Many Vendors, Many Decisions: How Safeguarding your Vendor Selection Practices Can Help Reap Rewards for your Security Enterprise
As a security director, I’d like my security vendor to:
- “Send me ‘out of the box’ ideas.”
- “Learn my business.”
- “Save me time and money.”
- “Stay in touch with me on a monthly basis.”
- “Only send representatives to my facility who are familiar with our system.”
As a security manufacturer, I’d like my security director to:
- “Focus less on the technology itself, but instead, on the desired results.”
- “Want to have a long-term partnership with us.”
- “Let us know how we’re doing so we can fix any problems.”
Enterprise security executives and manufacturers often express these types of comments, even in the most perfect end user/vendor relationships. It’s a challenge for both parties to be in sync, working towards a common goal of a secure enterprise.
Many of our peers across the industry recently returned from ISC West, where they saw the latest advancements in video surveillance cameras, management software, access control solutions and identity management solutions on display. However, new products and software solutions are only one part of the equation in ensuring and maintaining fluid operations.
Many enterprises face challenges when choosing the right security partners to implement and maintain their systems. Security management places a premium on their specific physical security strategies, either because of the complexity of their needs, or the specific system demands and compliance regulations associated with their specific business classification. Therefore, the goal should be to partner with suppliers whose focus is to deliver the solutions that best fulfil desired system functionality and operations.
Here are a few important questions to ask potential suppliers when you begin the process of planning and selecting a new or enhanced security system solution:
- What is the best available security solution to meet our specific physical and operational challenges? The ideal supplier response should be, “Let’s first explore the risks you need to mitigate and your challenges to do so.” Not knowing your risks means you could potentially receive a solution that you don’t need or want.
- I know a peer using a specific solution. Should I use it? A vendor response should be, “Enterprises come in many shapes and sizes, and their needs vary as well. What are your specific needs and challenges?” In addition, a security supplier should have enough depth and breadth to their project line-up to be able to offer multiple solutions.
- Is your security solution easy to use? A supplier’s response should be: “Our technology won’t make a difference if you and your team can’t use it, and you may not be able to afford to send your employees to time-consuming training. We have a thorough training program that incorporates webinars, online training modules and educational collateral for continued education for your team. We also have a reliable technical support department that’s responsive and will work with you to answer your inquiries and quickly resolve your issues.”
- Will this solution work with my existing security technology? The response should be, “We are able to provide you with a solution that will help bring all your security and surveillance data together, filtering out the background noise, connecting the dots, and shedding light on its overall significance.” Look for solutions that empower you to take the necessary action; improve the safety, security and efficiency of your operations; and keep a complete audit trail for compliance, training and analysis, versus purchasing single solutions that cannot coexist with each other.
Finding new product solutions to your enterprise security strategy can be an exciting, yet challenging undertaking. Look for a consultative approach from suppliers and select one who will work with you to understand your strategic goals, along with any specific needs based on industry or legislative compliance requirements. Vendors who assess your scenario individually will provide a more collaborative process and a system solutions that will quantifiably provide security, safety and operational efficiencies.