Metrics for Success: Measuring Security Management Performance

Sept. 21, 2015
Risk prevention and response is a core competency in security management service excellence

Is there a visible commitment to operational excellence within your security vendor’s on-site team? How satisfied are you that your guard services contract has really effective and measurable quality and performance management requirements around prevention and response to incidents? 

Contract guards are the Security organization to the average visitor and employee at U.S. businesses today and their competence and quality is both critical and evident in their interactions.  The concept of operational excellence is important because in the more competitive markets these companies often struggle to find and retain quality staff to fill these shift-based programs and the Affordable Care Act is putting more pressure on margins.  It’s also an unfortunate fact that the market tends to set a standard that does not adequately drive excellence in these key areas of performance standards.

In my reviews of these operations, I find a wide variety of scope and performance-related detail in the contracts that are typically valued in the millions of dollars annually and stand out as the single largest line item in the Department’s budget.  Often based on these levels of expenditure, the application of more detailed contractual requirements and a Service Level Agreement (SLA) are provided as financial incentives to excel and penalties where performance is below a specified standard.

In this example, it is obvious that the security organization has established multiple contractual performance expectations related to incident response and management.  If you were to get pushback from the vendor on any of the measures, consider your alternatives. 

 Vendor’s team regularly assesses site risk and updates plans - Maintaining a thorough understanding of a site’s exposure to threat and risk is a fundamental responsibility of the Security organization.  Your vendor’s team needs to be at the center of this process.  They are the responders; they see and document the hazards 24/7 and [should] recognize anomalies and changes in the threat profile.

Response time & quality standards consistently meet or exceed targets - This one is a no-brainer.  You will have events that require your responders to get there fast and know what to do flawlessly when they arrive. And what company doesn’t have standards addressing regulatory, safety and information protection?  This is all about foreseeability and why we have established patrol plans and tour standards to ensure that officers and supervisors are being proactive around inspecting and identifying foreseeable hazards as well as addressing specified business needs.  

Your control center operation is a key element in qualitative response to risk events and customer service.  In this example the organization has established clear performance standards around call management, incident documentation, response assistance and situational awareness.

 We have to focus performance measurement squarely on the supervisors.  These are the contractor’s 24/7 on-site representative and the focal point for quality management and performance excellence.   In last month’s article, I spoke to their critical role around leadership and program administration.  Here, around incident prevention and response is where the results have to be consistently proven.  So measuring Supervisors for “consistent demonstration of knowledgeable and responsive leadership in non-routine, emergency and hazardous situations” is essential to all guard vendor service level agreements.  It is these (hopefully) few times that we have the best qualified Security resources to mitigate events and conditions that can impact lives as well as business resilience and reputation.

Good supervisors will ensure preparedness even if your contingency procedures have not specified a scenario.  After-action reviews should be an established routine after any notable event and what is learned about everything from vulnerability to procedures to training and more is totally worth the effort.  Similarly, exercises and drills ensure responsiveness and knowledgeable action when it is most needed.

Measuring your team’s performance in risk prevention and response is a core competency in security management and a central focus in service excellence.

About the Author

George Campbell

George Campbell is emeritus faculty of the Security Executive Council and former CSO of Fidelity Investments. His book, “Measures and Metrics in Corporate Security,” may be purchased through the Security Executive Council Web site. The Security Executive Council is an innovative problem-solving research and services organization that works with Tier 1 Security Leaders™ to reduce risk and add to corporate profitability in the process. A faculty of more than 100 experienced security executives provides strategy, insight and proven practices that cannot be found anywhere else. Through its pioneering approach of Collective Knowledge™, the Council serves all aspects of the security community. To learn about becoming involved, e-mail [email protected] or visit The information in this article is copyrighted by the Security Executive Council and reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.