In-House or Outsourced Security?
All businesses suffer from the effects of crime regardless of the industry, type or size of the organisation. The cost of the impact of crime to a business can vary but it always has an effect. Crimes against businesses cause unnecessary costs due to damages, theft of stock, materials or equipment, as well as the cost of the reparation process in the aftermath of the crime.
Crimes against businesses can drastically lower the morale and confidence of staff as they may often feel unsafe or uncomfortable when aware that the business/organisation they are working within is a target of criminals.
The reputation of the business is often negatively affected by criminal damages as they can be seen to not be reliable enough to organise an adequate security solution to keep their staff and business protected, and in some industries, they may be seen to not have their customer’s safety as a priority.
In order to prevent crime, security must be considered. The next step for businesses is often to make the crucial decision; whether to employ guards in-house or use a private security company to provide the services to them. This can be a difficult decision as there are often a lot of factors to consider in each scenario.
There are over 300 SIA (Security Industry Authority) Approved Contractors are running in the UK to keep up with the urgent and necessary demand for effective security solutions; this is most likely due to the definitive rise in crime that the UK has experienced as time has progressed.
Protecting your business is essential in any scenario, but what are the pros and cons of in-house and outsourced security?
What is In-House Security?
For those that are unfamiliar, in-house security refers to the type of security that a business has organised themselves, this includes the hiring process, management and payment of said security staff, as well as setting up any equipment that may be needed.
It Can Be Cheaper
By hiring and paying guards yourself, your business only has to pay the security guard their hourly wage without the premium cost that is added on by security companies in order for them to hire the guards for you, monitor the security on your premises and keep their own business running.
You Choose Your Own Guard
Interviewing the guard yourself will most likely mean that you can truly choose who exactly will be entrusted with protecting your company from criminal threats, whether that be internal or external. You can also have the ability to hire someone that you feel the rest of your staff will be comfortable around and get on well with.
Having an in-house security guard can improve consistency of who is in the team in your company. The security guard can be fully integrated into the company culture and be more in touch with your company vision and values.
The actual in-house recruitment process can be expensive and costly for a business, with time being taken out of staff time to interview and train the new security guard. It is also often necessary to do a screening of the guard’s history as well as scheduling them, organising them and purchasing their uniform.
Organisation of The Guards
After they have been screened, employed, trained and put on to a rota, they must then be managed. This usually involves organising their wages as well as ensuring they are doing their job properly and effectively. Attempting to do all of these tasks in-house can be a juggle for most companies as they do not have the time or the resources to deal with them.
Removal of Inadequate Guards is Difficult
When hiring security in-house, it can be difficult to fire your security employee if they have signed onto a certain contract, even if they aren’t adequate enough or a good fit for your company.
There would more than likely be a form of warning or notice period necessary in which you would not be able to immediately replace them.
If you were to choose to outsource your security, you would have the option to ask for a change of staff if you felt unhappy with the personnel they had provided.
Unqualified Security Guards and Extra Costs
With unqualified guards comes the added risk of them not being up to the standard needed to identify and deal with threats that could affect your business.
Private security companies should only provide SIA licensed guards which are qualified to a nationally regulated standard in order to have the knowledge and skills necessary to protect your business.
Not all security companies do employ SIA licensed guards, despite the fact that it is a legal requirement.
The best way to ensure that they do is to opt for an SIA Approved Contractor, these security companies are fully audited and regulated to national standards, ensuring the highest quality security service.
You can check whether a security company is accredited by accessing the Security Industry Authority’s full list of their Approved Contractors here.
What is Contract Security?
Contract security, or outsourced security, refers to the use of an outside agency or private security firm to organise, manage and provide security services for a business. This can be the provision of security guards, CCTV equipment which would be delivered and installed, or any other necessary equipment to increase the security of a business and reduce the risk of crime.
Flexible, Tailor-Made Solutions
Security companies are professionals of their field and are able to give your company exactly what it requires to be sufficiently protected. This service can be interchangeable depending on your needs as a company as the number of guards or the job that the guards need to do can be changed and updated specific to your requirements.
Having security guards in place is a strong deterrent against criminals, but having security guards that are fully trained and licensed to deal with criminals is more cost effective, as they can deal with situations when they arise to reduce any costs that could inflict your business through criminal damage.
When outsourcing your security, it removes the need for your company to have to deal with issues such as lateness or absent guards, as the companies themselves will find out for you where your security guard is, why he is absent/late, discipline them and provide a replacement for your company.
SIA Approved Contractors screen and vet all of their security staff, and some even give them additional in-house training such as counter-terrorism training, fire safety, health and safety, and manual handling.
Guard Tracking Technology
Depending on the company, private security firms will often offer guard tracking services for premises that require guards to patrol certain checkpoints. This particular technology can record when the guard reaches each checkpoint through all of their shifts, so you will be able to see whether the guard is doing their patrols correctly.
Focus on Your Business
Outsourcing your security allows for yourself and your staff to fully focus on your own business targets and goals, as you will not need to spend any extra time or effort organises your security. Staff and customers will have peace of mind in knowing they are safe from potential threats and can focus on the task at hand.
Low Quality Providers
Not all security companies are created equal and the quality of services that they provide will not always be up to standard. As mentioned previously, SIA Approved Contractors are fully regulated every year to ensure they are meeting national standards. If you are unsure whether a security company is Security Industry Authority approved, you can check the SIA Approved Contractor register.
Outsourcing your security often means that you will not be able to hand-pick your security guard and will need to put your trust into the security company. You will also need to make sure you will be happy with the level of communication you receive from your chosen company, as not all will have good-quality reporting procedures.
Which is better, in-house security or outsourced?
This answer can vary for certain industries and companies as many have their own set of priorities and requirements. However, using the information provided above should help you to reach a conclusion.
Overall, although in-house security may seem like the cheaper option, it is often the case that it results in businesses spending more money and time on recruiting in-house security and dealing with crimes that went unmissed by unqualified guards.
Author Name: Aidan Dawes – I work for one of the leading nationwide security guarding companies in the United Kingdom,
Region Security Guarding.