In recent years, many organizations have benefited from the outsourcing of key functions. Specialist providers are able to provide high-quality service at lower total cost than an organization can achieve using their own internal resources. This trend has long impacted functions such as payroll and accounts payable, and in the IT industry for help desk support, software development and other technical services. Today, the outsourcing trend is also gaining traction within the security industry. Specialist providers enable integrators to offer their clients a “Managed Services” option for delivering an integrated physical security solution tailored to specific customer requirements.

What are Managed Services?

Managed Services contracts enable a customer to select which particular services they need and for what length of time with the ability to make adjustments as a result of changing circumstances.

This business model is commonplace in other industries. For example, telecommunication service providers have offered business customers managed services for broadband connections, VPNs, data security services and IP communications for many years. A managed services approach presents a practical alternative for virtually any business system with the common objective to sustain consistent and reliable operation while reducing overall operating costs. 

In the physical security space, the shift to managed services is partially the result of new standards and technologies, and the fact that economic drivers have shifted organizations’ focus from capital expenditures to operating expenses.

Benefits of Managed Services in Security

Managed Service contracts can help organizations standardize security processes and procedures while reducing or eliminating the capital investment in a physical security system. Providers typically charge organizations with fixed monthly costs for a defined service offering. 

Budget constraints are the most frequently cited reason for organizations opting for a managed services approach, but there are also tangible benefits including higher levels of support, availability of expert technical support, predictable recurring costs, and access to the latest technologies and upgrades.

Managed services are an especially viable option for small and mid-size organizations that do not have the scale to support a large security budget, and where managed services contracts can be used to replace or augment a company’s own in-house technical resources. This allows the organization to focus on supporting strategic objectives. One common advantage of such services is that they can frequently enable organizations to extend security coverage to 24 hours in a cost effective manner.

In recent years even larger organizations have taken advantage of the benefits that specialist providers have to offer. This is particularly beneficial in an enterprise environment with remote branch locations where, for example, a managed services solution can be deployed to provide a consistent implementation of the organization’s security technology strategy.

Finally, managed services can enable an organization to respond to changing business conditions quickly and cost effectively. New technology can be deployed based on incremental increases to the existing monthly payment schedule accelerating implementation and minimizing the budget impact of a large capital expenditure. For example, a new contract from a government agency might require that an organization install additional security measures such as biometrics or visitor management systems. Adding these solutions becomes much more manageable from a budgetary standpoint when approached in this manner.

Systems integrators use a managed services offering to develop tailored solutions for individual clients and in so doing, provide higher levels of service and increased customer satisfaction. This leads to building higher quality long-term relationships with benefits for the customer, the system integrator and equipment manufacturers.