Why Would an Experienced Security Manager Hire a Security Consultant
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Most security and loss prevention managers are very qualified to perform their jobs. Many have had years of previous experience in law enforcement or the military and consider themselves to be experts in security matters. These security managers are often reluctant to bring in an outside security consultant, often stating the following reasons:
"No one is more familiar with my company's security needs than I am - there is no way an outside consultant could tell me anything that I don't already know"
"I am supposed to be the company's security expert. Won't my boss think I'm incompetent if I ask to bring in outside help?"
"Consultants are expensive - there is no way we could afford to hire one, not on our security budget"
"Working on this project (security design, policy manual, training program, etc.) will be enjoyable and a nice break from my normal routine. Who cares if I've never done anything like this before - I'll learn as I go along. Bringing in an outside consultant would spoil my fun..."
The security manager's reluctance to use outside help is interesting given that most practitioners in every other profession regularly use consultants to provide specialized expertise or to render an outside opinion. For example, medical doctors almost always bring in other professionals such as radiologists, hematologists, and other specialists when a patient's condition warrants it, and wouldn't dream of trying to do everything themselves. Similarly, top-rated attorneys almost always bring in other attorneys with specialized expertise when bringing complicated legal cases to trial.
Smart security managers should recognize that they cannot be an expert on everything, and that bringing in outside help is a sign of strength, not weakness. The benefits provided by an outside security consultant can include:
The consultant has the ability to provide a fresh, unbiased opinion. Sometimes the security manager can be too close to a situation to see it clearly.
The consultant has experience with similar security problems and conditions at many other companies and organizations. Most problems are not unique and others have figured out answers to them before. A good consultant is familiar with solutions that have worked at other facilities and can immediately transfer this knowledge to you.
The consultant has up-to-date knowledge of security best practices and the latest security technology.
The consultant has no need to temper his opinions for political reasons— he can “tell it like it is” without fear of retribution. Many security managers are afraid to bring up important issues within their organization because they are afraid of stepping on toes or making enemies.
The consultant has the ability to work full-time on your project and does not have to juggle the multitude of daily responsibilities that the security manager has.
The consultant has experience in conducting formal consulting assignments, writing reports, and making presentations. Many security managers have great security knowledge but are not expert writers or presenters.
The consultant has done similar projects many times before and can do the job more quickly and efficiently than the security manager can. For example, a security manager may have been called upon to write a policy manual maybe once or twice in his career, where a good consultant has probably written similar manuals dozens or even hundreds of times before.
A consultant can bring in technical expertise that the security manager doesn't have. Things such as designing security for a new facility, developing a workplace violence program, or preparing an RFP for a new video surveillance system are often best done with the help of a consultant who is an expert in these areas.
An outside consultant can often have more credibility with your senior management team and can often sell ideas that the security manager alone cannot. Rightly or wrongly, a consultant and security manager can present the same idea, but senior management will accept it when presented by the consultant - while they would reject it if it was presented by the security manager.
A consultant can often save the organization time and money by doing things more efficiently, avoiding costly mistakes, and preventing the purchase of unnecessary equipment or services.
If you are a security manager who wants to learn more about how an independent security consultant could be of help to you, please contact us. If we can't help you ourselves, we would be happy to refer you to other qualified security consultants.