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Private security: at its turning point

An analysis on how the companies of this guild must adapt with greater rigidity to the new demands of the market.

By Luis González Nogales*

Private security services in their different forms are at this time at a critical turning point on which the exponential success of many companies and the fall, closure and disappearance of possibly many more will depend.

This exposition that at the beginning would seem alarming or fanciful is, as always in this column, the vision of the author and we have based it on different observations, studies and consultancies that we carry out periodically and we will try to synthesize them below.

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If we analyze these turning points by the large segments of services we will have the following observations:

Physical security with or without a weapon
This type of service is perhaps one of the most affected at the moment since its main structure is based on the intensive use of labor with a minimum qualification and minimum economic compensation, if not below the established minimum wage used by the so-called ghost companies, ducklings, etc. If we analyze it as a triangle subjected to pressures we will see three forces on the service and its current way of providing it:

The first force of pressure is the change that has been made of people by technological equipment, the most visible case are the access controls where before there was a person controlling identifications and today there are barriers, cards or biometrics coupled with identification cameras performing the same security function with the added values that gives having the data of inputs - outputs stored for use and future conversion into information.

The second force of pressure is customers, employees, visitors, etc., who interact with physical security personnel who are increasingly demanding in terms of the one hand that they are always and at all times attentive to fulfill their functions, and on the other hand not to exceed any legal limit or perception of any particular group; the clearest example is when a minor unaccompanied by an adult is banging hard and insistently on a shop window in a shopping mall. The security personnel of the mall are exposed at that time to dissatisfaction by the owner of the business for not doing anything, demand of the parents of the minor if it is reduced to force so that it does not continue to the activity, if there are major lawsuits for child abuse or others, demand by the parents of the minor if the glass breaks of possible physical damages for not having acted and demand for repair of the owner of the business of who is going to replace the damages produced.

The third of pressure is the actions of the market itself in its supply-demand relationship, where in the supply of the service there are generally actors who break the margins of competition with very low prices or below the real cost, and whose relevance is multiplied when there are economic crises or the legislations are lax in the transfer of responsibility to the companies that in the maximum of (" I contract the lowest price and not are state to be controlling the compliance of the company that contracts") acquire this type of services.

Faced with this panorama, companies must adapt in some aspects that although we have pointed out in other articles of this same magazine, we wish to return to them:

1. The company must be the first to permanently update the client's risk analyses and propose the necessary changes of personal substitutions for technology, in most cases assuming the initial investment of the reconversion in exchange for a monthly income preferably lower than the cost of personnel and adding new information analysis services, specialized reports related to the particular business or other derivatives that we will have of a timely management of the data collected.
2. The profile of the current staff that is hired must change towards people of higher qualification, with better preparation both in security techniques and in dealing with the different human groups that are increasingly segmented. This undoubtedly leads to the fact that these personnel cannot be the current ones with low economic compensation and long working hours.
3. Companies should encourage formal trade union grouping based on the frontal fight against bad market practices as well as on the education of customers about good practices when hiring and simultaneously carrying out the necessary pressure on the institutions in charge of regulation and compliance with the different laws so that they align themselves in pursuing those bad practices that distort the market.

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Electronic security
Electronic security suffers from what I call its transit to equipment connected to the network, and this has two problems for traditional companies of distribution, integration and installation of equipment or the so-called electronic security systems.

The first big problem is that the customer is already autonomous in many of the activities to cover their electronic security needs, taking up the example of a small store in a shopping center, the need for video surveillance and access control is easy to acquire in large shopping areas where they offer from food to video systems of 16 cameras, cables, DVR with 2 Terabyte or its storage on the network included with the internet connection, in addition to accessories such as motion detectors or door contacts connected to the DVR, which works as an alarm; In addition to the purchase, your need will be limited to a technician (networks?, alarms?, video?) who installs the equipment and will be able to view, activate - deactivate the sensors from your Smartphone, review recordings and receive notifications of opening doors (warehouse for example) regardless of your location.

The other problem is the rapid progress in terms of the development of the equipment and its performance that makes it impossible in practice to have stock and when medium-term projects are developed considering that what is offered has a high possibility of not being available at the time of purchase and installation with the aggravating factor that the prices of the new substitute products are not the same as those offered and the client does not want to increase your budget or that an already obsolete technology is installed.

This leads us to the fact that the integration of technological systems for small, medium or large projects implies that the company must choose to transform considering some of the following aspects.
1. The personnel who make the designs must be extremely multifaceted, since what they must design is a solution of reasonable cost and permanent updating for the client, this design must be integral and possibly must contemplate in addition to the technological components, the physical security part, the control and monitoring centers or accesses from where to carry them out, as well as the part of data storage and its access to transform them into useful information.
2. The rent for use of the systems and their periodic update, which can be done at various levels, perhaps a small business does not require high performance technology, but in a few months or year, who requires high performance must be updated and this equipment is available in useful life for rent in the small business and so down from high-tech requirements to medium or low needs technology.

Alarm monitoring
Companies that provide these services usually encounter two major problems, the first being high competitiveness and the constant price war and the consequent piracy of customers via prices. The second factor is the high information available by the client to install simple motion monitoring systems, door and window openings, a consequence of the use of video surveillance equipment, especially in the home and small business sectors.

All of the above, however, does not replace the patrol response when required and it is at this point where companies should focus together with alliances of insurers that subsidize premiums and above all emphasize communication, which we already addressed in our article for the month of January / 2019 in this same magazine.

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Private security services have the obligation to rapidly transform themselves from mere suppliers of people to monitor and electronic equipment into advisors of solutions for the perception of the safety of people, whether at home, in their company, and even in the journey between them and social and recreational activities in certain strata where the services of protection of persons or bodyguards are given, how and the form should be found in particular each company and one of the first steps is to analyze how digitized they are inside, which will be the subject for subsequent articles.


* Luis González Nogales is the Executive President of INCASPRI. If you want to contact him write to the email: [email protected]


Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Author: Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Jefe Editorial en Latin Press, Inc,.
Comunicador Social y Periodista con experiencia de más de 16 años en medios de comunicación. Apasionado por la tecnología y por esta industria. [email protected]

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