1

• These security solutions cost less in terms of the initial

LOW COST BUT investment

LOW QUALITY • However, very often, they are unable to properly meet the
needs of the end users or fail early
• When there is an incident, the cheaper options could show
their inadequacies and therefore result in huge potential

losses and additional costs

• These security solutions are more expensive overall and

HIGH QUALITY do not necessarily fit buyers’ budgets

BUT HIGH COST • But they can often perform well throughout the expected
life of the solutions
• More specifically, they can:
1. Fulfil to a fuller extent the required needs that the
end-users want to satisfy
2. Minimise whole life costs which include potentially
FULFILLING MINIMISING huge damage and additional costs as well as
THE REQUIRED WHOLE LIFE reputational damage as a consequence of incidents.
NEEDS COSTS Even in the absence of incidents, low quality solutions
would likely carry extra costs

continuity, end users must be clear on (and able unlikely to be fully effective. By contrast, high-
to articulate) the needs that they want to meet, quality solutions are much better at fulfilling
and must use them as the basis of their purchase company-specific needs, as these systems are
decisions. usually well designed and well thought through.
(See box: ‘Deploying high-quality security
options that fulfil the end user’s needs’). Systems
as such can thus be better utilised, allowing the
avoidance of additional expenses needed for
A company runs a round-the-clock their replacement, and forestalling potentially
warehouse where overnight it greater losses through loss of business or
replenishes lorries with goods destined inability to serve customers (Challinger, 2006).
for retail stores. In the fully automated An additional benefit of using high-quality
warehouse, drivers are all by themselves security solutions is that they may increase
once they have checked in and logged business opportunities for a company. These
the presence of the lorries. The company sorts of intangible results can be described as
could have hired two personnel to watch ‘security dividends’. The security dividends from
each lorry, and/or security guards for the deploying good security solutions for businesses
warehouse, but the costs would have include the following (Yates, 2003):
been high. In order to lower the whole- • increasing the efficiency of the business,
life costs – the long-term costs associated because good security is geared towards
not just with theft and vandalism but preventing incidents that may cause loss;
also with health and safety issues (after • increasing the attractiveness of the business to
all, the driver is the only person in the customers, as it will be viewed as more reliable
warehouse) – the company installed and resilient in the face of unforeseen events
cameras at the docking bay to monitor (particularly important if the business is in a
the presence of the lorries and start supply chain where continuity of supply is vital);
recording only when they enter. It also •demonstrating that the business is a good
used sensors to detect motion and raise corporate citizen, as it can take on more security
an alarm if the driver is not near the issues, thereby lowering the demand on police
truck or has not moved in a while. The resources;
alarm subsequently alerts the personnel
• increasing the employee-retention rate of the
at a remote station, who can mobilise the business, as most people prefer to work in a safe
local team immediately if necessary. As environment.
the company can obtain solid evidence
In addition to the aforementioned advantages,
against theft, it can prosecute any
high-quality solutions can often perform to a
perpetrators, creating in the process an
fuller effect and extent compared with lower-end
effective means of deterrence. solutions. A cheap solution that is partly unused
But establishing need is only half the equation. or cannot be fully used in fact costs more than a
The other half is to choose the solutions that can more expensive but better-designed one. Hence,
fulfil it. As security needs vary from one business buyers of security solutions should also take into
to another, low-quality, cheaper solutions are account the utilisation rate of the system, as well

