Back to Business: Prepping Security Guards for the Return-to-Office Movement

Gamble Cuce, The Brownyard Group

The return-to-work debate has dominated headlines in recent months as businesses big and small lay out requirements for their employees to return to office. 

This past summer, Google was in the public eye when leadership announced that employees would be required to spend at least three days per week in the office with attendance reflected in their employee performance reviews. Similarly, Amazon leadership recently cracked down on employee in-office attendance after instating a three-day per week return to office policy.  Google, Amazon and others throughout California have worked to incentivize employees to return to the in-person workplace with appealing campus-like offices, attractive community spaces and even offering discounts on nearby overnight accommodations for those who may not live nearby. 

What does all this mean for the security guards who may be new to the site or may have been working in a largely empty office building? With this shift, private security roles will likely be in higher demand as companies look to safeguard their properties and protect employees.  Security guard firms will have to be ready for this increase.

 The Risk Factor 

Given the impact of the pandemic, the great resignation and ongoing staffing struggles in the private security industry, many guards are fairly new to security. As demand for security services increases alongside the return-to-work movement, even seasoned guards could be facing unfamiliar territory as their job descriptions change.

With new guards on the scene and new ground for industry veterans to cover, come new risk exposures for security firms to consider. Some of those risks might include: 

  • Exposure to Elements: Despite many office buildings offering protection from the weather, there is always the risk for security guards to be injured or fall ill due to exposure to the elements. If a guard does not know the new territory well, it is possible that they may get locked out of the building or get lost and not be able to find their way back to the guard station, risking dangerous exposure to the elements and suffering injuries such as heat stroke or frostbite as a consequence. 
  • Location Management: A major portion of any security guard’s role is managing the location they are guarding to ensure fulfillment of contractual obligations. Such obligations may include protecting employees from risk, preventing thieves or vandals from accessing the property, preventing loss from internal thieves and more. If a guard is unfamiliar with the physical territory they are assigned to, they run the risk of failing to properly manage and secure the property and potentially cause a security breach. Alternatively, if a guard does not know the schedules of individuals who work on a hybrid basis, they may mistakenly give an individual access to the building who should not have it, or they may accuse an individual of a crime they did not commit. 

Regardless of the risk, it is important for security guards, both new and seasoned, to familiarize themselves with a new property or territory when they are assigned a new client. Additionally, when securing a business office or park that operates on a hybrid schedule, all security guards should be familiar with the schedule and understand who has access to the building and when. 

Best Practices to Consider

To protect security guards and firms from risks related to a return-to-work and more, security firm leadership should prioritize risk mitigation and training. These best practices offer a good start: 

  • Training & Resources: Training is a security guard’s greatest asset. Throughout their career, a security guard should undergo regular training and refresher courses to ensure they are always up to date. Whether a security guard has been in the industry for 20 years or two months, they should be required to complete training that covers communication, patrol methods, emergency response and more. A portion of their training should be related specifically to the locations a guard will be expected to secure. Security firms can access resources to build customized training programs such as those provided by risk management partners. To ensure programs are compliant with safety standards, they can confirm with organizations like the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). An insurance professional who specializes in the security industry can also be a great resource in ensuring training programs are effective and cover the right liabilities.  
  • Get familiar: A smart way for security guards to familiarize themselves with a new territory is to walk through the property several times with a keen eye. Security firm leadership should ensure all guards map out a new property before they begin watching over it. New hires should also go through a period where they are accompanied by an experienced guard or trainer who can teach them what to look out for and what to make note of in a walkthrough. 
  • Consider a triage nurse: The security industry can be dangerous and that, coupled with general risks, such as trips and falls, presents a case for security firms to consider exploring nurse triage programs. Whether through an onsite professional or a service provider, nurse triage programs provide a registered nurse on call for security guards who are injured. Such services encourage that proper protocols are followed which help with quick response times in an emergency. By recording injuries in real time, taking statements and recommending care, security firm leaders can rest assured that events are to be recorded and reported properly. Ultimately, nurse triage programs can reduce the likelihood that claims will spiral into costly litigation. 

As more businesses require their employees to return to work, security firms have an opportunity to review their safeguarding methods before returning their guards to the recently repopulated buildings, campus spaces and other areas. To truly take advantage of these opportunities, security firm leaders should ensure their guards are prepared for the challenge and equipped with the tools to safely succeed. 


