How corporate security can help achieve business growth
By Mark Haydock, Managing Director at EDP – the right approach
With the fast changing global landscape shifting the structure and pace of corporate life, both in the way businesses operate and the environments they work in, security risks are ever more complex.
We live and operate in a world of rich and diverse cultures, most of them very unlike our own, and globalisation means we’re working in far riskier areas, which we may not understand or trust as much as we would like to. Threats such as fraud, hacking and terrorism are a reality - and can break a business if not tackled head on.
Thankfully, most organisations appreciate how fundamental the role of corporate security can be to the success of their business, and there has been a marked shift in security from simply protecting companies to being the source of competitive advantage.
For instance, security measures play an important role in helping companies to think more broadly when entering new markets and extending supply chains. In addition, having high levels of corporate security in place could give you the freedom to enter markets you may not have considered before and also may be the deciding factor on whether other markets choose to work with you.
So what exactly is corporate security?
Corporate security identifies and effectively mitigates or manages, at an early stage, any developments that may threaten the resilience and continued survival of an organisation and its most valuable asset – its employees. In its wider context, it also refers to the practice of protecting customers, physical property and information systems.
Importantly, corporate security should not be seen as a standalone function, but be recognised as having the ability to work with and enhance other areas of the business such as corporate governance and regulation, corporate social responsibility and overall safety assurance.
CORPORATE SECURITY INTEGRATED ACROSS THE BUSINESS
Security strategies, procedures and protocols must be developed to ensure close coordination of all functions within the organisation that are concerned with security, continuity and safety.
There are three key areas with which businesses must align their ‘security’ in order for it to be a success.
When, ultimately, corporate security – or lack of it – can affect an organisation’s bottom line and reputation, there is every reason to argue that it should be high up on every board agenda.
Security is both a strategic and operational activity and organisations need to define the areas needing a security strategy. By developing a corporate security risk assessment, organisations can ensure safe working practices for all employees and the business as a whole.
HR & Safety and Health Management:
Setting in place a portfolio of responsibilities and safe working practices will change the traditional view of what ‘security measures’ mean within organisations.
Many organisations are still using a traditional, defensive approach to corporate security, which is now perceived as a dis-enabler of business. This culture of enforcement with strict working practices tends to be risk averse.
The other approach, as an enabler of business, involves establishing a change management culture to security best practices, setting in place the methods of communicating and supporting these practices within the day-to-day working environment. In this day and age, the security function must be able to keep pace with a company’s changing environment and fully understand their role of allowing their company to take risks rather than eliminate them.
When it comes to corporate security, forward thinking companies will start to shun risk averse traditional approaches and adopt one that understands businesses must take calculated risks to stay ahead of competitors, break into new markets and maximise profits. They will also use a security team with diverse skills – including business acumen and specialism in security and risk mitigation - rather than simply relying on traditional security backgrounds.
Third Party Supply Chain:
Supply chain security risk measures in reviewing and assessing the supplier relationships and their security risk procedures, is equally critical to the organisations’ overall risk management policy and procedures and how this impacts on its customers and the public.
Many point to the effect 9/11 had on corporate security, with the function becoming more integral to the business process afterwards.
We are progressing, but there still needs to be a greater appreciation of the need for security as a core function of a business and a greater understanding of how improved security measures can impact it.
Ultimately, establishing a security function that embraces an organisation’s business goals and strategies can play an important role in shaping policy and public regulations, thereby maintaining a competitive edge and a fair playing field.
If you think you need a corporate security function, there should be no excuses as to why you don’t have one.
EDP works with organisations to develop a service that delivers ‘the right approach’ for their security needs; an approach that develops with their business over time and can adapt and respond to the fast changing global security landscape. Read a case study here on how EDP worked with a global organisation to support their security and investigation operations.