as ensuring that usage can remain high (see the A LOW-QUALITY OPTION THAT
second case study in Section 6 for an in-depth UNDERPERFORMS AND ADDS MORE
illustration). COSTS
3.2. Minimising whole-life costs A company bought a video system 10 per
Very frequently, end users of security solutions, cent cheaper than the alternatives. Even
particularly when the purchase is driven by though expensive cameras were installed,
the procurement departments, are keen to the company decided, in order to lower
minimise the initial outlays. This is perhaps the initial costs, to use cheaper back-end
understandable because buyers tend to focus equipment and systems that work as a
on expenditure, and hence use it as a price
standalone unit. As a result, someone
reference (Cameron and Ariely, 2000).
from the control room has to be physically
onsite to check if the systems are working.
However, singularly focusing on the
The standalone nature of the unit creates
initial outlay can be detrimental,
extra issues as it requires a person to be
because this puts the focus on the
next to the camera to acquire any images,
initial expenses and ignores the
and the images cannot be downloaded
costs over the term of deployment.
onto the network. Thus, for a 10 per cent
The potential costs of deploying low-cost
discount, the company got a system that
and thus low-capacity security solutions can
is incapable of serving its purposes in an
be quick, instant, and sizable when incidents efficient and effective manner. In addition,
occur. These costs come in the forms of (1) it ended up wasting more time and
direct losses: financial costs associated with the resources.
incident, and (2) indirect losses: costs over and A key finding from the research for this paper
above the immediate costs resulting from the suggests that high-quality solutions can be of great
incident. They also include the costs of employee assistance in minimising whole-life costs. This
and management time needed to deal with the is because they tend to be better at preventing
aftermath, the cost of lost business, and the cost incidents, and if problems do occur, these options
of potential increases in insurance premiums, are far more capable of managing and handling the
to name a few. Furthermore, they involve situation. As a result, end users of good security are
reputational damages and litigation-related likely to face lower direct and indirect costs over
costs, and possibly penalties. the lifetime of the systems. High-quality solutions
Even in the absence of negative incidents, other can help in at least one more way. Even though
costs can arise from using low-quality security most of the value of security is invisible until an
solutions – for instance, premature replacements incident takes place, there is at least one occasion
in cases where new systems are needed sooner when the benefit of deploying good security can
than expected. Another cost that end users must be readily observable. Many insurers welcome
consider, but that is not immediately obvious, is companies that manage their risks properly.
the level of utilisation of the security solutions. Companies that are sufficiently concerned to do so
Poorly designed security systems may demand lower the risk of a payout by insurers.
extra resources, and hence additional costs, to run
(see box: ‘A low-quality option that underperforms
and adds more costs’).


The above discussion argues that buyers of “If you don’t know the essence of your
security solutions should look beyond the price operational requirements, whatever you
attraction of cheaper options in favour of high-
buy as security solutions is potentially
quality ones. In this section, this paper suggests
a waste of money as it is not going to be
various ways of helping end users shift their
focus away from price orientation to a policy of
fit for purpose. Why would you invest
thinking in terms of quality. in something that is not going to work
knowingly? Just like you would never buy
a car or lawnmower knowing they are
4.1. Understanding the requirements
not going to work for you.“
As obvious as it may seem, many end users are
One of the most prominent ideas
unable or unwilling to invest the necessary
emerging from this research is
resources to define their requirements and the
that it is paramount for buyers of security threat they want to overcome.
security solutions to know their
Perhaps a first step that companies can take
requirements well before making
to understand their requirements is to attach
purchase decisions.
higher importance to security. For many
end users, security as a business function
Interviewees repeatedly mentioned that this is is undervalued and viewed merely as an
unquestionably the most important factor for afterthought. If the security function is not
any end users when choosing security solutions. accorded a higher status and does not receive
No solutions will ever be fully effective if the the support that it needs from within the
buyers do not know the goals they want to organisation, the end user finds it difficult to raise
achieve and the problems they intend to solve. the business priority of security (Gill and Randall,
This is perhaps best summed up by Tony Porter, 2014). This, in turn, makes it difficult to develop
Surveillance Camera Commissioner of England a comprehensive view of the requirements of
and Wales:

the business. Obtaining ‘buy-ins’ from senior It is highly advisable for the end users to
management teams and the board can perhaps consult specialists (either in-house or outside),
help with this cause. For example, the head of including risk professionals and directors/
the department of corporate security (Vice managers; health and safety directors/
President of Loss Prevention) at Wal-Mart managers; and loss-prevention security experts
reports directly to the CEO. According to the and directors/managers.

