An Effective Security System is FREE

Security is an overhead expenditure, a burden and dent to the company profits, are the kinds of the expressions one keeps hearing in some organizations, particularly while producing company balance sheets for business reviews. The trend may be a bit lesser rampant in Security hazards prone areas, but even there when the situation remains calm for some time, such voices start surfacing. When one views the statistics of losses to the companies due to terrorism, other attacks, theft & pilferage, corruption, fraud, strikes/ other loss times, indiscipline of different kinds, accidents on sites/ while moving and related wastages, and the possible role the Security system can play to avoid these, one may think otherwise.

Terrorism and other violence are a menace in different parts of the present day world. The US businesses alone suffer some over ~50 Billion USD due to different workplace crimes. Lack of order and compliance are other issues leading to losses suffered. Many of the losses to the company can be gauged tangibly while others may be difficult to quantify. Many Security hazards like attacks on the site, aggressive gatherings by locals, strikes, etc. if averted due to a good mitigation strategy and effective Security system, would not accrue us data on the number of attempts which were never conducted since the potential target company had taken effective mitigation. Who would know as to how many times a terrorist attack or other violent attack, attempted theft/ robbery, etc. were only contemplated/ planned and not translated into actual action after seeing the effectiveness of the preparations/ mitigation strategy? In contrast, Loss-time injury (LTI) free time period could be a very credible gauge to rate an effective system of HSE and other operational compliances.

An effective system of Security would directly or indirectly contribute in different ways to avoid potential loss to the company. The magnitude of such losses averted or minimised can never be quantified, and hence the above-mentioned anomaly in realising the importance and ‘free status’ of Security. Following the age-old concept of, ‘every penny saved is a penny earned’, one can easily infer that Security perils avoided lead to tremendous savings to the company. Seeing the magnitude of hazards emanating out of weak or no Security system vis-à-vis the resultant dollar value of the loss would show that presence of effective and credible Security system in a company can rather save tremendous sums of money, much beyond the expenditure incurred on emplacing the security system.

Security managers at all tiers need an important commitment. One leading the Security system has to ensure focus on sincere, professional, candid and upright disposition & functioning rather than apple-polishing. The job at hand is so sensitive that any Security manager who is tentative or conscious of likes or dislikes of the management, is bound to fail miserably! Hence opinions and judgments have to be fairly, truthfully given, surely maintaining the professional decorum and polity  

A good system of a company should take care of the following aspect either directly or supportively:

  • Physical Security of offices, operational and residential sites based on the professional and documented Security risk assessment
  • Guarding of the mentioned and other sites having potential pilferage and loss
  • Technical Security system to the level of the company’s needs duly integrated in the overall Security management plan
  • Being present at all sites/ activities of the company actively assist in compliances like HSE and other operational SOPs (this requires appropriate training and grooming of the security personnel)
  • Watch-dogging important and high-value matters of the company, if and when desired by the company’s top management (this requires developing high level of trust and expertise, main areas being Corporate Services, Finance, Corporate Affairs, or any other area for contracts, Business Development, major payments, etc.)
  • Theft and fraud prevention as a generic subject
  • Fleet management and the related issues
  • Investigations of multiple dimensions, if mandated
  • At country Security level, develop and maintain regularly updated situation/security mosaics, collating all-available intelligence/ information at local, country and regional levels of  geo-politico-strategic developments to enable him/ her to render apt advice on current and future operations of the company
  • Monitor actively to help maintain discipline & order, community issues and unionism related dynamics as all these have the potential to escalate and become security issues
  • Develop good working know-how of work of technical/operational, corporate affairs, legal, corporate services, HSE, Admin and rather all spheres of the company so as to render ALL-OUT support to them in routine, or if specially asked for
  • Maintain good rapport with top management in-country as well as Security & other counterparts at Regional and Global levels of the Company/ conglomerate

In nutshell, a Security system worth its name and credibility can render support to the business in such a diverse manner. The day Security’s contribution to the business starts making the company realise that Security is a real necessity rather than a ‘waste’, you can consider that the security system emplace is ‘effective’, hence FREE to the company.

