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Getting buy-in for your physical security program

5 steps to gain executive buy-in for physical security solutions. 

Getting buy-in for your physical security program is critical to achieving long-term security success. While 88% of U.S. businesses now experience more physical security threats than they did two years ago, security directors still struggle to gain the support they need.

In our security director empowerment series, we discussed the importance of conducting assessments, lifecycle management, and how to digitally transform your physical security system. While all these are critical to successfully managing your physical security program, you won’t accomplish much without executive buy-in.

In this article, we’ll share five practical steps you can take to ensure your executive team supports your physical security program and investments. We’ll also include excerpts from our extensive ebook: Managing the Lifecycle of Physical Security Systems, to help you gain a better understanding of the best practices you can use to get leadership on board.

Let’s get started. 

Step 1- Get the full picture

Before you can gain buy-in from your executive team, you need to obtain comprehensive visibility of your physical security program, including your security devices, equipment, and processes.

In our article, Optimizing your physical security program, we shared twenty-five actionable tips to help you optimize your physical security program, but before you can do that, you need to have visibility into all aspects of your physical security systems including:

  • Site Layout
  • Access Control System
  • Video Surveillance System
  • Intrusion detection
  • Power and fire protection

Regardless of the size of your organization or the amount of physical space you have to secure, obtaining this visibility and understanding of your physical security program is critical to achieving long-term security success.

Step 2- Consult with your partners and vendors

In order to get leadership buy-in, you will need all the help you can, and your security integrator can be a partner in that process.

Reviewing your current partnerships and vendor agreements is a necessary step in the process that can help you determine if your current vendors are helping you meet your operational goals.

While vendor selection and management are usually considered more of a ‘soft’ management function, the fact is that the quality of your vendor relationships will directly impact the effectiveness of your security program and your overall security posture.

A vendor that is committed to providing excellent service and support for their client will have a strong understanding of the capabilities and requirements of the security technologies that they support and will, at a minimum, be able to:

  • Provide actionable information on the capabilities of current and future security systems and technologies.
  • Help develop an effective implementation strategy that you can use to determine the right technology to deploy. 
  • Offer recommendations on new technologies and systems that could be used in conjunction with your existing security solutions.

Security directors face many challenges that are more difficult to resolve than if they had a solid partnership with their security integrator. Most often, these challenges revolve around cost and performance issues. Yet, vendors can also provide technical and operational expertise and guidance, especially regarding industry best practices, regulations, and compliance. 

Step 3 - Create a multi-year plan for budgeting

Budgets that span several years are called multi-year budgets. They are also referred to as capital budgets or rolling budgets. You can also use a multi-year budget for planning purposes regarding managing and maintaining your physical security infrastructure.

While there are many ways to create a budget, a good multi-year budget is an excellent tool for managing through a period of growth or digital transformation. It can be used alongside a strategic plan for the same period to help your organization map out long-term goals and the tools and processes that will help you achieve them.

While every organization has unique priorities, challenges, and budget constraints, some common characteristics can be seen across successful multi-year budgets, especially when it comes to planning and providing a framework that leadership can use to make more informed decisions.

Regardless of your budgeting needs, data about your physical security systems will help you create a clear and concise implementation plan that can make the budgeting process easier. This can include reports that contain:

  • Device level service and warranty information
  • System performance metrics
  • Areas of improvement and opportunities for optimization
  • Opportunities for new system integrations
  • Ways to reduce operating costs
  • Lifecycle costs and potential savings
  • ROI metrics for various upgrades and enhancements

Collecting this information is time-consuming, and finding a solution to keep track of it all in one place is challenging. Fortunately, with the right tool, you can quickly and easily store all this data in a centralized location where you can access it whenever you need, which helps with the next step.

Step 4 - Document your business case

Physical security programs are only as effective as their ability to integrate with other aspects of an organization’s operations. This means that if you want to demonstrate the success of your program to other stakeholders, you need to communicate the reasons for your program. This involves identifying your objectives, explaining the benefit of your program to other parts of the organization, and outlining how the program can be improved.

In the past, security leaders had to rely on spreadsheets to track systems and manage events. As a result, they could not quickly assess their program’s status and determine which parts of the program needed attention. Today, thanks largely to cloud computing and the availability of lifecycle management platforms, security leaders have a better way to manage their systems.

But tracking systems and issues won’t cut it in today’s digital world. Security leaders need to document the rationale for their systems and communicate those justifications to the other parts of the organization. In the past, this took time and was prone to error. Security leaders had to write lengthy documents, write reports, make presentations, and more. Today, SiteOwl allows security leaders to automate many of these activities.

Step 5 - Provide actionable data

Data is the lifeblood of your physical security program in terms of monitoring, maintaining, and optimizing the system. But how you use this information to drive your decision-making may decide how successful you are in getting buy-in from leadership.

Actionable data allows you to clearly communicate the impact of your efforts to your executive leadership team and get them to embrace your vision. The key is to provide metrics that can help you measure and track your progress toward your goals and provide specific, actionable information to make decisions.

Not only do you need to clearly communicate the value of the upgrades and enhancements you’re making to your physical security system, but they need to be able to understand why they need to support your efforts easily.

Data-driven physical security can not only help you find efficiencies and improve processes, but it can help you: 

  • Obtain system performance visibility which enables fiscally responsible decision-making.
  • Maintain detailed device-level data, including warranty expiration, pictures, and more. 
  • Deliver robust real-time reporting to facilitate coordination, commissioning, and programming. 

Get the Most Out Of Your Security Investment

Getting leadership buy-in is critical to the success of your security program. Although this article shares five practical tips to help you get started, getting leadership support is a continuous process.

Comprehensive visibility and understanding of your physical security processes, assess your program and identify areas for improvement. It will also help you better communicate with leadership on the value and benefits of your program and provide insights that you can use to deliver the most return on investment (ROI).

Visibility is powerful, but you need to drill down and find the right metrics relevant to your program and leadership. You need to know how to share information that will inform your team, key stakeholders, and leadership. Your integrator should be able to provide you with actionable insights and data that will help you better understand your systems and integration challenges.

Insights will help you identify trends and patterns that you can use to highlight areas of improvement and opportunities to streamline processes. While your information may be comprehensive, you will still need to provide financial information to make a strong business case for the security program.

Ultimately, you’ll need to demonstrate to leadership the value of your program and to accomplish this, you’ll need a platform that enables you to measure, analyze and report on your program’s effectiveness.

SiteOwl is the world’s first unified digital platform helping security directors and system managers design, install and maintain physical security systems.

Learn more about improving leadership buy-in and enhancing your business case in our latest guide: Managing Physical Security Systems, or sign up for a free SiteOwl demo today!

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