“Politics being what they are, it’s too 4.2. Collaborate with security-solution
easy for decisions (about security) providers
to be misguided when you allow Another salient point emerging from the
internal politics to enter in. With loss research is that it is beneficial for end users
prevention reporting to me, that allows to work closely with vendors when making
me to set the tone, the discipline, about purchase decisions. The rationale is that many
what effective loss prevention is. “ (Lee, of these providers have extensive experience
2002, p.17) that can help end users to identify and pinpoint
their needs. In this way, the suppliers would be
In order to establish their requirements, end
more able to suggest the appropriate solutions.
users must do their homework before talking
At the same time, many end users may not have
to providers. This involves understanding the
specialised skills to detect the risk within their
business and identifying the people, property,
organisations. End users must be proactive
core business, networks, and information
in the security-solution purchase process. A
that are at risk (ASIA International, 2002)3.
recent study suggests that many buyers of
Additionally, end users should identify the
security underestimate the crucial role they
current best practices. Furthermore, they can
must play in order to achieve good security (Gill
consult the BSIA, which offers guidelines, like
and Randall, 2014).
those listed in Appendix 2.
Partnership working is perhaps particularly
At the same time, end users should, at the very
important with technology-based solutions.
least, go through some basic risk assessments,
Technologies in the security industry have been
so that they can target their activities to
evolving fast, so much so that many end users
address the greatest risks to the interests
would find the array of technological products
of the company. Indeed, end users would be
and features currently available as wide as it is
able to develop a much better understanding
puzzling. Collaborating with the providers to
of their needs, as well as the risks to which
identify the right technologies maximises the
they are knowingly or unknowingly exposed, if
possibility of extracting the greatest value from
they could go beyond the basics to conduct a
using hi-tech solutions.
more comprehensive risk assessment. Only by
identifying the risks to the business would they Nevertheless, it is necessary to note that
be able to develop proper countermeasures and technologies are not a panacea: they work best
options to mitigate them, and to prioritise the if they are used to complement manpower.
threats faced by the company. Companies trying to deploy technologies

3. ASIA refers “people” to employees, tenants, guests, vendors, visitors, and others directly or indirectly connected or involved with an enterprise. “Property”
includes tangible assets such as cash and other valuables and intangible assets such as intellectual property and causes of action. “Core business” includes the
primary business or endeavour of an enterprise, including its reputation and goodwill. “Networks” include all systems, infrastructures, and equipment associated
with data, telecommunications, and computer processing assets. “Information” includes various types of proprietary data.

may face resistance from staff who fear that THE RESULT OF HIRING
technologies are being introduced to replace INSUFFICIENTLY TRAINED GUARDS
them. In this case, the end users must explain
A UK company has been organising
that the technologies are there to help them
a Christmas outing involving a group
do their jobs better and smarter. Selecting
security-solution providers who can train staff
of people with physical and mental
on an ongoing basis, and offering the necessary disabilities going shopping in London
after-sale support, could help in such cases. and having dinner at a pub. On one
Moreover, end users must understand that
occasion, one of the patients had an
any solutions are only truly effective when altercation with a member of the public.
accompanied by well-thought-out processes. The two guards accompanying the
Again, the key to identifying good processes patients were not sufficiently trained
that can maximise the benefits from the to handle such a situation, which
deployed technologies and manpower-security subsequently escalated into a huge
solutions lies in the buyer’s willingness to work brawl, with the guards also throwing
with experienced specialist providers.
punches. Not only did this lead to
reputational damage for the sponsor,
4.3. See guards as an asset the company also ended up having to
Past studies have suggested that as contract settle a huge bill to compensate the
guards and related services are relatively pub owner for damages, as well as the
affordable to hire, buyers of guarding services people in the pub for their injuries.
feel that they can get a lot of value for their
money, gradually seeing quantity as equivalent The fact that many companies see manned
to quality (van Steden and de Waard, 2013). As guards as having no great merit is perhaps
a consequence, they have primarily based their best reflected by the current debate on the
purchase decisions on price (van Steden and National Living Wage. On the demand side,
Sarre, 2010; van Steden and de Waard, 2013). buyers are reluctant to pay more money and
This view is perhaps wrongly supported by the expect suppliers to absorb the additional
fact that many businesses believe that anyone costs. On the supply side, many vendors are
can ‘do’ security, and that it needs no particular unwilling to take up these costs as they would
training or aptitude (Challinger, 2006). To only erode still further their already low profit
match such end users’ expectations, many margin. A possible ultimate outcome of this
vendors choose to provide badly trained or argument is that many security guards remain
even untrained guards. The danger with using lowly paid, which could further commoditise the
such personnel is that when incidents happen, manpower side of the security industry.
they may be unable or ill-equipped to control This would also lead to high staff turnover
the situation (see box: ‘The result of hiring and low morale. Previous research has shown
insufficiently trained guards’). It is also possible poor pay to be the main reason why people
that they may be incapable of communicating leave contract security work (Gill and Howell,
and providing evidence to the police. 2014). Yet the reality is that guards have to

