A Security Consultant
A Security Consultant is a security professional well versed in security technology, security systems, security integration, threat assessment, physical security, and with exceptional security experience and who understands the need for continuous learning.
Given the virtual myriad of security systems and developing technology and sheer numbers of different security manufacturers, a good professional security consultant will also admit that they cannot possibly be an expert in all areas of security consulting. As such, the consultant will have available access to other consultants with specific expertise that may be required for a particular assignment.
DHS CSAT, SANDIA RAM, and CCPS SVA methodologies.
Experience is key in the Security Industry as good consultants, like all human beings, make mistakes but learn from those mistakes; understand which security manufacturers adequately support their respective systems and equipment; those that do sufficient field testing before releasing a new product/system, or new upgrade; have extensive knowledge of application failures, and most important, listen to what the client is requesting and implying.
Security consultants should also have first hand knowledge of the following:
- Electronic Access Control Systems & Technology
Inclusive of all types of readers such as proximity card, smart card, contactless access, cell phone access, and biometric devices.
Door hardware including electro-magnetic locks, electric strikes, electric bolt locks, exit mechanisms, door contacts, etc.
- Intruder Alarm Systems
- Video Surveillance Systems & Technology
Inclusive of IP, AI, Thermal, IR & Analog Cameras.
Camera Mounts, POE, NVR Technology, Video Analytics, etc.
- Full Integration of Access Control, Alarm & Video Surveillance Systems
- Integration with Electronic Lock Systems
- Video Management Systems
Inclusive of facial recognition, fingerprint readers, palm print readers, voice recognition and others.
- Security Monitoring Systems
Inclusive of latest virtual guard tour arrangements, available sources, and monitoring technology.
- Perimeter Control Systems
Requires thorough understanding of fencing, perimeter detection systems such as microwave, seismic, video motion, fence detection systems and appropriate applications.
- Identification Systems
Inclusive of employee identification, visitor identification, vehicle identification and asset identification.
- Gate Control Systems
Thorough knowledge of different gate control systems including swing gate, vertical gate, horizontal gate units and methods of triggering gate openings, and gate closings as well as operational distances to accommodate safe functioning of gates. Consultants should also be well versed in vehicle arrest systems where it is necessary to prevent vehicles forcing entry through gates.
- Computer Networks
In today’s security technology, it is imperative that security consultants have an extensive knowledge of and experience with computer networks. A majority of video surveillance systems, electronic access control and electronic locking systems operate on individual or shared computer networks as well as interacting with WiFi, Cellular and the Cloud.
- Security Intercom Systems
Inclusive of interaction with computer networks and VMS systems.
- Guard Service Operations
Security consultants should be aware of guard service offerings, both armed and unarmed and interaction with on-site security systems.
- Threat Analysis
Understanding the credible threat related to a facility is essential in assessing and developing appropriate protection systems for that facility, school, office complex, etc.
- Visitor Control Systems
Inclusive of integration with security management systems, utilization of contactless access control and more advanced biometric control devices.
- Command Centers
The ability to design effective command centers that can be operated by one to several persons in a controlled environment both swiftly and in a cohesive manner and which is customized to a given facility, school district, industrial complex, etc., is paramount to good security.
- Smart Phone Use in Security
Utilizing smart phone to monitor video surveillance remotely, electronic access control remotely, interact with intruder alarm systems, gate control systems and to use as an access device.
- Wireless Communication
Security consultants should be familiar with the distance limitations of wireless communication, particularly with video surveillance as well as problems with signal interference.
- Lockdown & Emergency Response Systems
Inclusive of classroom door systems, overall lockdown operations, and First Responder interaction.
- Shooter Detection Systems
Knowledge of current systems and integration with general security management systems and VMS operations.
- AI Technology
Important that consultants be up-to-date with AI technology and application within camera systems, identification systems and general security systems. As a final requirement and as already stated “experience is key,” security consultants should have extensive and wide-ranging experience of security installations, system design, system implementation, security practice, security legislation and working with integrators, general contractors, developers, security manufacturers and suppliers. All Wivenhoe consultants have a minimum of 25 years of experience in the security industry.
What do Security Consultants do:
A professional security consultant will be capable of the following assignments:
- Threat Assessment
Before developing specific security systems and measures, it is important to know what the credible threat level is for a facility as otherwise an organization could overreact or underreact in meeting an adequate level of protection.
- Security System Design
This involves understanding what security systems and measures are needed to protect a facility’s critical assets whether it be a simple video surveillance system or an advanced integrated security system.
- Preparation of Technical Specifications
The preparation of technical specifications for bidding purposes is an important function of a professional security consultant if done correctly. Too often bidders are given broad manufacturer specifications, no proper system description, limited equipment lists, no camera matrix, and limited or incorrect drawings. This results in bidder responses that are not “apples to apples,” wide ranging pricing and possible multiple change orders following award of contract.
- Preparation of an RFP (Request for Proposal) Package
The preparation and issuing of an RFP Package will involve comprehensive drawings, adequate and custom technical specifications, and clear bidder documentation. Bidder documentation accompanying technical specifications and technical drawings should include a Bid Form, Instructions to Bidders and Supplementary conditions.
- Security Audit
It is important to carry out a Security Audit on a semi-frequent basis where all security systems and measures are reassessed as to whether they are still effective, operating properly, and still providing an adequate level of protection. A security consultant can provide an unbiased, accurate, and professional assessment of all security systems with phased recommendations on possible changes or upgrades if required.
- Security System Commissioning
A critical role for any good consultant is to carry out the commissioning of an awarded contract for new or upgraded security systems, ensuring that all systems are fully operational and working as intended as well as meeting any technical specifications.
Commissioning is not something that should be left with the contractor where there is an obvious conflict of interest. It should be noted that even when an organization has invested in new security systems and measures and there is a security incident leading to legal problems, if the new system is not working correctly or did not meet specifications, it is likely to be considered a negligent liability on the part of the organization and may lead to punitive damages.
- Security Upgrades
Before investing in any new upgrade of security, it is always wise to involve an independent consultant to assess the upgrade and ensure it is in the best interest of the organization to proceed with that particular upgrade. It is possible that there is new technology or a different way to achieve the goal of the upgrade and perhaps less costly than that being considered.
- Product Test & Assessment
Professional security consultants typically have several years of experience within the security industry in different positions and at different levels where they have been exposed to system installation, system test, proper and improper application of security systems and devices in varying environments and infrastructure. As a result, they can be invaluable to manufacturers seeking to bring a new system or device to market. By testing and assessing the item in question for a manufacturer, they can prevent a manufacturer investing considerable time and effort trying to introduce a new system or device that may have a flaw in its design or application.
- Marketing Assistance
In a similar vein to that above concerning the testing and assessment of a new system or device, experienced security consultants may undertake to provide valuable insights to a manufacturer who is considering some form of security entity acquisition or looking to move into a somewhat different segment of the security industry than they are accustomed to. In both areas referred to above, professional security consultants should be careful in avoiding possible conflicts of interest with very clear scope of work for an assignment.
In summary and particularly given the negligent liability trend in the U.S. involving companies and individuals in a security situation, it behooves all organizations big and small to seek professional assistance when assessing their security and possible changes in the organization or infrastructure.