Gamble Cuce is program manager for workers’ compensation at the Brownyard Group, which administers an industry leading insurance program for security professionals. Gamble can be reached at 

Better Engage Employees to Reduce Turnover

Chris Shumaker, TEAM Software by WorkWave, CALSAGA Network Partner

Sourcing, recruiting and training new staffers is costly, which makes employee retention and turnover top-of-mind challenges in today’s tough job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 8.8 million job openings in July 2023. The unemployment rate was at 3.8 percent, while approximately 3.5 million workers left their jobs that same month.

The job market has been relatively consistent over the past few years. In early 2022, economists stated that the U.S. is at full employment. Currently, there are approximately one or fewer unemployed persons per job opening. However, reducing employee turnover could combat the challenge of hiring quality employees.

For security professionals, employee turnover is generally the highest business expense when compared to other labor costs. Security industry profit margins are reportedly thin, which makes reducing employee turnover even more of a relevant factor during this rough hiring period.

Research shows that companies with engaged employees tend to deliver higher service quality on contracts, leading to higher customer retention. In turn, by lowering employee churn, it’s possible to reduce labor costs related to employee turnover – estimated in some cases at 1.5 – 2 times the employee’s salary.

Earned wage access

Keeping workers engaged can take on different forms. For example, studies have shown that introducing earned pay models resulted in reductions in turnover as high as 90%, decreased hiring costs related to turnover, increased interest from job applicants and fewer employees experiencing financial stress.

Giving a workforce early access to money they have already earned is called earned wage access. This feature enables employees to take a portion of their pay as they need it, versus waiting for their regular pay cycle, and all of this happens without impacting the company payroll.

Employers who have implemented earned wage access have helped their workforce avoid hefty interest from payday lenders, late charges on bills and bank overdraft fees which have been reported as $35 billion annually in the United States. Engaging a workforce through earned pay encourages workers to stay longer, which can reduce hiring time, cut training costs and keep contracts covered.

Self-scheduling and self-service portals

Implementing time and labor management solutions can also help reduce employee turnover through increased engagement. These tools introduce a self-scheduling element, offering several benefits such as reduced overtime and improved employee engagement and retention. Additionally, supervisors can focus more of their time and attention on more important duties.

Self-scheduling enables staffers to offer their shifts to one another, and employees can make these scheduling changes without requiring support from a manager. Additionally, other staffers get to take advantage of the open shifts. All of this supports the company by keeping shifts filled and closing gaps without back-and-forth messaging from supervisors.

Another way that business owners have been keeping their workers engaged is through employee self-service portals, which allow access to paystubs, time off requests, schedules and W2s. By removing the legwork to request that type of information from supervisors, self-service software offers transparency and encourages engagement.

Become an employer of choice

Employee engagement also means speaking with workers directly through meaningful conversations and following up on issues raised during those meetings, which helps managers better understand the challenges and motivations their workers face while showing them that their concerns are valued.

Regular conversations with workers can also provide insights into what they need to do their jobs better and why they value their work. Another transparent way to do that is to give them access to data collected via quality assurance tools, such as checkpoints, audits or inspections. Employees could benefit from being able to better understand their on-site performance.

Without regular conversations and actionable feedback, it can be harder to improve or streamline the work they are doing to earn even better results. Also, an employee benefits program related to performance can engage employees and reduce turnover.

The future of employee retention

Some professionals hold onto the misnomer that it’s easier to find new workers to do the same job, instead of retaining quality employees. Hiring requires advertising, interviewing, background checks, onboarding, training and employee support. Altogether, hiring one employee can cost between $4,000 to $20,000, not including salary and benefits, according to 

To continue learning more about reducing employee turnover by engaging employees through software tools, such as earned wage access, employee portals and self-scheduling resources, visit

Chris has been supporting customers for the bulk of his entire career. He joined TEAM Software by WorkWave in January 2023, and since then he has built connections with customers by understanding their needs, educating them on the software and promoting value through customer experience.


David Chandler, CALSAGA President 

Do you have a copy of the certificate for Powers to Arrest training on file for all of your officers? If not, you are in violation of section 7583.6e2 of the Business and Professions Code. I encourage you to rectify the issue immediately. If a certificate cannot be obtained, it is recommended that you offer the PTA training to your officers so that a certificate may be generated. Don’t forget that the regulations are not satisfied until the officer has completed the Powers to Arrest test with a score of 100 percent.

