Formed in 1936, Nationwide’s corporate security department has had the same mission since its inception: “To help our company do business safely by filling a safety consultative role with the business leaders,” says Jay Beighley, Associate Vice President of Corporate Security. By protecting the life safety, reputation and data integrity of the company’s businesses, associates, members and business partners, Beighley’s team helps support that mission.
With a security staff of 164 leaders and associates across the country who help execute Nationwide’s security program, “they make the security function come to life and keep it relevant by providing the highest level of protection to our associates, communicating with leaders, acting professionally when incidents occur, and supporting the goals of the department,” Beighley says. The department also uses technology to both control costs and keep a prominent security presence. For instance, the company’s central station at its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, has 24/7 monitoring, enabling security to constantly monitor the facilities and be better able to respond to an emergency.
Because protecting the Nationwide brand is critical to the company’s success, Beighley’s team focuses on strategic areas to ensure safety for everyone. “We are working to deploy new technological capabilities that will enable our team to provide virtual security support to associates and members in remote locations,” Beighley says.
Data loss prevention is another key focus, particularly since Nationwide has a strong track record for protecting customer data. The corporate security department plays a central role in access control at company facilities and regulatory compliance at all of the company’s data centers.
Life safety, asset protection, including data protection, and domestic and workplace violence are the top concerns within the company. Since a number of the security officers and leaders carry firearms at the larger campuses within the company in case of an active shooter, there is significant training involved, says Beighley. “Part of that training includes time on a decision simulator, practical firearms training and scenario-based training with role players. The liability risk involved with this approach requires us to train to a very high level and to also test new less lethal devices as an alternative to deadly force,” he says.
Not only does the company provide security services to its associates and customers, it also secures the Nationwide Arena District in Columbus. This area spans around eight city blocks and includes an NHL hockey arena, a AAA baseball stadium, concert venue, residential units, restaurants and office and entertainment facilities. “Our security officers work with local law enforcement to reduce criminal activity in this area, which has resulted in the apprehension of bank robbery suspects, saved a number of lives, found lost children and generally acted as the face of authority to the thousands of people who visit the area each day,” says Beighley.
Various metrics are used to demonstrate security’s value at Nationwide. “We start by aligning our security objectives with the company’s larger objectives to clearly demonstrate how we support the health of the organization,” Beighley says. Although traditional metrics such as costs, incidents, events and calls for service are good, “they don’t really resonate with leaders,” he says. “I have a quarterly risk report that includes other metrics in regard to our risk profile, emerging risks, and how we address risk. This helps us illustrate the need for our services in a way that puts it into the language of business. It shows them how security risks could impact their business and the value we bring in mitigating those risks.”
The corporate security department has worked closely with the risk management department to develop a risk policy, which assigns risk levels and provides direction. “The policy allows us to effectively and efficiently communicate the risk to senior leaders and creates a collaborative environment for drafting an appropriate protection plan,” says Beighley. This plan has been recognized as a best practice in the industry in white papers and other studies.
Beighley serves as a board member of the Ohio Private Investigator and Security Guard Provider Commission, which gives him the opportunity to influence key safety and security legislation and training for security officers. “I would love to see an accrediting body for security groups, much like the police have in CALEA. I think an independent governing body that could help to bring a consistent level of professionalism and competency to the profession would not only help the security provider, but also enhance the reputation of the organization that employs them,” he says.
- Annual Revenue: $25 Billion
- Security Budget: $10 Million
- Brand Protection
- C-Suite Buy-In