Proficient operational security management

September 2019 Security Services & Risk Management

The quest to establish an organised and integrated security operations programme based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle for continuous improvement is paramount for a successful security operation. A PDCA framework establishes efficiency, implementation, monitoring, reviewing and improvement and is critical, whether you are in the security service sector, an in-house practitioner or need comfort that your service partner is performing to agreed standards.

The security operations programme is an ongoing governance process, supported by top management and resourced to ensure the necessary steps are taken for a successful security programme. To this end, security managers should analyse critically what the key contributory factors are to the core business which they protect. This will clarify their role to ensure that the business objectives are achieved.

Once this process is complete, the first critical success area (CSA), namely ‘leadership’, can be established. This CSA will define the security strategy, policy, code of conduct and mission.

The second CSA is ‘people’. The security function can never be successful without competent and willing teams. The direction of the team is entrenched through clearly defined objectives. At this point of designing the programme, the notion and structure of your human resources must follow strategy to provide a clear picture of how the team should be comprised. A host of subset elements provide further criteria for this CSA.

The third CSA is ‘operations’. This is the heartbeat of the integrated programme. Every sub-category is actively involved with the proactive approach to risk mitigation, prevention of crime and ultimately the protection of assets.

‘Assurance’ and ‘quality’ make up the fourth leg in this process. Too often, good procedures, processes and other control parameters are implemented; however, the wheel of surety is not complete unless the processes have been subjected to oversight inspections and audits to establish the real value addition to the organisation, and consequently the success of the programme as a whole.

The fifth CSA is ‘technology’ in various forms and is in demand in modern security. This is crucial, especially if the planned programme demands proactive measures for crime prevention. However, the primary measurements from such systems must not only satisfy proactive measures, but also demonstrate the ability to report leading indicators rather than lagging these indicators.

In the world of the security owner, manager or advisor, the ability to provide security services not exceeding budgeted costs is key for success. The sixth CSA therefore addresses ‘costs’. Regular Lean Six Sigma approaches to all security processes identify the main elements of waste. This is coupled with key expenditure to ensure ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable) spend is achieved.

Finally, the seventh and equally crucial CSA is ‘investigation’ and ‘surveillance’. This area in the programme provides constant information for key decision makers to decide the proactive direction of the programme. This includes control room management as well as the direction and command of frontline offices.

Each CSA should be equipped with a primary metric for performance management; each metric is then measured and performance compliance discussed.

An integrated security management programme should be seen as a process of continuous improvement. The owners, management and leaders should constantly review the efficiency of the programme and make adjustments suitable to their business objectives and needs.

For more information contact Kevin van Zyl, Horizon Risk Solutions, +27 76 801 5639,

Kevin van Zyl.
Kevin van Zyl.

Kevin van Zyl is the managing director of Horizon Risk Solutions. He has been successful in the implementation of a programme based on the above principles since 2013. The programme has made positive change to management teams as well as the greater security operation, ultimately contributing to the success of the core business.

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