deal with issues that others would be unwilling 4.5. Look at security as ‘security plus’
or uncomfortable to. For instance, it has been
reported that 40 per cent of security staff at A possible way of raising the
a shopping and leisure complex in the UK had status of security as a business
experienced assaults resulting in injuries such function is to engage other
as slight bruising or bleeding, along with high functions by figuring out how
levels of verbal abuse and threats of violence security can turn itself from a
(Button, 2003). protector of crucial assets into a
Therefore, it is recommended that end users business enabler.
see guards as an asset, rather than just as cheap
hires. Perhaps even better is for end users to Compared with their low-quality counterparts,
pay the hired guards more, and to urge the high-quality solutions are often capable of
suppliers to make them more qualified, give collecting a huge amount of data that can be
them better training, and make them more useful in improving other areas of business
skilful and capable of handling incidents. This within an organisation. An expert contacted
should also, in turn, improve morale and the in the course of the current research remarks
status of guarding as a profession. In this way, that it has been proven that incident reporting,
there could be a win-win-win situation for management information, and analytics provide
vendors, end users, and the guards themselves. essential data and information that can enhance
the running of the business – an argument that
can support the opening up of wider budgets for
4.4. Focus on the benefits and costs of total security provision. For instance, a well-thought-
ownership through holistic security solution could benefit
End users must resist the temptation of marketing, product placement, and advertising,
focusing on the cost outlay. High-quality which in turn supports the argument for more
solutions over a contracted or defined period funding for security. Therefore, getting the rest
can often be more cost-effective than lower- of the business on board may help companies to
quality options, the appeal of which is the pay more attention to quality. As Mick Philips,
lower upfront price. The difference often lies Head of Loss Prevention at TJ Morris/Home
in the fact that the latter can result in much Bargains, puts it:
higher whole-life costs, as discussed above. End
“Integration is an absolute must in
users therefore should pay more attention to
today’s day and age. The advantages
the performance and utilisation rate beyond
the initial expenditure. End users who are of security solutions are not just
concerned about large upfront investment limited to security and safety, and
can perhaps seek other financing alternatives. other parts of business must realise
For example, the industry has been seeing an the benefits of a particular solution in
increasing number of financing specialists who their respective verticals. This makes
offer leasing possibilities to end users, enabling it easy to create buy-in for a high-
them to buy high-quality security solutions by
quality solution.”
spreading the costs over a period of time.


Competing on the basis of price is not only on delivering high-quality solutions. Realising
harmful to the industry’s profitability as a whole; this, some successful companies have already
it also undermines the value and importance stepped away from participating in price-based
of security. Unlike many facilities-management tenders. Instead of competing on price, they
services, protection of critical assets is not choose to work with the customers to find the
just a ‘nice-to-have’. It is therefore paramount best solutions. This section briefly looks at
for the industry to make it clear that quality various actions that suppliers can take to change
is key. Companies wanting to succeed in this prevailing practice.
evermore-competitive industry must focus

