16
Consolidation
In the world of security, consolidation could refer to several differ-
ent ideas ranging from combining equipment to gathering security
personnel into a single location. In this chapter, consolidation
applies to consolidating the various Security Control Centers
(SCCs) across a company into a single location within that com-
pany. Consolidation in the security arena is the direction many
major companies are heading. The possibility of saving costs by
combining SCCs into a single location is a tempting plan in today’s
cost cutting environment. Continuing to support multiple SCCs,
sometimes at different plant sites within the same city, is an expen-
sive operation that can be combined to save equipment costs and
reduce the personnel needed to operate the multiple control cen-
ters. The reduction of a single position, which is operated twenty-
four hours a day/seven days a week, would be equivalent to
reducing the head count of four plus operators or four operators
with overtime. In larger control center operations, this reduction
can easily amount to two daytime positions, two swing shift posi-
tions and one midnight position, totaling a reduction in personnel
249
of ten or more operators. Depending upon the salaries and benefits,
the savings can be three to five hundred thousand dollars annually.
Large companies are also evaluating whether or not to consol-
idate SCC operations on a much wider scale than within the same
city or state. There is no reason control centers throughout the
United States cannot be consolidated into one location. For years
this has been the approach used by the commercial monitoring side
of the business. They have found savings in consolidation, so it is
only natural that companies that are not specifically in the security
monitoring business would take the same approach. The commercial
monitoring services have also taken the approach of standardiz-
ing data inputs, defining an alarm as an event that needs attention,
and providing a descriptor, which provides the proper response to
the alarm. It does not matter where the alarm comes from when
phone numbers, responsible parties and responding authorities are
provided in the consolidated SCC database.
A large corporation’s SCC responds to alarms in the same way
the consolidated commercial monitoring service responds to
alarms. An alarm server/computer displays the alarm’s location
and provides response instructions that include any necessary
contact numbers. Both a commercial monitoring service and a
company should have database standards to assure information is
consistent from one alarm to another. This is addressed in Chapter
12. There are differences, however. The company SCC tends to have
more detail in the alarm location descriptor, because the descriptor
describes the exact alarm location within a building for the benefit
of the responding security officer who may have to use keys to gain
access to the alarmed area. The company alarm types are limited in
number based upon the type of industry that the company is in. For
example, the types of alarms may differ between companies that
process chemicals and an Insurance company. One company will be
primarily concerned with toxic chemical spills and the other will
primarily be concerned with security alarms and access to their
Information Technology (IT) data center.
Even though there are cost benefits and improved standardi-
zation across the enterprise with consolidation, there are still some
issues that should be considered. One obstacle that must be over-
come by a company with multiple locations (that could be consoli-
dated) is the “local is better” issue. The argument is based on the
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