Property Managers & Security
Property managers, building security goals, tenant security needs, balancing technology and people, avoiding surprises, security costs and ROI
Defining Building Security
Security is a mindset that “encompasses security technology, security people, tenants, and geography.”
Different locations require multiple strategies, “For instance, in a downtown Phoenix office building, I expect to see cameras, a guard desk, or both. If I don’t, I’ll have questions about security. Then again, you might see less security in buildings located in surrounding cities and northern Arizona.”
Security needs balance; different clients expect different kinds of security. “One client may want you to manage visitors carefully to guard against theft or workplace violence, while other cautions against a system so strict that tenants and employees feel uncomfortable. You have to balance these desires.
“You also have to balance security people and security technology. While we all rely on technology, it is important to have enough security people to make judgments about and to act on the data produced by VSS-Trax our real-time reporting technology.”
Security surprises can be maddening! There are many difficulties of integrating base building security & technology.
“Everyone says open buildings makes the integration of access control impossible. But even open systems sometimes don’t share enough key data points to allow effective integration.” “When you’re buying technology, you must ask very specific questions about integration.”
A security officer’s knowledge level about technology can surprise a property manager as well. “When we first began integrating VSS-Trax, half of our officers didn’t know how to use the software.” “We incorporated specific training to make sure that all officers were trained before we installed new equipment.”
The Cost of Security
Property managers agree that buildings must execute a security strategy adequate to the task of mitigating a building’s security risks.
Depending upon the prevailing market rents for particular classes of buildings in certain locations, a property manager may or may not be able to recover security costs through rents.
The consequence is that you must have an appropriate level of security for the type of building, location, and client or you will not be able to lease the building. If you can’t cover the cost in the rent, you have to pay for it!
Return on Investment
The cost of security and the difficulties connected to recovering security costs in rents has led property managers to seek ways of creating a security ROI.
“In the long run, security is part of a building’s amenities.” “It increases the marketability of the property. New technology and top-notch guards give me a competitive advantage. That’s how I look at ROI.”
Technically, though, ROI means investing and earning a profit or return. For instance, today’s access control technology can integrate with environmental controls so that a building system can turn on heat or air conditioning in an office when someone cards in after hours or on weekends. The ROI comes from savings on utility bills.
“Security can sometimes offer opportunities to produce an ROI”. “But you have to be careful to take advantage of those opportunities without compromising security. Security has to come first, and sometimes a necessary security execution won’t produce ROI simply because it can’t.”