5.1. Work with the end users able to explain the difference between their
products and cheap imitations by highlighting
At the same time as many security-solution
the advantages of their own products. One
providers see their profit margin getting
possibility is to emphasise that their products
razor-thin, others are enjoying more success.
have met various suites of high standards, so
Findings from the current research have shown
much so that the images produced by these
that making efforts and going the extra mile
systems have a higher probability of being
to understand their clients’ needs are a key
admitted as good enough to be used in court as
factor for a business to thrive in the security
evidence. In short, it is necessary for suppliers to
industry. Indeed, since many end users are
bridge the technology language and knowledge
unable to describe their required needs in detail
gaps between them and the buyers (see box:
themselves, it is the duty of security-solution
‘Countering a false claim with a high-quality
providers to work with them to crystallise their
security solution’.)
needs. The fact that buyers do not know what
they want, and the solution vendors have failed COUNTERING A FALSE CLAIM
to help them, often leads to a lose-lose situation. WITH A HIGH-QUALITY SECURITY
A recent survey reveals that while suppliers tend
to view the ability to innovate as more important,
An elderly woman decided to sue a
users often attach more value to collaboration
with suppliers (Gill and Randall, 2014). This,
retailer, having tripped and fallen
according to the survey, suggests that security in one of its stores. She had to have
vendors are trying to do too much. They may an operation and was subsequently
find it far more beneficial to focus on partnership hospitalised. Normally, the retailer
working. would have to foot the huge bill, but
the retailer had a high-quality CCTV
5.2. Bridge the technology language and camera system installed, and when
knowledge gaps they examined the camera feed, they
found that it had not been a case of
Collaborating with the end users to establish
their needs and requirements is likely to
slip and fall. Instead, someone had
be essential, as they are demanding more actually pushed the woman over. The
technology at a time when technologies are captured image enabled the company
changing fast. In these circumstances, security- to go to court and explain how the event
solution providers must ascertain that their had actually unfolded. Eventually, the
employees have a deep understanding of the retailer did cover part of the claimant’s
new products coming into the market. The
expenses as a gesture of goodwill, but
suppliers must also ensure that sales staff are
in the process it saved a lot of money,
able to clearly and comprehensively convey to
the buyers the benefits and challenges of these
compared with the original claim.

High-end CCTV camera system manufacturers,

5.3. Think people, technology, and process
for instance, can make sure that they are As business operations become more and more

complex, many security needs have extended
airport had employees whose sole job
beyond what discrete technologies and
was to ensure that nobody from arrivals
manpower security products and services can
address. could get into the baggage-claim area. Is
there a technological solution?
Indeed, technologies and manpower by
themselves are necessary but often insufficient
Relying on manpower to escort people
conditions for high-quality solutions. A crucial off planes takes too much time, not
component is process. Effective solutions that to mention that it could potentially
help end users fulfil their required needs and get cause unnecessary chaos or disruption.
the most out of their investments can only be Tackling this question involves two
produced when people, technology and process actions: detection and containment.
are properly joined up. For detection, the security-solution
In addition to using processes to bring out the provider installed CCTV heading
full potential that technology and manpower towards the airside either intentionally
can offer, having the right processes in place
or unintentionally. As for containment,
may even help to overcome budget constraints.
the provider made sure that doors
As Cedrick Moriggi, Chief Advisor to Group
Security at Rio Tinto, puts it:
would automatically shut to confine any
trespasser, and an alarm in the control
Do you have a budget to cover every
room would go off.
contingency? Obviously not. So what do you do
in this case? Have processes act like defenders
But technologies by themselves
to assist a security solution called a goalkeeper. are insufficient. They are effective
Only by ensuring well-designed processes to only when matched with the right
complement the security solutions will the personnel and a set of well-thought-out
solutions work well. procedures that can handle incidents
See box: ‘People, technology, and processes effectively and quickly. In this particular
working together effectively’. situation, a process is designed around
closed doors and giving the control
PEOPLE, TECHNOLOGY, AND centre the tools to assess and deal with
PROCESSES WORKING TOGETHER the situation without necessarily having
EFFECTIVELY to deploy personnel, thus allowing
An airport approached a leading the airport to restore the rapid flow of
security firm with a simple question: the passengers and to minimise disruption.


To further support the argument for choosing solutions. Their security mantra is
high-quality security solutions, this section
Don’t buy cheap, because cheap will always
offers two vignettes to illustrate how an end user
come back and bite you; but don’t buy expensive
chooses its security solution, and the actions a
for the sake of it, because you have to be able to
security solution provider took to help buyers
utilise what the equipment is able to give you,
find the suitable solutions.
and not just a small percentage of it.