CALSAGA member companies enjoy the benefit of unlimited access to the Security Officer Training Database. The database allows users to create certificates that are BSIS-approved and satisfy the certificate requirements established in the B&P Code. If you have questions about the database or to get started utilizing this Member Benefit, contact Association Manager Kate Wallace at


This content originally appeared in the Q4 2019 edition of The Californian: The Quarterly Newsletter of CALSAGA. Read past editions of The Californian: The Quarterly Newsletter of CALSAGA.


Tory Brownyard, Brownyard Group

In early April, three women physically attacked a security officer at a Macy’s in Palo Alto, California. When asked to return stolen goods the women punched the officer in the face and the head and assaulted him with pepper spray. Similar situations have become all too common for security professionals, particularly as people struggle to adapt to a new hybrid environment after two years of lockdowns, heightened stress and increased economic pressures. With this spike in aggressive behavior, security firms are faced with new challenges and risks involving the safety of their employees and the success of their business.

The Risks

Security professionals face risks every day. In hospitals, restaurants, airports, office parks and shopping malls, a normally calm situation can quickly escalate. When rising tensions and aggressive behavior are added into the equation, the risk to security firms and their employees can increase significantly. These risks can include: 

  • Employee Safety: Over the past two years security professionals were asked to take on new and added responsibilities, including asking for the vaccination status of members of the public attempting to enter certain facilities, enforcing mask mandates and limiting access to various venues or facilities. In some of these situations, members of the public directed their frustrations at security personnel tasked with ensuring their safety and the safety of others. In more than a few instances, these situations turned violent. 
  • Insurance Risks: From an insurance perspective, the biggest concern with aggressive behavior is the liability associated with bodily injury claims. if an officer is not trained to de-escalate a confrontational situation and the perpetrator turns to violence, a physical altercation can result. Similarly, if the officer is armed with a weapon (such as a firearm or baton) and pulls that weapon, these types of situations can quickly get out of control. If the perpetrator also has a weapon serious injury can occur, involving the perpetrator, security personnel and even innocent bystanders. In such situations, the claim might allege the officer used unnecessary force and could be sued for assault and battery. This is showcased in several recent lawsuits against the LA Dodgers for alleged assault, battery, false imprisonment, violation of civil rights and emotional distress by the team’s security force.
  • Reputational Damage: With increased use of and access to the internet over recent years, people can easily acquire video footage and photographs of altercations between security officers and perpetrators. Additionally, the internet has democratized access to editing software that allows situational embellishments, and even the creation of what are known as deep fake videos designed to alter the public’s perceptions of an issue or situation. This puts security firms and organizations at risk for reputational damage if footage, legitimate or otherwise, made it look like the security offer was the instigator in an act of violence. 

Finally, as in any state, California has specific rules, regulations and trainings that security officers need to be aware of. Security officers are required to physically witness an accused criminal conduct a misdemeanor before arresting them for said crime, leaving little room for error. There is also risk in not keeping up with such regulations. For instance, AB 229 is currently being debated as it seeks to change training requirements around use of force. If security professionals do not follow rules and regulations or keep up with important changes, they put themselves and their organization in jeopardy of compromising safety that can result in damaging litigation and costly fees and fines by the state. 

Managing the Risks

The risks outlined above can damage a security firm’s reputation and financial situation. They can also compromise staff retention if employee safety is compromised. Here are some tips security firms can take to help mitigate risks involved with aggressive behavior. 

  • Utilize de-escalation training: The most important tool in any security officer’s arsenal is de-escalation training. Experts can counsel security professionals on how to use proper body language, redirect or remove people from a situation, show empathy and more. Security firms should consider having such specialists work with their employees regularly to train new officers and review de-escalation tactics with seasoned officers. 
  • Be strategic about firearm usage: Before arming officers, security firms should discuss the implications of carrying firearms or other weapons. While security officers can carry firearms in California, it is only when they are on the job. If an officer were to use their weapon while off duty the security firm would be at risk for litigation. If arming officers, security firms should thoroughly screen all employees with background checks and psychological evaluations. Organizations should also consider utilizing firearm training, in addition to de-escalation training, to minimize misuse. At Brownyard we strongly counsel our insureds to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of arming employees. 
  • Follow all rules and regulations: As laws and regulations change, it is important to have the proper training and avoid fines and litigation. Joining a state association, like CALSAGA, can help security firms stay current with changes and new rules that result from state legislation. 

