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Proprietary vs. Contract Security

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  • Pages: 5
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  • Category: Security

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Proprietary security is where by a business organization takes the responsibility to hire and train its own staff to provide security to the company’s assets, where as contract security the business organization vests the security provision responsibilities on the company’s assets to a different agency. When a security in a business organization is an issue of concern, the main challenge to the company is whether to make use of proprietary in-house security or use the contract security. The organization bears in mind the cost of hiring the security and the end value of the rendered services by the vendor. Contract security services in most case have proved to be cheaper when compared with the proprietary security, but the in-house security force proves to perform better in many organizations. The proprietary securities have gone to and extend of proving value added services to the elements of the organization. Examples of these services include the indoctrination of security awareness, security audits and consultations, security training for the employees working in non-security departments. Contract securities are less concerned to the value addition of their services as they suffer no cost due to their poor service delivery (Andress, 2003, 168).

            When an organization is hiring either of the above securities it should consider which type of security conforms to the goals and the objectives of the organization. Each of the security type has its advantages and disadvantages. Contract security may at time have problems to absorb the culture of the client unlike the proprietary. The vendor should have the ability to put in practice the culture of the organization so as to provide optimal and efficient security services. With the contract security problems also arise where by the employees in the organization are very reluctant to report security matters to the top management personnel, since they feel it is not their responsibility to be concerned with security issues. In the proprietary security the employees feel part and parcel of the organization and are responsible to what is happening in the organization. It has also been discovered that the contract security officers are less concerned to interact with the employees of the client. They are also less concerned to know their names and inquire more of the organization. The employees under proprietary security interact which each other freely even with the senior staffs. This gives them an opportunity to report all security matters which require immediate action. Knowing the businesses of the client is very significant to analyze the potential security interest situations (Radiq, 2004, pp. 27).

An entity of government may have a higher degree of governmental protection when it employs proprietary security force. This kind of security offers a direct control of personnel and activities. Proprietary security has been held by many courts due to its nature as it is non-delegable duty and personal. For the matter of law in this case the security personnel may be the client employees. Despite that, problems of staffing occurs from client to vendor, the solution to time off, scheduling conflicts and related concerns are difficult. Under many circumstances security agencies depend on the broader base of personnel from which they can acquire the additional security officers when the needs arise. Typically, the extra officers are drawn from other assignments of the client to fill the vacancies which are caused by the unscheduled personnel absence at any one location of client. At many time the contract security agencies make use of the odd part-time personnel and shift hours to fulfill the unusual demand schedule. Usually, the replacement is always taken from the available unassigned personnel to the client particular location. This may lead to placement of officers who have no experience, and whose performance may lead to more harm to the organization, unless the officer is supervised to deliver services (Radiq, 2004, pp. 30).

Contract security representative firms make use of the cost reduction as the selling point to offer their services unlike the proprietary security.  This may be a misleading factor for an organization to consider when making a step forward to hire security service from that organization with low cost. At many times the security agencies do offer services which are of low service so that they can compensate for the low price of the services they are giving to the client (Hollon, 2006, pp. 63).

Contract security has advantage in that the client takes most of its time concentrating on the production issues. The client feels at ease when handling and dealing with expensive assets as the security of such assets is in the hands of the vendor. The contract security has the advantage to the security firms since where the administration costs are low the profit margin tend to be very high. Where the agency is competent in provision of the security services and   their costs are bit cheap, this is of much benefit to the organization.

The contract security has disadvantage in that it is very poor in service delivery and may not help to a higher extend for the organization to achieve its goals and objectives (Andress, 2003, pp. 169).

On the other hand, the proprietary security has the following advantages. One, training of the officer in the organization can be done on consistently and in uniform standards depending on the requirements of the organization. Two, the firm has expectation on stability, permanency, loyalty and quality. Three, the administration and control by the management of the company can be used to evaluate the personal performance as prescribed by the discipline and the policies of the organization. The other benefit of the proprietary is that industrial protective force in many states could be commissioned with authority of special police that permitted them to arrest and detain any person engaged in criminal activities on the properties of the organization.  The proprietary proponents may admit that the cost for hiring contract security is lower in comparison with the in house force. The companies incur extra cost compared to if they had used the contract security. The extra cost arises due to employment of extra staff which needs to be trained and be paid a salary plus benefits. Also the firms incur cost due to much time involved in supervising the security officers (Hollon, 2006, pp. 64).


Andress, A. (2003). Surviving Security, How to Integrate People and Process, Boca Raton, Auerbach Publications, pp. 168, 169

Hollon, R. (2006). Emerging Market in the Private Provision of Security Services in Chicago, Review of business, Vol. 33, No. 12, pp. 63, 64

Radiq, W. (2004). Employee crime: The Cost and Some Control Measures, Review of Business, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 27, 30

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