Employing the services of an independent security consultant possesses several advantages: an unbiased point of view; a fresh viewpoint on old issues; as well as innovative views and solutions produced from an extensive record of experiences.
However, just like any significant security and safety decision, its best to conduct extensive research as well as to make inquiries beforehand. At first glance, using the services of a security and safety consultant for institutions and businesses to develop your current security plans and methods while reducing your security threats and vulnerabilities may look like a somewhat simple decision process for a business. However basic this project may look like, consideration needs to be shown when selecting a security and safety consultant.
These questions are important to ask, once you have decided to hire a security consultant. Check out this post to decide if you need the services of an independent security consultant.
Check out the Guidelines for hiring a security consultant
Listed below are some fundamental questions that we recommend for you to ask about your business and regarding the security consultant you plan to seek the services of:
- Is my organization really willing to make changes?
Your security consultant may ultimately recommend some significant changes in equipment, personnel, or procedures. Do you have commitment from your executive and/or lay leadership to spend the time and money needed to make changes? Will they back you up long term, especially when difficulties arise, such as employee resistance to change or challenges from shareholders? Will they follow-through?
- Does this consultant know my industry and particularly the needs of my community?
Analyzing threats for your particular organization or institution may be very different from evaluating dangers at other facilities and organizations. For example, violent, often deadly attacks are being perpetuated against the Jewish community, including children. The dangers posed to synagogues and other Jewish institutions are a matter of record. Therefore, while there may be some common issues with many religious institutions, there are enough significant differences that specialized experience and knowledge are crucial, particularly knowledge of anti-terrorism vs. crime prevention as well as an understanding of the special concerns of the Jewish community.
- Are there competing or conflicting interests at work?
Some consultants are truly independent, representing neither a particular company nor a particular technology solution. Others, however, may be using their consulting services as a door opener to sell particular products and services you may or may not need but for which a consultant may collect commissions or other fees.
- Will you be independent or dependent when the project ends, meaning with the assessment process include justification and rationale for the recommended security changes?
The ideal consultant will not only help you solve the current problem but also equip you with skills and knowledge to begin to tackle the next one. You may not be able to solve all future problems on your own, but you should know enough to begin preparing ideas.
- Will the consultant’s services include training seminars, materials, or other extras to use with the staff?
No doubt you’ll need to educate others within your organization about your new security procedures and changes. The consultant should have the skills and abilities to conduct implementation and follow-on training as required.
- How comprehensive is the consultant’s knowledge and approach?
In some cases, you’re hiring a consultant to solve a specific problem. Using a consultant that has a broader perspective, however, means possibly identifying and solving problems you may not have considered before.
- Who’s on the case?
You might have a highly experienced, senior consultant make the pitch to get your business. But will you ever see that expert again after you’ve signed on the dotted line or will your job be relegated to junior staff? Make sure you get the experience you pay for.
- What are the steps in the evaluation, planning, and implementation process the consultant will use?
Is it a cookie-cutter approach or are the consultant’s methodologies customized to your organization? For example, some security consultants use a cookbook checklist originally designed for another application, which is now relegated to being a catchall assessment used for every facility.
- How does the security consultant meet reporting requirements?
Make sure that you discuss exactly what it is you require from the consultant as a reporting deliverable (or series of deliverables) for your security assessment. For example, do you want the consultant to deliver the final report in a written form that may be discoverable through the Freedom of Information Act? Or would your requirements be better served by having the consultant give you an oral presentation of your vulnerabilities? Make sure these requirements are settled at the start of the project.
- Can the security consultant offer advice on implementation and training?
To ensure consistency in the transition from mediation recommendations to security systems implementation, it is best to ensure that your security consultant will be able to provide technical training for new security policies, procedures, and systems implemented as a result of your facility risk and vulnerability assessment. After you’ve gone through this “deceptively simple, yet endlessly complicated” process – from hiring a competent security contractor to implementing the contractor’s recommendations – the most important question remaining is, when do I start this process all over again? As your security consultant can tell you, the answer to that question is right away.