Case Study:  Security Integration


Situation

A government defense contractor was considering integrating two of its separate security functions. One provided physical and corporate security and the other provided special security services pursuant to its contractual obligations with the government. The company believed it might be possible to increase security effectiveness and efficiency simultaneously through consolidation. Bellwether was retained as an objective third party to review the existing programs and make an overall recommendation.  


Approach

Given that several defense contractors had recently integrated similar security functions, Bellwether proposed a benchmarking methodology for these and to determine their experiences and compare them to those of other industry peers that had not undertaken integration initiatives. A group of 10 companies with similar security programs in national defense and related industries were invited to participate in the study.  A comprehensive internal review of our client’s two security functions was completed and the information provided was used to prepare a structured interview guide that could be used to populate a comparative database. Extensive in-person interviews were conducted with each of the participating companies due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. 

Analysis & Results

Many of the companies interviewed had an integrated model and talked to advantages experienced in staffing, management and overall effectiveness.  Some had considered integration but chosen a highly cooperative approach instead.  Very few cited significant disadvantages to integration.  Our client’s business was, however, considerably more sensitive than that of most of the participants and, as a result, cost efficiencies were a far less important driver than to larger companies.  Upon further analysis, it became clear that some of the advantages enjoyed by integrated companies could be achieved through formal cooperation.  Consequently, the optimal solution was to retain separate management structures but interact jointly on many more issues than in the past. 

Benefits to Client

Our recommendations were accepted and approved for implementation.  A corporate security council was created with representatives from all security functions at the company and charged with responsibility for the company’s overall security strategy.  All administrative security processes were consolidated where possible and reductions in cycle times achieved.  An integrated customer interface was created so that customers could address security matters in one place, as opposed to several, and this greatly enhanced visitor processing and improved the third-party experience. Security awareness briefing, training and cross-training were carried out jointly and significantly enhanced both the morale of the security staff as well as the all around knowledge about the company’s overall security program.