The key concern of the security-procurement

6.1. End user’s perspective: TJ Morris team at TJ Morris is to ensure that it buys a

TJ Morris Ltd, trading as Home Bargains, is one solution that meets its operational requirements,

of the UK’s fastest-growing discount retailers. and that the solution can be used to its full

The company has more than 320 stores capacity so as to achieve the maximum payback.

throughout the UK, and plans to expand to over Admittedly, it is necessary to keep in mind the
800 within the next 5 years. Home Bargains’ return on investment. Yet the traditional sense
slogan is ‘Top Brands, Bottom Prices’, but they do of return is difficult in the context of security and
not go by their slogan when procuring security health and safety. Hence, on the issue of security,

the company looks at losses over different periods this helps to maximise the benefits as well as the
of time, ranging from six months to three years. utilisation rate of the solution. TJ Morris also tries
As for health and safety, TJ Morris bases its to establish a clear dialogue with the security-
assessment on the number of incidents that have solution providers in order to fully understand the
taken place in the past, and the resulting number capabilities of the solution being offered, as well
of claims and additional costs it has had to pay out. as the delivery timeline.
These exercises give the company a good view of
As a result of all of these steps taken in its
its operational requirements, and of the possible
security-procurement process, TJ Morris has
whole-life costs it will face when choosing the
been able to identify the security needs of the
appropriate security solution. At TJ Morris, the
business, acquire the right solution, and maximise
departments of IT, procurement, security, and
its utility, while at the same time minimising the
new store development are all actively involved in
the procurement process. They all come together whole-life costs.
to understand and define the needs of the
security solution, as well as jointly exploring the
6.2. Security-solutions provider’s perspective:
benefits they can draw from it.
Most retailers opt for three types of security
Established in the UK in 2003, SoloProtect
measure in the environment that TJ Morris
(formerly Connexion2) aims to deliver
operates: electronic article surveillance (EAS),
outstanding lone-worker solutions to all
man-guarding, and manned CCTV camera
customers. Robust and BS8484-approved, the
system surveillance. TJ Morris has opted only
company’s innovative lone- worker solutions
for manned CCTV camera surveillance at its
find new ways to protect workers, as well as
stores. The reason: the guards themselves can
to open up new types of worker to provide the
sometimes be part of the problem – it is easier for
necessary protection. Becoming a leader in
a guard than it is for a customer to commit a theft.
By contrast, EAS does not necessarily fit well the lone-worker security market, SoloProtect
with the company’s operational requirements. was in 2013 acquired by Kings III Emergency
By implementing high-quality CCTV camera Communications, a US company.
surveillance equipment and using it to full One of the key factors leading to the company’s
capacity, TJ Morris is able to meet all of its success has been their answering of a very
operational needs. At the same time, the company important question: how to get the security
finds it easier to make fuller use of a single industry to understand that price is not
security solution. everything in the security- solution procurement
TJ Morris ensures that various departments process. It has realised that positive impacts
within the business understand the importance of high-quality security and health and safety
and benefits of deploying a high-quality security solutions are only visible – and appreciated –
solution. In the retail sector especially, security- when it is too late. Until there is an incident,
solution equipment can be used to analyse buyers tend to view such solutions as costs
shopping patterns and understand queue busting, that bring very little benefit. The result is that
as well as employee work patterns. When there is these buyers tend to keep investments in these
buy-in from the different departments, it makes solutions as low as possible. This is especially the
more sense to procure a good-quality solution, as case after the financial crisis of 2008.

