Single service vs. bundled security – ‘Lots of opinions but very little evidence’

business-crimeNew research proves there is a “big information gap” which is preventing companies from having a complete understanding of different methods of providing security, claims Professor Martin Gill.

The Security Research Initiative Report entitled ‘Bundled versus Single Service Security: A Discussion’ was based on responses from clients and suppliers of security services on the issue of providing security as a ‘single service’ or part of a ‘bundle’ alongside other facilities management services.

The research looked at the benefits and drawbacks of the two different arrangements, but found several key issues which prevented suppliers and procurers from having a full grasp of either approaches.

According to the researchers, decisions often lacked a consistent, structured, measured or analytic approach. This indicated a need for more work to be done to showcase the real and potential cost savings that can be achieved by different approaches, to help clients and suppliers develop a strategic approach to security delivery.

Also, the use of terminology to describe outsourcing options was found to be ‘varied and inconsistent’ and that can hinder the success or failure of any strategy.

The research found key factors behind the outsourcing of security by clients included that they viewed security companies as experts in security and saw the practice as more cost-effective. They also found extra flexibility from using security contractors and said it enabled them to offset at least some of the liabilities of doing business.

business_dealHowever, clients which said they kept security in-house cited reasons including a lack of expertise in sub-contracting work and a view that contractors are not sufficiently competent. They also stated a liking for keeping control of security as they deemed it important to their organisation.

When it came to bundling, clients and suppliers favoured the practice as they felt it offered cost savings, financial flexibility, and less bureaucracy. They also said it provides greater efficiencies in delivery, facilities innovation and integration or technologies, and can, in some cases, deliver a better security service.

However, reasons for clients opting against the practice included a feeling that bundling security with other services could lead to security being undermined. Suppliers felt single service security was superior as it allows the client to choose the ‘best in class’ option and the management of single services can be more straightforward than complicated bundles.

Professor Martin Gill, director at Perpetuity Research & Consultancy International, and study leader, said the confusing terminology was “absolutely” hampering the development of strategic approaches to security delivery.

He added the most significant issue from the research was “there are lots of opinions but very little evidence to support the views being made”.

Gill said: “The jury is still out on whether the popularity of bundling in some places is a sign of new and better ways of working or a cyclical change brought about because in current times cost is often a priority over risk.

“There were strong supporters of some of the benefits of single service and some of bundling although not always on a strong evidence base. What this study has shown is that many organisations have an incomplete understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of providing security in different ways.”

Links
The study is available to download in full for free from:  www.perpetuityresearch.com/main.php

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