In Security, Tech is a Tool, Not a Replacement

When you think of security guards, you probably think of those guys in uniform who walk the shopping mall and get mocked by teens at the food court, or that old guy at the entrance to an apartment building. 

Paul Blart didn’t help the image.

Security Services has a much farther reach, of course.  I have over a decade of experience at heavy equipment commercial and industrial sites.  The skills required for these areas delve into the area of advanced security training, health and safety, etc. 

In many cases, it is truly a role for the specifically skilled.

Over the past few years, several businesses have made the decision to upgrade their security by means of introducing the best technological products available, such as electronic card access systems and high-def surveillance cameras, which are commendable. 

The new tech certainly plays a positive role in the overall security operations of a business, and not only helps to keep the site secure, but assists in incidents such as emergency site evacuations.  And the fact it often satisfies insurance requirements is a plus.

But what many companies are learning the hard way (which means in the area of finances), is that the newest, top-of-the-line technological security systems are still at their most effective when they are used in conjunction with an actual person.

Even the best surveillance camera cannot do what a physical, on-site guard can.  From alarm response and other times when the unexpected occurs, to even the simplest yet often overlooked role of public relations (often the Security guard will establish the first impression someone gets about a business), a trained security guard brings qualities to the job a camera affixed to a post cannot.

Then there’s this. I have personally spoken with executives at four mid to large size industrial firms in the local area which switched in the past two years from physical on-site security staff to expensive, high-end electronic security systems. Three of the four firms have seen a significant increase in total loss (lost/stolen products, equipment, etc.) since removing guards from the site.

That's lost money.

Two of the execs revealed their companies are planning to reverse direction in the next fiscal year and contract a security firm, or go ‘in-house’ by obtaining a license from the provincial government and hiring their own security.  They have come to the conclusion that the benefits - and cost - of having an actual, living security professional far outweigh relying solely on electronic equipment. 

They want to have a physical deterrent on-site.  They want a person on the other end of the phone.

While there is no such thing as 100% effectiveness either way, businesses are coming to the realization that to have a truly effective security operation, you need to have technology as a compliment to a Security professional, not as a replacement.

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