To overcome this problem, when approaching users understand what the costs would be if they
a client, SoloProtect first tries to figure out were found negligent in an incident involving
where the decision-making power lies. Typically, the lone worker. To do so, it collaborates
the people who understand – or really need to with its clients in the earlier stages of their
understand – the operational requirements of procurement cycle, helping them understand
their business are the security managers, loss- and identify the security needs of their business.
prevention managers, risk managers, or health It takes a consultative approach that makes
and safety managers. While in some companies sure that multiple stakeholders in the process
these are the final decision makers, in many others – the users, the management team, the union
it is the procurement team that decides on the representatives, the department heads, the
purchase. In the latter case, more often than not procurement teams and security teams, and
the team is more concerned with the initial cost the health and safety teams – are all involved in
outlay, neglecting the total cost of ownership of the discussion. Even though this is not always
the solution. possible, SoloProtect always tries to engage as
To help their clients understand the importance many of them as it can.
of quality, one method that SoloProtect adopts is The company strongly believes that effective
to carefully explain the importance of considering and innovative solutions are about integrating
the utility of a system and how that links to people, processes, and technology. In this
the total cost of ownership. As an illustration, respect, SoloProtect helps clients to set up
let us say that the company sells a solution at processes to increase the effectiveness of their
£Y. Unsurprisingly, there are many low-cost security solutions. Additionally, it provides them
alternatives in the market, usually selling at a with monthly reporting on critical user data,
discount of 25 to 30 per cent at, say, £0.75Y per which, in turn, ensures maximum utilisation of
system per month. However, at this price, what the solutions sold.
end users are getting is low-quality systems with
Just as important to SoloProtect is to pay
minimal after-service support. These cheaper
attention to aftersales services. According
and less effective products typically have a low
to Craig Swallow, Managing Director of
usage level, which can be as little as 20 per cent.
SoloProtect UK, the security industry as a
By contrast, SoloProtect guarantees a usage rate
whole should focus more on such services.
of 75 per cent, as it provides clients with critical
Security-solution providers need to constantly
employee-engagement data and training sessions
maintain contact with the employees, the
for the employees. So, viewed from the value-
security managers, and the health and safety
for-money perspective, the low-cost solution
managers, as well as the procurement teams,
is effectively costing the end user 3.75 times
throughout the duration of the contract. This
the price (0.75Y ÷ 20%) per system per month.
benefits both the end users and the provider.
By contrast, with a much higher rate of usage,
For the end users, they get access to data which
SoloProtect’s high-quality solution in effect costs
can subsequently be used to increase the utility
only 1.33 times (Y ÷ 75%) per system per month.
of the solution. On the other hand, the provider
In this way, the company can guide its clients to
gains from the ability to use the data to improve
look at the total ownership costs, rather than
the quality of the product/service, thereby
merely the initial outlay.
establishing a long-lasting relationship with the
In addition, SoloProtect ensures that the end client.


This paper argues that when it comes to solutions to them. Moreover, it would be far
selecting security solutions, it is much more more beneficial for the end users to view
sensible for buyers to focus on quality, rather security not just as a protector of assets but as a
than just seeking a low price. End users’ business enabler for the entire organisation.
tendency to buy security solutions based on
For the vendors, on the other hand, competing
price is partly attributable to budget constraints.
on price would continue to reduce profitability.
At the same time, many of them do not place as
It would also diminish the significance and value
much value on security as a business function as
of security, further substantiating the already
they would on other factors. They see spending
low value of security as perceived by buyers.
on security solutions to be an additional cost
This should not be the case at all. A better way
which adds very little value to the business. The
is to collaborate with end users, assisting them
problem with low-priced solutions, however, is
in working out their own needs, as well as the
that they often fail to deliver the expected and
risks and problems that they face. This could
desired results, and hence are not able to solve
involve dismantling the ‘language barrier’ when
the security problems that buyers face, and to
communicating to end users the benefits that
fulfil their needs. In addition, cheap solutions
the latest security technology can offer. Security-
are likely to have higher whole-life costs, be they
the consequence of underutilisation or sheer solution suppliers can also focus on developing
incompetence in dealing with incidents that can the right processes to complement both
lead to legal, financial, and reputational damages. technologies and manpower, in order to derive
Going low cost at all cost is thus rarely a good the most suitable solutions for their customers.
idea. Managing security issues is business- Vendors would be much better off by investing
critical and neither just a nice add-on service nor time, effort, and energy to find new ideas for
a box-ticking exercise. their clients, instead of cutting corners to come
up with more attractive prices.
Just selecting high-quality, more expensive
solutions, however, is not the answer either. This Given the current economic, social, and political
paper asserts that it matters far more if solutions climate, the security business is likely to continue
can capably overcome the security-related to boom in the near future. Security suppliers
challenges that companies face. To pick the could better thrive by focusing on what they
suitable solutions, it is paramount for end users can really do for their customers, rather than
to figure out as much as possible the purposes working out how low they can set their prices.
that they seek to serve. Failure to do so only Buyers would see that they are able to achieve
leads to inappropriate investments. End users more with good security. Everyone would be
will also find that working closely with vendors better off if the security business on the whole
helps both parties a great deal in understanding saw the real prices of security solutions, and not
the problems to be solved, as well as in creating just the cost price.


