Finding the Best Physical Security Consultants - Everything you Need to Know
If you are just starting out with access control, you might be thinking about hiring a physical security consultant to help with your access control project.
In case you are a smaller company, often the installer can act as some sort of security consultant as well to get the basics covered. Should you not have any special restrictions or requirements around your security, that might do the job.
However if you are a larger company or have deeper needs in physical access control you might want to think about hiring a physical security consultant. The interesting thing that most people don't know: These consultants also write your specs to get bids from integrators for your security system. Not to sell consultants here, but they could save you money or time.
They probably have better installers at hand to distribute your bid to, than you can dig up on yelp. In fact the best installers don't even consider working with someone they don't know. If you don't come recommended, they just don't work with you.
Security Consultant vs Security Advisor
These days a lot of security advisors are offering low cost reviews to recommend products that could fix some of those security issues discovered. If you consider hiring a security consultant, make sure it is an independent security consultant. Sometimes titles like Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Physical Security Professional (PSP) or Certified Security Professional (CSP) are pointing at a somewhat more trustworthy consultant. Many belong to the International Association of Professional Security Consultants (IAPSC).
Physical Security Survey & RFP
When choosing a security consultant you need to make sure to select someone who is focused in physical security surveys since security consultant can mean many things:
IAPSC provides a directory with a list of security consultants which should make it easier to find a qualified physical security consultant. They also provide a sample Security Risk Assessment RFP (Request for Proposal)
Why hire a physical security consultant?
There are many small reasons why people hire a physical security consultant. From being able to move a project faster to added security assurance, here are the main reasons:
I'd say the main reason to hire a physical security consultant is for security analysis and planning purpose which usually takes time during the day that a full-time worker might not have. Other reasons we've seen:
- New insight without pre-occupied opinions. In a company sometimes you accept the most obvious things and don't think about changing them unless someone from outside comes in and sees those things.
- The consultant knows the benchmarks and best practices of other organizations in your size. Most problems especially in security are relatively abstract and shared across a lot of companies who found an answer to that problem before.
- By being in the industry and hearing the latest trends and developments, the consultant mostly has very up to date know-how and insights.
- The consultant assumes a "neutral" position who can recommend objective advise without the fear of political issues or even making enemies.
- By not having to work on other projects, the consultant is less likely to be side-tracked by other tasks that an in-house security manager would have.
- Due to the experience in writing and presentation, the security consultant can possibly communicate the findings and strategy better than an in-house security manager.
- The sheer amount of experience with exactly the same topic of security assessments is a unique advantage because speaking out of experience and best practices can help a lot in knowing what security issues are critical or which are normal and probably less immediate.
- The technical experience the security consultant acquired or has in form of colleagues or other vendors is unique in a sense that it could be more specific when compared to general security knowledge, e.g. designing a security facility plan, developing an RFT for a new access control systems are standard situations that the consultant can do very quickly.
- Added authority: When speaking in front of management the security consultant can help pitch a certain problem or solution to the team. Senior consultants might be more accepted by management because of their age.
Where do I find a security consultant?
At Kisi we are no security consultants, but here a few ones we've heard companies work with:
- Engineering consultants are a great choice: Very close to the facilities topic and very hands on in access control consulting. Robert Derector Associates is an example in New York City that is very popular.