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The Case for Outsourcing Security
by John Roddy, CEO of The Shield Group,
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This blog looks at the emerging challenges and benefits that are now facing those outsourcing in the security sector

The security sector as a whole has evolved quite dramatically over the last few years. The proliferation of new technologies and increasingly sophisticated crime has meant security providers have had to adapt quickly in order to keep up pace with new and emerging threats. The industry has transformed into a vast, complex arena that many organisations are finding increasingly difficult to keep ahead of, and has forced some to consider the option of outsourcing security management to specialists for the first time.

All of this, combined with the world’s increasingly complex risk profile and accelerating demand from large public and private entities, has resulted in strong industry growth over the last 10 years. Even during the recent recession demand did not falter as businesses knew they had to manage their security needs. However, there are still unique challenges involved in the outsourcing of security management, especially with the stakes being so high. In handing over responsibility for their most vulnerable assets, companies will be worried about issues such as accountability, trust and effectiveness. Additionally, businesses and individuals still hope to minimise costs wherever possible, despite an improving global economy.

Organisations should recognise that the benefits to outsourcing their security services are equally pronounced. Outsourcing is cost-effective as it lays the groundwork for a more efficient and specialised security service which is tailored to specific needs. As an example, a successful security monitoring system would require round-the-clock maintenance on a real-time basis in order to respond to incidents as they occur. To do so, an organisation would need to build detection and response services for each of their networks, as well as hire 24/7 security staff. On the other hand, a private security provider would more easily be able to hire and train personnel and build an infrastructure to support them, spreading around the costs of maintaining such a system across all customers. The provider would also be able to draw from a bigger pool of experience, incorporating lessons learned from each customer and spreading that knowledge across its entire service user base. 

Furthermore, outsourcing is more than just a delivery of services. It is a partnership which can enhance a business’s services and professionalism by allowing it to grow from cross-cultural exchanges, new resources and specialised knowledge. Internal staff can benefit from these collaborative efforts as the exposure to a different sector can help them gain and develop a new set of skills. For young people aspiring for a career in security, outsourcing is presenting an even greater number of opportunities to enter the industry with strong prospects for advancement and promotion. Outsourcing grants organisations more flexibility, as they can respond to operations that have seasonal or cyclical demands by bringing in additional resources when they are needed and releasing them when they are no longer required. Outsourcers are able to work from a variety of sites if required and have the mobility and resources to move around the country more readily if need be, bringing in the right skills for the right job.

As this has been increasingly recognised, it has helped transform the private security industry into a rapidly growing market. In the UK alone, the market for outsourced security guard services is now worth about £5billion. As an example, The Shield Group, as a company which relies on outsourced contracts, has seen phenomenal growth in the last few years, becoming very recently the ninth largest business security firm in the UK, winning a number of high-profile clients including the Imperial War Museum. With all of the changes taking place across the sector, outsourcing is clearly the best route to get optimum security.

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