Change Now or Face Extinction

The year is 2010. The terms “security dealer” and, yes, even “systems integrator” face the same doomed fate as the dodo bird. No longer will commercial security companies focus solely on product technology and installation, as it will be the dawn of the managed solutions provider (MSP). If you start today and plan accordingly, your company has a real chance of being at the forefront of what I believe will be the new direction in the commercial security realm.

As you know, the majority of commercial security installations are becoming more complex. Historically, security systems design has been working backwards — an integrator installs a CCTV or access control system, and the end user plans their security management policies and procedures around the equipment after the fact. This current business model is dying a slow death.

The future will be about carefully planning your client’s company security processes and procedures first, and then using integrated security products and technology to complement the overall security management plan.

Unfortunately, many traditional security dealers are not full-service security consulting firms capable of offering everything from strategic planning and installation to end-user management implementation. Today’s end users are demanding their integrator understand their business and infrastructure. Those who can provide total managed solutions will get the business and, thus, become a true managed solutions provider.

In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about IT security and physical security convergence. IT security primarily focuses on the protection and flow of computerized intellectual information within an enterprise. Electronic physical security focuses on the protection of physical assets and people, and the prevention of crime within and around a facility. These are clearly two separate and very important industries.

Convergence is definitely happening but will not materialize the way many fear-mongers (usually “newbies” to our industry) proclaim. They typically talk about how IT staffers in both the end-user and installation sectors will take over the electronic/physical security industry within the next 5+ years. Will the two merge as one? It is my opinion they will not.

Granted, proper communication and collaboration with the IT departments will be crucial in the initial installation phase since most of tomorrow’s security products will be using the network as the transmission backbone. But somehow, I can’t foresee the day when an IT guy will determine appropriate response to emergency incidents such as bomb threats or workplace violence.

You can implement the most sophisticated technological products in the world, but without proper security management processes and people in place, none of them will matter. The fact is that the typical IT person does not have the background, education or experience to manage a physical security department (and vice versa for physical security specialists in the IT realm).

To become a managed solutions provider, your company must revolutionize its offerings beyond simply installing and servicing security products. To win in the corporate commercial marketplace, you must be able to foster a synergistic relationship and bridge the gap between your client’s physical security director and the IT department. Most corporate physical security directors are in their second careers (ex-law enforcement, military, etc.) and really don’t understand electronic security, let alone IT issues.

The fact that neither security directors nor IT managers are authorities on electronic security means a major communications gap exists. Just think of the potential to fill this need! The timing is right to break away from the typical security installer business model now. Be on the forefront; consider providing integrated end-to-end security solutions. It’s something to think about.

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