There is no guarantee a situation will stay calm, even with proper protocols and de-escalation training. Having insurance coverage is important to protect a business and its employees from litigation and financial fallout. While having coverage is important, having the right coverage can mean the difference between success and ruin. For many insurance companies that don’t specialize in the security industry, a standard general liability policy will have restricted language limiting assault and battery coverage to “reasonable force” while firms that specialize in the security industry will broaden this language to “physical force” and while the difference is subtle it does make a significant difference when de-escalation steps do not work and your firm is faced with an assault and battery claim. 

The past two years have increased tensions among the public and security guards alike. Local officials, business owners and even taxpayers have called for more work by private security, and such firms have been asked to take on new, unique responsibilities. While there is risk involved, these responsibilities can become opportunities for security firms with the right training and insurance protection in place.


Tory Brownyard, CPCU, is president of Brownyard Group, an insurance program administrator with specialty programs for select industry groups. In addition to his responsibilities as president, he currently spearheads the Brownguard® security guard insurance program.


Chris Anderson, Silvertrac, CALSAGA Network Partner

In the physical security industry it’s really easy to neglect training your security guards. It can be expensive and time consuming. But the benefits of security training are much higher than its potential costs.

Well-trained guards give you a reason to increase your bill rates. Better training means less problems, which means happier clients. And when you invest in your security officers, it can be a morale booster and a turnover reducer.

Even if you already know you need to train your security teams, it can be really hard to decide what training is worth cutting into your razor thin margins. These 8 security training areas are looking to be the most popular into 2021 and beyond.

  1. Compliance
  2. Cybersecurity
  3. Access Control
  4. Reporting Technology
  5. Remote Security
  6. Risk Management & Response
  7. Customer Service
  8. De-escalation & Communication

Considering these 8 areas first will be a good step forward as you look to build out your security guard training programs for 2021. Stay tuned for more content from Thinkcurity to get free advice, training, and resources in some of these areas throughout the year.

  1. Compliance

Compliance in the physical security industry can create giant headaches for guard companies. It seems like every year there is a new law or regulation that makes running your company more costly or more difficult.

Knowing and training your security guards on new standards can save you lots of time and money in the long run from fines, lawsuits, and other litigation. BSIS continues to set the nationwide standards and offers great training programs for you and your officers. But you should always make sure to check new compliance laws in your specific state(s).

One specific compliance issue that has cropped up in the past few months is security guard break meal break violations in California. Knowing how to keep your guards compliant in this area can save your company hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run.

  1. Cybersecurity

In every industry, cybersecurity training is becoming more and more important. It’s no different for physical security.

At the very least, your security guards and supervisors will likely use smartphones and computers for incident reporting and administrative tasks. Without knowing what to look for, they can become easy targets for phishing and malware attacks.

Putting your teams through basic cybersecurity training can save your business money and headaches. SANS and Udemy both offer great introductory cybersecurity classes both in-person and online and have a range of pricing options.

  1. Access Control

Access control has become one of the hottest topics in the physical security industry over the past few years. After all of the events of 2020, it’s becoming even more important.

There is so much technology associated with access control systems that it can be hard to figure out what exactly you and your security guards need to be trained on. Talking with your clients and understanding their specific needs is a good place to start.

Based on your client conversations, you will probably want to consider having at least one access control expert in your private security company. If you don’t have that expert now, Security CEU offers a 6-part Access Control Specialist course series for just $125 that you or one of your supervisors can take.

  1. Guard Management Software

In 2021, it’s pretty much a given that every private security company needs some kind of guard management software. But even if your company uses software, making sure security guards are trained on how to use it effectively is extremely important for you and themselves.

When your security guards know how to properly use reporting software, you get better data to inform your strategy and decision making. Your guards also get to effectively prove their hard work.

  1. Remote Monitoring

Like access control, remote monitoring technologies are becoming more popular every year. It makes sense for a lot of security clients and companies. Remote monitoring includes 2 main areas: video surveillance and global security operations centers (GSOC).

Video surveillance itself has become split into old-fashioned CCTV cameras and newer IP cameras that rely on an internet connection. IP cameras bring along things like NDAA compliance that you should be familiar with if you’re going down that route. 

If you are planning on going after any cannabis security contracts, you and your guards will likely want to be knowledgeable on video surveillance options.

Global security operation centers (GSOC) take remote incident management to the next level. They make incident response, situational awareness, and resource allocation much easier. If you run a larger security operation, you should definitely have guards and supervisors who are well-educated on managing a Command Center or GSOC.