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APPENDIX 1 to complement and processes help in increasing the
effectiveness of the solutions.
Below is a ‘to do’ list that aims to help both end
users and vendors make security-solution purchase • Involve different departments, including IT,
decisions. The list does not intend to be exhaustive procurement, and security, in setting out operational
but highlights some of the most important requirements and identifying needs.
considerations. • Ask about financing options when looking at
buying security systems. Some vendors and leasing
companies are willing to help arrange them.
Checklist for end users
• Involve senior management teams to raise
• Resist the temptation to look only at the savings
security as a business priority.
from bundles: security is business- critical and
should be treated separately. • Look at the ‘plus’ in ‘security plus’: look for security
solutions that can provide data that can be used
• Always start by clearly defining the operational
and benefits that can be gained for other business
requirements of the security solution and your
functions within your organisation.
company’s needs.
• Refrain from regarding the assessment of security
requirements as a box-ticking exercise. Checklist for security-solution providers
• Identify all the standards and best practice. BSIA • Hold face-to-face meetings to achieve a better
has prepared documents with the best codes of understanding of users’ needs.
practice. A detailed but non-exhaustive list is given • Develop the ability to communicate clearly to
here: customers, especially with regard to technology-
SIA Form 109: Code of Practice for the
B related products.
Planning, Design, Installation and Operation • Take a step back and look at the customer’s needs,
of CCTV Systems and not just what the customer wants in terms of
BSIA Form 120: Maintenance of CCTV price.
Surveillance Systems: Code of Practice • Spend the necessary time with the customer to
BSIA Form 203: Integrated Security define in detail what they really need.
Management Systems Guide • Engage with the customers with aftersales
BSIA Form 231: Code of Practice for Security services and support.
Searches • Stress that security solutions are about risk
o BSIA Form 235: A Guide for Installation of CCTV mitigations: security is not just a ‘nice-to- have’.
Systems Using IP Technology • Update your staff on a continuous basis to make
• Consult experts such as security, health and safety, sure that they can explain to clients what security
and risk-management professionals. technologies can help to achieve.

• Work with security-solution providers to find out • Explain to customers that it is important to
how to best meet your needs. consider the level of utilisation of investment.

• Consider undertaking comprehensive risk • Guide end users to appreciate the value of
assessments. security.

• Ask the expert vendors for innovative solutions • Ensure your team are aware of and operating to
and understand what technologies can and cannot best practice models for your industry. The BSIAs
do for you. specialist sections provide a platform for sharing and
developing best practice.
• Invest in manpower and processes: technologies
can only do so much, and therefore they are there Limit your technology portfolio such that you can be
experts in the equipment that you deploy.

APPENDIX 2 7. Integrated security management systems guide

1. Why should you choose a BSIA member

company? search-results/203-integrated-security-
search-results/why-you-should-choose-a-bsia- 8. Lone workers: An employer’s guide
2. Why should you choose a BSIA member? search-results/288-lone-workers-an-employers-
search-results/266-choose-a-bsia-member.aspx 9. Guide for procuring security-alarm system
3. Guidance for customers about grading and
other important matters
search-results/217-bs-en-62676-series-guidance- 10. 21CN and alarms: basic advice to end users
important-matters.aspx search-results/275-21cn-and-alarms-basic-advice-
4. How to deal with WEEE: An installer’s guide to-end users.aspx 11. 21CN next generation networks BSIA risk

search-results/221-how-to-deal-with-weee-an- assessment
5. A guide for installation of CCTV systems using search-results/276-21cn-next-generation-networks-
IP technology bsia-risk-assessment.aspx 12. Guidelines for intruder-alarm systems

search-results/235-a-guide-for-installation-of- incorporating split systems
6. Code of practice for the planning, design, search-results/327-guidelines-for-intruder-alarm-
installation, and operation of CCTV systems systems-incorporating-split-systems.aspx 13. Intruder alarm user handbook & logbook

planning-design-installation-and-operation-of- search-results/282-intruder-alarm-user-handbook-
cctv-systems.aspx logbook-min-qty-50.aspx


Adam Riccoboni | Managing Director | Critical Future

email: |