What are the characteristics of an excellent corporate security department?
The latest findings from the Security Research Initiative (SRI) revealed that the top three most valued characteristics of a corporate security department are: understanding threats, having an effective security strategy and having objectives aligned with that of the company.
489 corporate security personnel and security suppliers from around the world were asked to rate various characteristics of outstanding performance. While overall they shared similar views, there were some striking differences.
Although both groups agreed that security leaders need good business skills, corporate security representatives valued business skills just as highly as security expertise. While security suppliers saw business skills as much less important.
Clients and suppliers both favoured the ‘carrot’ rather than the ‘stick’ approach to motivating performance. It was thought that excellent companies are those that focus on rewarding good performance. Corporate security departments were seen as performing well compared to other corporate functions, however both clients and suppliers surveyed indicated that most corporate security departments do not achieve excellence. Furthermore, security departments are often less effective at demonstrating how they add value compared to other business functions.
Only one in three corporate security professionals surveyed recognised paying the going rate for security as a condition of achieving excellence. This suggests that clients are not fully aware of the price pressure security suppliers are under.
There is evidence from these findings that security undersells itself; suppliers to their clients and corporate security departments to the wider business. Security is moving from being seen as a protector of assets to a facilitator of good business, and an essential one at that. But, it is moving slowly and the sector needs to change from keeping its potential secret.
The characteristics of outstanding performance need articulating; the good thing though is that, by all accounts, those working in different aspects of security are largely in agreement about what it involves and now the strategy must be to achieve it.
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