Is there really safety in numbers? Our recent research showed over 70% of SMEs use more than one security provider but it also highlighted some potential pitfalls of this approach. Here we consider how SMEs can benefit from taking a more single-minded approach to their security provision.
What SME owners are saying about security
Our research asked 250 SME owners about how they procure security for their business assets, property and people. What was apparent is that many respondents perceive security in a similar way to insurance: it’s a necessity, but the benefits can seem intangible – unless or until a threat becomes apparent. “Protecting assets and enabling business continuity is much more than a box-ticking exercise,” says Craig Robb, Chief Commercial Officer, Securitas UK. “Rather than adding security services from various providers over time, we would encourage SMEs to take a more holistic approach and think about ‘protective services’ as a whole.” Here we take a closer look at the key benefits of this approach.
1. Value for money
32% of survey respondents said the key factor in selecting a security provider was cost – and we get it, money matters. But it’s about value for money. “Customers often assume that any changes to their existing security will cost them more, but when working with a single, multi-service security provider you get the benefit of a fully integrated approach which can result in more cost-effective solutions” comments Robb. “Having a fixed price that covers all the appropriate services makes it easier to budget, and if your needs or risk profile change, we can simply add or remove elements as required. Some SMEs want the latest security technologies but are reluctant or unable to make an upfront capital investment,” he adds, “Our approach enables immediate installation of the latest equipment whilst spreading the cost over time via a manageable monthly payment.” And it’s worth noting that while a price increase from one of several providers may not be that noticeable in isolation, if a business is using – for example – three different providers, price rises across them all could add up to a substantial amount.
2. Save time
The more providers you use, the greater the admin burden. With multiple quotes to request and assess, contracts to review, invoices to process, messages and emails to respond to… it all adds up to time that could be better spent elsewhere. Using a single provider eliminates lots of unnecessary paperwork and calls. “At Securitas UK we cover everything – from initial assessment of the customer’s needs right through all aspects of supply, installation, monitoring, response and maintenance,” says Robb. “Our end-to-end service approach draws upon expertise in each particular field and leaves the business owner free to focus on their other priorities.”
3. Consistent, up-to-date advice and guidance
Our survey showed that fewer than 39% of respondents had reviewed their security provision in the previous 12 months and over 10% of them said they haven’t ever reviewed it. “Building a relationship with a single provider encourages regular reviews of security arrangements, which helps the SME continue to meet its legal security obligations,” Robb points out, “It also enables us to help keep them abreast of all the latest developments in equipment, guidelines and so on.” Any provider should be well versed in all relevant risk categories and advise (without bias) what measures the SME ought to have in place. They must also be on top of all regulatory and compliance requirements and able to help the SME check that the security measures meet their insurance conditions. This is certainly true of Securitas UK. “Our coherent, co-ordinated approach means our clients get the security they need and don’t end up paying for inappropriate services,” confirms Robb. “And we apply the same risk profiling, high standards and service to every client, irrespective of their size or sector.”
4. Better response
Picture the scene. It’s three in the morning and the intruder alarm at your office is going off. The alarm monitoring company doesn’t hold the keys to the property, so they call the designated keyholder – that’s you. But your mobile is in another room, and you don’t hear it. So, the monitoring company rings the next number on the list, one of your senior management team. You don’t have a contract in place with a mobile patrol provider, so your colleague gets dressed and heads off to investigate – in some trepidation. It could be nothing, but it could be a dangerous situation. When he arrives – more than an hour after the alarm was triggered – it’s clear that there has been a break in. Fortunately for him (and for your duty of care), the perpetrators have long since made their escape. Unfortunately for your business, they’ve stolen valuable equipment and even managed to crack the safe. Next day, you spend a lot of time reviewing your recorded CCTV footage and reporting the incident to the police. A much better solution is to have a single chain of monitoring, response, reporting and communication from one provider. Many SMEs use Securitas UK for CCTV and alarm installation, remote monitoring and mobile response. This means that if an alarm is triggered, officers at Securitas Operations Centre (SOC) can quickly establish the nature of the problem through remote monitoring and despatch a mobile patrol team, or if the incident requires it, alert the emergency services. Faster response, full reporting and no risk to you or your employees.
We asked our SME survey respondents “What do you see changing in the security world over the next few years” and a common response was the expectation that the need for security services will increase, and that the services will be more technology driven. Those respondents are right, and their reasoning highlights another benefit of working in partnership with a single security provider: that provider will know your SME’s set-up and how advances in security may benefit it. This goes beyond developments in hardware – such as enabling audio warnings on site to be made via remote monitoring – and includes things that an SME owner might never have thought of. “For example,” illustrates Robb, “data and video analytics are increasingly being used to add value to and optimise security arrangements."
Other reasons to consider Securitas UK’s unified approach
Effective, comprehensive SME security starts with a thorough risk assessment. This should consider all vulnerabilities – including intruders, theft, damage, fire safety, lone workers – some of which might not be obvious to the business owner. “Our free risk assessments look at all the elements of the business that need protection – including people, property, assets, continuity.” says Robb, “From there we create a bespoke security solution which integrates all the appropriate elements of our six protective services. As part of our service we also conduct regular reviews.” This last point highlights another finding of our survey: 67% of respondents said that the contracts they had in place with diverse security providers were not aligned. When contract renewal cycles for different services are spread throughout the year, it’s much harder to keep track of them all or conduct an effective risk assessment or regular review. “If you’re running or managing an SME, you’ve got enough to do without having to juggle various security services and contracts,” Robb points out, “And it’s not reasonable to expect you to be a security expert either. But having a relationship with a provider who does have that expertise – like us – gives you the confidence that your security can adapt to changing needs and developments over time.”
To find out more about how a single-minded approach to security could benefit your SME, get in touch.
*Research commissioned by Securitas and conducted by GCL – February – May 2022
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