04-17-2012, 09:45 AM #1
Get With It: Disaster Preparedness
For security firms, disaster preparedness has two facets:
1. For the sake of your own business continuity. This is an imperative, not an option.
2. As a value-add opportunity for your clients. This is an option bordering on an imperative.
Every security executive should be expert in disaster-related aspects or implications related to the protective subdomain (access control, guard services, CCTV, etc.) that he serves. Whatever services you provide, whatever equipment you install, disasters can take them out and take them down - and you along with them.
That's the downside motivator, or the stick.
The upside, or the carrot, is that few if any of your competitors think about disasters very much at all. I just completed a review of nearly 40 security-related websites, both service and equipment providers, and not one of them mentioned disaster preparedness or planning other than an occasional reference to "strike services".
Not one of them stated that they were a member of the National Preparedness Coalition so I presume they're not.
Before doing that, I reviewed the post orders at seven different sites served by five different companies, and although there were occasional brief nods to disaster planning (i.e., general evacuation procedures or small-fire procedures), not one of them had any annexes or sections related to specific disasters such as toxic chemical releases, floods, damaging wind storm, civil disorder, prolonged electrical outages, etc.). Specific types of disasters call for specific procedures, and they must be tailored to the specific client. What's more, not one of the sites had contact information, website URLs, or telephone numbers for the local Emergency Management authority. But hey - that's okay. Just grab the phone book when it floats or blows by and look it up when you need it, right?
To a large extent, security firms seem to be MIA when it comes to disasters despite the obvious relationship to what we do. I regard these failures as coming very close to professional malpractice on the one hand, but also as a marvelous opportunity for differentiating your firm from your competition.
Authorities report that 40% of all small businesses that sustain a disaster never reopen their doors, and don't think that your clients don't worry about disasters, because they do. If they don't discuss this with you, it's because you haven't positioned yourself in this particular protective space. They don't know that you can help them with this problem.
Or can you?
Disaster planning, preparedness and business continuity are each somewhat different, but related, layers of the onion that translate into services that you can provide.
Or can you?
And if not, why not? Attaining a level of knowledge and even expertise in all of these areas is quite readily within your grasp.
And they translate to services and products you can sell to your clients while adding vastly to your usefulness to them.
I don't get it. We turn on the news or pick up a newspaper nearly every day and hear or read about more and more disasters of one kind or another, just like our clients do. Why don't we get it?
WHY DOESN'T THIS TRANSLATE INTO OUR OWN BUSINESS OPERATIONS FOR THE SAKE OF OUR OWN SURVIVABILITY, AND INTO OUR VALUE CHAIN FOR OUR CLIENTS TO HELP THEM SURVIVE??
Has it never occurred to you that if your clients don't survive a disaster, or suffer significant financial losses that reduce their discretionary spending capacity, you're going to lose all or part of that revenue??!! Can you survive while your clients collapse?
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE: A free webinar hosted by FEMA on the role of the private sector in disaster planning and preparedness - April 24 at 2 PM Eastern, 1 PM Central, 12 PM Mountain, 11 AM Pacific.
Here's the link for signing up - and PLEASE READ IT NOW because there's some homework here for you to do PRIOR to the webinar as you will be expected to have some familiarity with certain other information:
If nothing else, you'll start to get an idea how to prepare your own business to survive, and that should be reason enough.
And oh, yes: You who are consultants in any of the security domains, I hope you'll be there as well.
Last edited by SecTrainer; 04-17-2012 at 10:10 AM."I don't mind that they stole my ideas. I mind that they have none of their own." - Nikola Tesla
05-07-2012, 10:18 AM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
- Northern Colorado
SecTrainer, you bring up a very good point here. Disaster Preparedness (along with the terms Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, etc) is a very critical part of physical security. Pick up any BC / DR trade journal and you will see them mention (even if only briefly) the need for companies to include plans for physical security during an emergency or other critical incident. Obviously the nature of the incident determines how involved will be or what extra measures security needs to take, but none the less the need exsists. Some companies (especially those in the financial district and other regulated industries) are starting to require vendors to prove that they, the vendor, have a BC plan in place. If a company can prove to a potential client that not only do they have a BC Plan in place, but they have competent managers that can help the client integrate physical security needs into the planning process you will be a step above the rest.
Some additional resources that are free include;
American Red Cross Ready Rating;
While this is not an acredited program like the PS-Prep or the ISO programs are. If a company goes through this process and then places the Ready Rating logo on their website, etc (IAW the Ready Rating Program rules), it will show prospective clients how your company has committed to being prepared.
FEMA Independent Study;
There are numerous courses from FEMA that talk about Incident Command System, NIMS and there is a serious of courses that will in the end help you become a Continuity Of OPerations (COOP) program manager amongst other emergency management related training. You can even find courses that talk about instructional skills, leadership and influence and more.