A successful security program demands deep insight into the current threat landscape. It also requires a strategic approach to managing the cost and complexity of the security technologies respective to your challenges. But with the wide variety of current and emerging security threats that exist, FFLs who attempt to design their own physical security system often lack the in-house resources required to adequately protect inventory and assets around the clock.
To support a cost-effective, robust and proactive security posture, one that displays a strong impression of control (to customers, staff and criminals looking for a target), more and more FFLs are investing in professional consultation, typically available from reputable security service providers. Such an investment is important to consider when setting up or updating your protection systems, because too many firearms dealers, range operators and manufacturers:
- Lack the in-house capabilities required to properly manage changing business demands, new technologies, compliance mandates and emerging threats for strategic implementation of new security solutions.
- May not have the capability to effectively design, monitor and manage the security infrastructure to help achieve optimal use of security system assets
- Depend on older or cheaper security tools and technologies that provide a minimally reactive, rather than a proactive, approach to mitigating risk, preventing thefts and reducing loss.
- Lack the resources and expertise to gather and analyze security intelligence about current and emerging threats related to local robberies and burglaries
This isn’t a denigration of any one FFL’s savviness when it comes to security technology. Bottom line is you can’t know it all. As an FFL, you should know inventory, profit margins, staff management and other day-to-day business skills that make your store hum. Do you need to know how your security system works? Yes—but that doesn’t mean you must be an expert in security system technology and design.
By outsourcing security design consulting or utilizing a reputable vendor, FFLs can take advantage of the expert skills, tools and processes these service providers offer and significantly enhance security without making a large investment in technology and resources on their own and which most likely be coordinated to their best potential to provide optimum security.
Six Keys to a Wise Security System Investment
The are six keys to consider when preparing to invest in security systems and upgrades and selecting a provider. They are:
- Have you conducted an extensive evaluation of your security requirements? Such a survey should include exterior and interior vulnerabilities, structural materials, penetration points and safeguards, as well as detection systems and physical barriers to prevent access to firearms. A seasoned security consultant will know what to look for and what questions to ask specific to your location and geographical area.
- Select a consultant that understands the security measures with which you must comply to meet local and state FFL requirements.
- Based on recommendations, determine which security requirements you will procure initially to sure-up and remedy critical vulnerabilities versus which projects should be tackled later,
- Request your consultant to investigate whether your alarm monitoring service and security camera providers are equipped with relevant technologies, certifications, licenses and permits that demonstrate the provider’s capabilities to deliver state-of-the-art support.
- Discuss options with your consultant for purchasing versus leasing equipment and the pros and cons of each as they support your long-term success, growth and possible future system expansion or upgrades.
- Use your network referrals! The best process for selecting a consultant and new security systems includes asking for referrals and recommendations from your industry-aligned colleagues and other business acquaintances who can strongly support (or not) the knowledge, technology proposals and continued support from providers that meet your specific needs and budget. If referrals are not available from businesses like yours, be sure to at least request referrals from the vendor’s other recent customers as well as the NSSF. This is critical to your process.
Those six recommendations will get you started, but keep in mind that changing regional threats to FFLs will cause your security needs to continually evolve. Your security services partners should offer ongoing assessment and support that can help keep you protected ahead of these threats. To meet your budget and unique protection requirements, choose providers that provides multiple service levels. The NSSF has supported many members through this process over the years and continues to provide experienced experts to support your needs.
This concludes my series on security cameras and how they relate to your overall security setup. Remember that the NSSF Security Consultant Team, as well as NSSF’s many Affinity Member Benefits partners, can provide world-class services, products and technologies that address risk across each spectrum of your business while helping you reduce costs, improve service and manage risk. To learn more, log in the Members-only side of www.nssf.org and view your available Affinity Member Benefit Partners.