  1. Incident Management & Response

The private security industry hasn’t had enough focus on effective incident management and response. Many security companies run into the problem of being reactive to incidents and risks instead of proactive.

A great step to solving this problem is to implement standard operating procedures (SOPs). These SOPs make job expectations clear to your security guards.

Many incident management & response plans will be designed to meet a client’s needs and the specific risks associated with their property. Putting yourself and your officers through security risk assessment training will provide a great foundation for building better incident management and response plans.

  1. Customer Service

Private security services can be looked at as a customer service-oriented industry. Many security guards will have to interact with patrons of your clients’ businesses.

Having a customer service mindset will hopefully help your guards to make a positive impression on those patrons, which looks good on your company. Encouraging your security guards to be customer service oriented will also help to fight against the negative stereotypes about the private security industry as a whole.

You can read this article from Silvertrac on customer service in private security for more information on the topic.

  1. Communication & De-escalation

All of the events of 2020 brought the topic of communication and de-escalation to the forefront of global news. But in the physical security industry, these two things have been important for a long time.

Training security guards how to communicate will not only help your company run more smoothly, but it can help prevent difficult and potentially dangerous situations from happening in the field. These tactical communication techniques are a great starting point.

When situations do start to get out of hand, training guards on de-escalation techniques can help keep themselves and everyone else in a situation safe.


Even though spending extra money isn’t ever security company owners’ first thought, investing in training for your security guards is a great investment that adds value to your security services and shows the guards that you believe in them.

Stay tuned for more great content from Thinkcurity that will help you take you and your private security company to the next level.

Chris is the Founder of Silvertrac Software and has been working in the security industry for more than 25 years. He enjoys working with our clients everyday to help them grow their businesses and really enjoy what they are doing. Chris currently lives and works in Seal Beach, CA.


AB 685

Shaun Kelly, Tolman & Wiker, Preferred Broker

Happy New Year to Everyone,

Hope everyone is doing well considering the changes we have all had to endure personally and professionally as the result of COVID 19.

More change is coming in 2021 and we want to share with you information regarding AB 685 that was signed into law by Governor Newsom. It feels like the requirements for reporting COVID claims overlap and always fall on the back of the employer, and they do. Personally, it is difficult to stay up on all of the requirements and navigate through them all. The COVID-19 incident rates remain high in California and we are being required (AB 685) to provide written notifications to all employees and employers of subcontractors that may have been exposed to COVID-19. Besides the new notification rules, the new law also includes enhanced temporary CAL/OSHA authority.

Linked below are an overview of AB 685 and sample notification letters. Please note that the template letters should be reviewed by your legal counsel and modified for your business.

 How employers go about implementing the requirements of AB 685 is the responsibility of each employer. Our effort is to inform and make you aware of the new law. If you happen to receive a letter from one of your clients notifying you that as their subcontractor, they are notifying you that your employees may have been exposed to COVID-19. This brief overview will allow you to understand why your client sent you the letter (See Notice to Subcontractors).

 Please let us know if you have any questions and please be safe out there.

AB 685 Overview

AB 685 COVID Union Notice

AB 685 COVID Employee Notice Template

Shaun Kelly joined Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services in 2005.  He specializes in all lines of property and casualty insurance for industries including contract security firms, agriculture, construction, oil and gas. Shaun received a BS in Business Administration with a major in Finance from California State University in Fresno, California. He is an active member of several industry associations, including the Association CALSAGA, the Kern County Builders Exchange and the Independent Insurance Agents of Kern County. Shaun can be reached at 661-616-4700 or



Armand Adkins, GuardsLink

Traditional methods of training were confined to four walls, where a room full of participants would listen to a facilitator who stood at the front of the class.  With today’s technologies, we can now think outside the box, or if you will, train outside the four walls. With the necessity for social distancing in certain locations, taking training courses online is not only logical, but the safe option. These days, security officers can receive online training on a range of different topics, ranging from communications to the theory portion of armed training. Ensure you take your training from a top online training platform for security officers. This article discusses the benefits of online training for security officers. 