Author: M Zubair Chughtai

Muhammad Zubair Chughtai 193-E, Street 6, Askari-10, Lahore Pakistan Phone: +92-336-0011550 — E-Mail: — Summary Being a self-driven, result-oriented, change leader, skilled at articulating strategic road maps & execution models with broad experience in security management, integrated security & support services delivery, security risk management, loss prevention, investigations, business continuity, administration and general management, be a useful member of progressive outfits. Bringing my 35 years of military, corporate, cross-cultural-exposure, professional orientation and diversity to good use, be a dynamic team player and change agent. Experience Corporate Experience Jun 2010 - Mar 2019 • MOL Pakistan Country Head Security. Joined as Site Security Officer, promoted Security Coordinator in 8 months and Country Head Security since 2012 (reporting line – CEO in Pakistan and with technical reporting to the Corporate Security in Hungary). Performed following functions: Ø Security management of one drilling site to the entire country-level having ~50 major and minor sites spread over the entire Kohat Division, erstwhile FATA, Punjab and the company office in Islamabad Ø Liaison and intimate rapport with Government, LEAs (Armed forces/police & intelligence) and influential circles on important company/ Security matters in sync with Corporate Affairs Director Ø Rendered professional advice to the company top management & Corporate Office on managing company present and future operations within the prevailing Security climate/ challenges thereof Ø Intimate liaison and collaboration with all contemporary Level-2/3 managers on operational matters Ø Being member of Company Executive Board, rendered advice on top company level matters, issues and major Technical, Administration & Supply Chain management contracts for decision making Ø Direct administration of more than 1000 Security personnel (including 3 Lt Cols, 13 Majs and 4 other officers), which encapsulated contract management, relief/ rotation, performance management, etc Ø VIP protection at sites/ residences and on the move with elaborate technical security cover Ø Security management of over 20-25 convoys per day intra-area of operations in KP and also from/to Islamabad office under a well-documented journey management in close sync with Administration Ø Kept risks levels at ALARP through deployment of Security resources after due diligence including deliberate and documented Security risk assessment Ø Crisis management and BCM in the trying milieu of Pakistan. Providing inputs for future BD to include acquisition of new acreages in Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. Made some such areas in KP accessible for company operations, where even the Police and other LEAs was reluctant to deploy Ø Direct support in implementing HSE and other compliances through coaching of Security personnel at all sites. Many of my Security team members were often declared compliance and Safety champions and awarded Ø Documented training to include theoretical & practical crisis management and other mock exercises/ drills (security specific and general) in collaboration with operational teams and Security specific Ø Developed a wholesome Technical Security system of Multi-layered Technical Security to include Security Control Room, CCTVs including state of the art FLIR long-range cameras, HID CAS encrypted system both in office & the Field, Vehicle/ Personnel Tracking System, Pipeline surveillance system, Boosters for VHF communication, Emergency door alarm system - linked with e-mail/SMS, Electronic doors and barriers, etc N.B. Developed a proper concept of Security management system in the company during my initial years in MOL while holding all tertiary to the highest position of the newly organized Security department

9 thoughts on “An Effective Security System is FREE”

  1. One very senior professional commented on this article on another forum, “Nice way to lure in” witha wink….. I’m reproducing my reply to him here:

    Thanks for viewing my article. In my last assignment for a decade or so, the company spent almost 4-5 million USD OPEX every year on Security on my call. CAPEX was over and above this. I do realize that the magnitude of operations and the geographical span was quite large. But still I felt that this was huge expenditure. During my first three years every one complained that expenditure on security was to much. However, fourth year onwards, there was a unison in the top management both at country level and also in the corporate office in the Central Europe that this expenditure saved them much more than the incurred amount. Besides avoiding catastrophe on many occasions for to terrorism and other threats, even overall insurance premiums amounts were lowered considerably. The unanimous word, I’m proud to mention, was that this essential spending on Security, saved the company operations from humongous losses. I feel that this what effective security can do if emplaced sustainably.

  2. It’s very interesting that many organisations don’t make security a priority unless it’s too late. One of the pitfalls of not being forward-thinking, companies are very prone to lose more money than they would’ve invested in security. In 2019, another key feature is cybersecurity. Last week, three of my clients’ websites got hacked because of weak passwords and lack of two factor authentication setup. It is extremely important, now more than ever, to have a security infrastructure in place that takes care of all these issues, preempts all threats and deals with them proactively. Very well written piece indeed.

    1. Thanks for the views.
      Cyber-vulnerabilities are usually virtual in dimension hence very deep in perils these pose. Rightly pointed out. I shall be posting material on this threat as well.

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