Between 2010 and 2019, the investment in privacy and security companies jumped nearly sixfold from $1.7 billion to close to $10 billion. Why?
New security threats — like malware, programmable “master keys” to physical and digital doors, fraud, political unrest, and more — make it hard for a security team to cultivate a robust corporate security program and navigate this changing landscape mention implementing corporate security best practices. The task becomes even more challenging with a small team — or worse, no security team.
A reported 75% of U.S. companies with $5 billion in sales have fewer than 25 security professionals, leaving them increasingly open to new corporate security threats. As a result, more companies recognize their vulnerabilities and take active steps to minimize their risk. (If you don’t have a corporate security program or are unsure how to create one, start here). One of these is understanding the crucial role corporate security plays.
When determining the methods and tools you use to protect your physical and digital assets — including property, people, and data — corporate security best practices are “best” for a reason: The more you understand and incorporate them into your security efforts, the stronger your risk management defenses are. (Learn more about what corporate security is and how it functions here.)
In particular, three best practices help turn corporate security considerations from vague to actionable. They keep your company safe by using data to regularly confirm why a corporate security program or program improvements are needed, showing how to apply security as an all-team effort, and sharing ways to combat some top risks facing your security team.
1. Regularly Evaluate Your Company’s Corporate Security Needs
Knowing why your company needs a corporate security program can fully inform your team, align strategic goals across departments, and minimize unknown risks. Accomplish these goals by aligning your business strategy with data to prove — or reconfirm — why your corporate security program needs attention. This is key to providing a metric-based foundation to prove flaws and measure potential growth. You can do it in three steps and should regularly follow this corporate security best practice to make sure you recognize new security needs and continue to meet existing ones.
Step A: Turn your security risks into provable data
This step shows the risks your existing—or nonexistent—corporate security program poses. You can prove this risk by conducting a detailed review of your business strategy and any information about the safety or security of your employees, brand, or product. The review will reveal potential security weaknesses you can clearly assess, showing why a new or better corporate security program is needed.
For example, a bank has a security system and walk-through metal detector to deter effectively armed robbers but lacks a hidden emergency alert button behind the counter. Using statistics and probability, one might determine the provable metric that this flaw leaves the bank staff and patrons in four times more danger than if an alert button was installed.
Step B: Quantify the new data points
Next, use your new risk metrics to consider the intangible and direct costs to recover from an incident. Consider a potential bank break-in again. If an alert button is not installed, what facility damage, stolen funds, and potentially hurt or traumatized people could result? Then, you can determine whether the potential costs are significant enough to implement preventative controls — like that hidden alert button — once you truly understand the risk.
Step C: Use the metrics to get support for your security program
Once you’ve determined the areas of risk that pose a severe threat to your company, it’s time to get support for improvements to solve those problems. Ensure and maintain executive buy-in for your corporate security program by using your provable data to focus on risk — and how to mitigate it — from a business perspective. You’re far more likely to win support for improvements when you can present not just problems but solutions to your leadership team.
2. Integrate Corporate Security as a Company-Wide Practice
Implementing corporate security company-wide turns it from a siloed function into an effective, all-team effort. Total cooperation is critical because even the most robust corporate security program will fail without adequate support or enforcement from your leaders and team.
You manage risk more effectively by using risk intelligence to guide risk management processes throughout company teams and functions. This might look like recognizing cutting-edge security risks and putting proactive risk management measures in place instead of responsive ones. For example, risk intelligence reports could tell you that other companies in your industry are experiencing increased after-hours theft. That valuable information empowers your team to take preventative measures, like installing extra video surveillance or motion sensors, to minimize that risk.
There’s also a strong link between your corporate culture and security compliance. The stronger your corporate culture is, the more likely this corporate security best practice is to be accepted and integrated. However, integrating corporate security as a company-wide practice must start from the top. Why?
People follow the models they’re given. If your CEO locks their office door each night and takes care to log out of their password-protected device, it’s more likely that your team members will, too. So, start by training your executives and department leads on corporate security procedures and expectations. Then, expand that training to the rest of your teams, knowing you have leaders to exemplify and enforce these practices.
Consider this resource for more information on the value of company-wide security and how to implement it.
3. Establish Clear Plans to Combat Some Top Security Risks
Every company has unique security vulnerabilities that leave it open to attacks. You should evaluate your company’s security needs to know the risks you face. Once you know those risks, you can then make plans to protect against those risks. These four risks, in particular, pose increased threats because of the direct and lasting impact they would have on your larger company.
Sabotage and vandalism
Vandalism costs include business interruptions, potential repairs, lost sales, and costing your company money during damage control. This can create long-term, adverse effects for your business. The first step to prevent physical sabotage and vandalism, like graffiti, facility damage, and property theft, is to use in-person security to protect the premises. If your company doesn’t have physical assets or an in-person security team, firewalls, passwords, and other office security like access keycards can help keep your people and data safe.
Kidnapping, ransoms, extortion (KRE), and hostage situations
Though rare, it’s estimated that 200—300 Americans are kidnapped outside the US each year. These situations put people in direct danger and can quickly become a “worst-case scenario.” The best way to be ready for these events is to outline a detailed recovery plan — complete with who is involved in each step of the process and how — to help your team know how to respond if a crisis arises. This plan should be specifically tailored to your company and organization structure. Consider consulting law enforcement and government agencies, security companies, or your internal PR and security teams to cover all critical avenues.
Protests and direct action
No two protests are the same; they can quickly turn from peaceful to violent if mishandled or allowed to grow without the preventive measures to keep them in line. “Keeping the peace” is simpler by outlining security procedures and making everyone in your organization aware of how to handle a potential protest. Understanding the reason for a protestor’s direct action and acknowledging their concerns also go a long way toward de-escalating the situation and should be considered in your plan. Again, you may want to consult other parties to ensure your response is thorough.
Like KRE situations, proactive preparation can also help lessen the effect of incidents. Have clear emergency protocols and train your team to respond calmly in a terrorism incident. It’s also helpful to know the local emergency agencies and crisis response teams who can quickly arrive on the scene.
While this article only touches on the primary threats to your corporate security, take a deeper dive by reading Resolver’s full article on primary threats to learn how effectively combatting them lets you focus on growth.
Corporate Security: Your Next Step Toward Growth
Your business can’t grow when it’s forced to spend time and energy addressing security risks roadblocking its success. Corporate security best practices reduce the number of security incidents your company experiences. Fewer risk events require less funding for incident response. This empowers your company to move from reactive threat response to proactive planning. Then, you can allocate those same funds toward more productive goals like lead generation, product manufacturing, improvement, and most importantly, growth.
Ready to turn your newfound knowledge of corporate security best practices into an actionable map to your team’s future growth? Resolver’s Maturity Model for Corporate Security offers a clear, applicable, and measurable process to help security teams of any size scale their programs.
Leverage this model to optimize your security operations further and elevate your security team from a siloed department to an all-team effort that actively combats your top threats. It also includes the five stages of corporate security maturity, more detailed best practices and expertise from industry leaders, and other tools to make your corporate security efforts more successful.
Download your FREE copy of the maturity model, or check out our other corporate resources to learn more.