Independent Security Consultant
The single most important attribute that a security consultant must have is “Independence.” Security consultants that are not independent are usually affiliated with security product manufactures, resellers, or guard service providers, and they have been known to suggest their employer’s products or services as part of their recommendations. This has been recognized as an impediment to their overall objectivity.
An important consideration that organizations must consider is that independent security consultants do not sell security equipment, products, alarm monitoring, or security guard services. What this means to you is that the independent security consultant gives advice based on their client’s best interests, not the security consultant’s inclination to sell a specific product or service.
Another important consideration is that independent security consultants often go to great extents to avoid even the slightest appearance of a conflict of interest. Because of this you can be assured that the independent security consultant is not affiliated with any businesses that manufacture, sell, or install security products or guard services. You can also be certain that the independent security consultant does not have any form of monetary interest in such companies.
Other important considerations include, but are not limited to:
Security consultants are often members of several different professional trade associations. However, keep in mind that just because a security consultant belongs to an association related to your industry, does not necessarily mean that they are proficient and trained in your industry. A security consultant can join numerous associations without having ever worked in that field, so it is strongly suggested that when you are researching a security consultant that you conduct your due diligence and determine if the consultant has experience in your type of business.
An example of how important this is is the fact that many security consultants advertise that they have experience in Healthcare Security. However, in the majority of the cases they have never worked in the healthcare field in any capacity. These same security consultants will often join a healthcare security association and advertise their services with that group. This holds true for several other types of industries or services, and in many cases clients that are researching security consultation firms have no idea that the firms have little or no experience because they never ask the right questions. Unfortunately there are security consultants out there that will not disclose these types of issues upfront, and when questioned they may provide evasive answers to throw you off.
Industry specific knowledge is not needed on all projects, as the fact of the matter is that protection services are really the same across many different industries. However, some industries are highly regulated or must adhere to accreditation, compliance standards, or in some cases state or federal laws. Transportation, Healthcare, and Education are a few examples of regulated industries. If your organization is required to meet regulatory, compliance, or statutory requirements, the security consultant that you retain should have the essential comprehension of such guidelines, standards, or laws.
There are several professional certifications available within the security industry, with the most prominent one being the Certified Protection Professional (CPP). A security practitioner with a current CPP certification has been Board Certified in Security Management and has proven themselves to be knowledgeable in the security field. Every professional security consultant should have the CPP certification, and if they claim to be experts in a highly regulated field they should also have the industry accepted professional certification for that field as well. Otherwise you as a client cannot ascertain that they are subject matter experts in that field.
The most experienced independent security consultants have been recognized by their peers as being knowledgeable and experienced. These same security consultants are often asked to participate in speaking engagements throughout the security field, because their peers value what they have to say and recognize them as true security experts. So when it comes time to retain a security expert, organizations often look to those security consultants that are recognized by their profession as subject matter experts.
The media and professional trade publications often call on industry recognized independent security consultants to get their comments on current events. This provides potential clients with a means of researching an independent security consultant online to ascertain their credibility and knowledge base prior to retaining them. Those independent security consultants that are regularly asked for their comments on current events, and that are quoted in news articles or publications, will often publish those articles on their company websites for your review so be sure to check out their websites.
Another means in which to evaluate an independent security consultant is to determine if they have authored any books or training manuals that have been published. Keep in mind that anyone can self-publish a book, and many consultants do just that. So look for books or manuals that are published through an independent publisher. These types of publications are extensively reviewed and screened by industry experts prior to publishing. In many cases if the independent security consultant has authored materials those books or manuals are often utilized by their peers and security expert witnesses as references, which again establishes the credibility and competence of the published author.
Before you enter into a professional relationship with an independent security consultant you need to research the firm’s qualities, competencies, and professional relationship skills. These include:
- Do they give you firm dates for the project?
- Does the firm put in writing project timelines?
- Do they have a reputation of completing projects on time and on budget?
- Do they employ an experienced project manager that will be fully involved with your project and onsite throughout the duration of the project?
- Do they establish a communication plan in advance that identifies key personnel?
- Do they include in the project scope their communication plan?
- Do they follow that scope and deliver as promised?
- Are they available as needed to answer your questions, even after the project is completed?
- Does the security consulting firm have a verifiable track record for being adaptive to their client’s needs? Are they open-minded, or do they believe that their way is the only way?
- Does the security consulting firm’s project manager understand collaboration amongst all key personnel in the project?
- Does the security consulting firm use a “Cookie-Cutter” approach to their projects? In other words, do they use the same recommendations for each project?
- Do they spend the extra time on each project to insure that the quality of their work is at the highest possible level, or do they promise quick turn-around times so that they can get on to the next project?
You should be seeking answers for the following questions prior to retaining a security consultant:
- Is the security consultant independent?
- Does the security consultant have essential experience in my industry?
- Does the security consultant have professional certifications or credentials?
- Does the security consultant have a track record of research and publication?
- Does the security consultant have a reputation of providing reasonable and defensible recommendations?
Independent Security Consulting
As an independent security consulting firm, Protection Management, LLC is not affiliated with any manufacturer or reseller of security equipment, nor do we profit in any way from a client’s selection of vendors or contractors. Our principal goal is to help our clients to protect their assets in a fiscally responsible manner ensuring that their security resources are leveraged to their full extent. At Protection Management, LLC we base our recommendations solely on your needs and proven and industry accepted best practices and standards.
Protection Management, LLC delivers our business services with integrity and adheres to the highest professional standards, and we adhere to the Codes of Conduct and Ethics of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants.
Why You Should Consider Protection Management, LLC:
For assistance or more information please contact Protection Management, LLC, or request a free security consultation.