The physical security industry generally sticks to talking mostly about security-specific software, but there are tons of great tech tools out there created to help optimize your business that aren’t just about security.
This blog open-ups the security technology conversation, and takes a look at different types of business resources that can help to streamline your security guard company and maximize clear communication among your team members.
Keep in mind that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different tech tools that an organization can implement. The resources reviewed here are some of the most basic types of software that are used across most, if not all, business types.
They allow businesses, including contract security operations, to maximize collaboration and data management, while minimizing human error.
Here are the 4 different types of tools that will be covered:
- Collaboration Platforms
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
- Project Management Systems
- Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) Systems
Before we dive into what those systems are and how they can benefit you, it’s important to talk about the decision-making process and implementing new technology systems into your private security operation.
Decision Making & Implementation
Depending on the type of tools that you are looking for, this process most often starts out by gathering a small team of stakeholders. Stakeholders are internal individuals who are invested in helping solve a shared problem/challenge. These individuals often come from different teams to provide a more well-rounded perspective.
You may also want to include a budgetary team member, so that you can ensure you aren’t cutting too much into your margins. New tools and resources can be pricey, and different departments/teams aren’t always aware of the organization’s overall budget. It is important to keep in mind how additional spending may affect the larger company.
Once a team of stakeholders is determined, brainstorming sessions can be really useful to start asking important questions. Here are some examples:
- What exact problem are you trying to solve?
- Are there already resources that aren’t being fully utilized that could solve the problem?
- Ideally, what does a solution to your problem look like? What functionalities are requirements, and which are nice-to-haves?
- How much budget can you allocate towards this?
- How quickly do you need to get this solution into place?
After the brainstorming session, you can now start to look at potential software solutions that will fit your specific needs.
Here are a few additional rules of thumb to follow once you start to look at solutions:
- Most software solution pricing is not one size fits all. The number or users, organization size, and the duration of the contract all affect the price. Determine who needs access to the product and how long you are willing to commit to a contract to determine the most accurate and cost-effective price.
- Make sure you look at solutions that can scale with your security operation. Implementing something that ultimately needs to be replaced will cost you more time and money in the long run.
- Demo multiple products. Evaluate them based on your needs/wants, and the product’s user-friendliness, trainability, and customer support.
- When you have decided on a solution, make sure you have a plan of action in place that lays out who is in charge of implementation, how it needs to be set-up, how to roll-it out, and a training guide with SoPs.
Through this outlined process, stakeholders can ensure that they have chosen the best product to fit the needs of your security company, maintain the budget, and minimize team push-back through implementation.
Collaboration platforms are most frequently used as centralized systems of organization in a company. Each platform has slightly different functionality, and many platforms are becoming a 1-stop solution, with more and more functionality being added each year.
These types of platforms typically include:
- Internal email
- File/document management
- Shareable calendars
- Internal chat functions
- Document tools (ie - Excel, Word Doc, PowerPoint, Notes)
- Cloud storage
- Cloud security
With collaboration platforms, it allows for management to delegate the appropriate access level to each employee, as well as, maintain documents once an employee has left. You won’t have to worry about that important contract or sensitive document being left on an ex-employees desktop that you no longer have the password for.
Here are a few collaboration platforms to check out if you don’t already have one in place:
As mentioned earlier in this section, all collaboration platforms have different functionality, some more robust than others. However, if you find a platform you really like that doesn’t have everything you need, see if you can find a complimentary platform that will integrate with the one you already like!
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
A CRM system is a central place for all of your client and prospect information. It holds all of their company and contact information, as well as, all contact that your security operation has made with the company in the past (calls, emails, follow-up tasks, past contracts, etc…). CRMs are the modern-day Rollodex.
Just like any technology, there are simple and more sophisticated CRMs. Most simple CRM systems allow users to manage lead status to determine where a prospect is in the sales cycle, ie: initial outreach, contract out for signing, or won/lost deal.
These types of systems also allow organization’s to list a client’s health score, which tells the account manager how happy or unhappy a client is with the proper details attached. This way the account manager can attend to the client’s needs in a timely manner, as well as, maintain historical client-relationship data.
You can also set-up the system to remind you when a renewal is coming up so that your sales team is ready to engage the client with more than enough time to keep the contract and maintain a healthy relationship with them.
These are just a few examples of different CRM systems
Project Management Systems
Project management systems give you a central location for all of your projects and initiatives (big or small). They allow a team to monitor the status of tasks as well as individual bandwidth. It’s your bird’s eye view of what’s going on within your business operations.
The project manager is able to determine and lay-out timelines and dependencies clearly within the system. All other associated team members can easily access this info and know what is expected of them and when. These systems allow for users to monitor approvals, provide reporting at a project or task level, and send out alerts when necessary.
This is a good list of project management systems for all sizes of operations:
Keep in mind, project management systems may not always be a good fit, especially if your security company is just getting started. A two-person team is likely going to spend more time getting an overly complicated system up and running rather than executing on the project efficiently.
Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) System
PSIM systems are technology solutions that allow your private security business to collect and display information across security systems - like video feeds, access control systems, and incident reports. It centralizes all of your security operation’s data into one location.
In general, you want to make sure that the system will be able to meet these 6 needs:
- Collection - Data collection from different systems and processes in a physical security operation.
- Analysis - Analyzing data, events, and alerts to help come up with solutions on how to run operations more effectively.
- Verification - How the data is presented. Data should come in an easy to understand format so the person looking at it knows exactly what is going on.
- Resolution - Standard operating procedures and step-by-step instructions on how to resolve the specific incidents (i.e. access control system crashing, theft, etc.).
- Reporting - Gathering all the data to help management evaluate the entire operation.
- Audit trail - Something to monitor a user’s activity on the system.
Just as with the other tech tools we have talked about, the PSIM system you choose really is dependent on your needs and the size of your operation. There are a wide range of options from out-of-the-box solutions to more customizable options.
Businesses, especially contract security businesses, have a lot of moving parts. Utilizing internal tech tools to help with team collaboration and data management can take some of the brain-work out of day-to-day administrative tasks, not to mention help minimize human error, leaving you and your team open for winning more security contracts and growing the business.
Interested in learning how other private security experts are using technology in their operations? Watch the Tech & Manned Guarding Roundtable recording from the Thinkcurity Virtual Physical Security Summit.