What is resilient security company?
Resilience is a hot topic. In fact, a 2002 Harvard Business Review article by Diane Coutu shows that it’s been a talking point for at least two decades. It’s said that the need for businesses to be resilient is key in a time of change and uncertainty, but what exactly does this mean?
Some will point to adaptability in the face of unforeseen change, while others understand it as an ability to cope with or recover from stress. Whichever way it’s defined, resilience will always result in a confrontation with things going awry. Coutu even touches on this in her article by pointing out that resilience is, in one sense, a ‘staunch acceptance of reality’.
It’s this understanding that takes on extra significance within security. While it’s true that all successful organisations will have one eye on the horizon to remain competitive, few will act immediately on their foresight. Security service is different. It has to assume that tomorrow’s risk is today’s problem if it’s to keep people and assets safe from harm.
With that in mind, what does it mean to be a resilient security company in today’s market?
If we’re to accept that security is evolving quickly, then the resilient company is one that fully embraces disruption. Readiness to work with the latest innovations gives companies their best shot of growth even as the market changes and new threats emerge. Manned guarding, for example, is facing a period of upheaval, as the corporate world begins to take the possibility of cyber threats spilling into physical spaces more seriously. This ‘smarter’ reality is not just forcing physical security businesses to reconsider how they deliver technology solutions for clients but is also changing the way manned guarding is performed.
Intelligence is no longer being collected by patrolling officers but is instead being acted upon as it’s received. Those that resist this shift in approach will soon find themselves redundant, particularly in a world that sees clients prioritising technology as the failsafe option.
In 2019, businesses need to develop a clear strategy as well as an openness to technology. This may seem ironic given that resilience can only be tested when a strategy is called into question, but the importance of a plan that targets growth cannot be overstated in an industry that contends with very thin margins. Rarely, if ever, will a plan unfold as intended but those with a clearer idea of who they are, where they are heading and how they’ll get there will fare better in leaner times. The course may change but the targets will not.
Despite technology’s lure, security will remain a people-centric industry. In 2018, the private security sector turned over £11.9 billion, with that figure expected to rise over the next year. If the industry is to continue prospering in this way it will need more people. Strong working cultures are the best way to achieve this. Countless studies show that good ‘organisational health’ not only helps to attract and retain talent but also creates brand ambassadors. These people, who have a vested interest in the success of their organisation, will one day assume the most senior industry positions and help to push forward what’s expected from a security partner. Strong working cultures are known to help develop a more diverse workforce which, as research has shown, promotes original thinking and, as a result, increased revenue. Diversity of thought, then, can be considered another aspect of what it means to be a resilient security company.
Developing a strong working culture will also improve business practices. With firmer stakeholder buy-in, organisations can begin to build better internal processes that result in higher standards. An engaged member of staff will be more likely to follow regulatory procedure over an employee who has little time for their employer, for example. The same applies for learning and development. New members of staff will receive a higher standard of mentoring from colleagues that have greater emotional investment in the business. These ‘trainees’ will then pass on a greater standard of knowledge, as they rise through the ranks of an organisation.
Culture may seem like a nebulous concept, but the evidence suggests it offers a significant competitive advantage. It would be foolish for leaders to overlook this in such socially and politically fraught times.
This list is not exhaustive. Resilience will always mean different things to different people. What this should demonstrate, however, is that resilient businesses are found in proactive leadership rather than simply a bullish attitude in the face of adversity.
Darren Read, Managing Director, Amulet
See also our Risk Management archive category for further articles on resilience, in particular:
Increasing the resilience of society by Dr. Jonathan Newman, Department of Global Studies, Sussex University
The quality of resilience planning for crises