Tools Needed For Online Learning

Before we dive into the benefits of online training for security officers, we have to take a moment to highlight the tools someone would need for online learning. As we know, for the traditional on-site methods of training, all one needs is a notebook, a pen and, of course, to show up on time at some location which may or may not be convenient. However, in an online environment, the learner will need the following in order to access their instructional materials that may include videos, audio, text and images: 

  1. Laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone 
  2. Strong internet 
  3. Space for re-enact demos and practice, and 
  4. Props for practice, if necessary 
Convenience and Flexibility

Because online training courses are available 24/7, prospective security officers can take their mandatory training at a timethat is convenient for them. This flexibility allows trainees to fit their training around their lifestyle, rather than the other way around. This is especially vital for trainees with children, or prospective security officers still working at another job. Imagine having to juggle a full-time job with on-site training; that could translate to long commute hours and loss of weekends. Also, online training reduces the chance of a security officer missing their training, which potentially could result in committing errors while on duty. 

Compliance and Liability

As Calsaga is correct to remind its members regularly, all security officers, and by extension security companies in California, are required to meet the training and continuing education standards set out by the BSIS. No exceptions. 

There are many existing BSIS approved, third-party online trainers.  Your security officers will find one of them to receive training, and then your company must have the administration process in place to know when training is due by guard, track down the security officer to obtain the certificates and properly store them consistently, every time.  Likewise, there are integrated training platforms, like GuardsLink, that not only include the training for consistency across all your guards, but includes the tracking and proper, secure storage of certificates to ensure compliance.  Whether you send your security officer to obtain third-party online training or you have a platform to simplify the process in-house, your obligation remains the same –  to maintain compliance with training requirements to protect your company and security officers from compliance findings and/or liability issues.  

No Class Size Minimum & More Precise Training

With online training, it is easier and faster to distribute learning resources and monitor and track how security officers are engaging with the content. Training is available on-demand and does not require special planning and logistics. To access, all one needs to do is make a purchase, create an account, and find a convenient time to work through the learning materials. The right training can be taken at the right time, without the concern of whether there are enough trainees to justify the coordination and cost of on-site training.  

Manage Dissemination of Protocols

When a new security protocol or guideline is issued, whether from regulators or internal, it is easier to manage its dissemination among security officers in active service through online training. This way, SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and other procedural materials can reach those it is intended for in a streamlined manner.  

Opportunity for One-on-One

The majority of time traditional training involves one-to-many. Although online training is also one-to-many, the opportunity for having a one-on-one with the facilitator is greater because learning management systems (LMS) are built to have a one-on-one feature by default. On-site training has to follow specific schedules, especially where the venue and/or trainer have to be booked and paid for. It is different for online training, as trainees can drop their questions and receive feedback from the facilitator at each other’s convenience. Sometimes, this one-on-one opportunity could be extended post-training, which could be helpful for those new on the job. 

Go In-Depth on Niche Topics

As new situations arise in society, new security issues will also arise. Using online training, security officers and security companies are assured of receiving high-value training from those with subject matter expertise on niche topics. For instance, with active shooter training, who better to facilitate than one who had previously trained for and worked in an active shooter environment from the perspective of a security and public safety professional? Everyone can also save time by having the facilitator record once, rather than having to be physically present in several locations.  

Reduce Costs

On-site training involves several costs like equipment, location, transportation, trainers per session, and so on. With online training the purchase is the only cost, where the individual gets unlimited access at their convenience. Importantly, quality online training does not have to mean expensive.  Several vendors, including GuardsLink, offer affordable online training, whether the cost is picked up by the individual security officer or company. In fact, security companies can expect to get discounts when purchasing in bulk on behalf of their security officers. 


Of course, there are limitations to online training such as slow internet connection, distractions at home, and space for practice. However, the benefits outweigh the limitations. Current realities have created an essential need for transitioning to digital. Education, training and professional development have now transitioned online. Benefits of online training for security officers  

range from convenience and flexibility, reduced costs, and easy tracking. Not only that, but clients can be assured that your security officers are up to date on security trends that will keep their business, staff and properties secure.  Choosing to take training courses online is a smart move. 

Armand Adkins is CEO of Security Alliance Group (, a provider of best-in-class support services/systems for small to mid-sized private security guard companies. With 25 years of legal, compliance and operational experience, Armand leads a dynamic company that delivers two unique services to address the training and hiring needs of security companies.

GuardsLink platform gives security companies the ability to provide their employees branded online training that is both affordable and quality, and includes an integrated system to monitor and manage guard training. 

SecurityHires ( is a security industry focused job board designed and built using cutting edge technology to assist in all the hiring requirements of security companies seeking qualified guards.  

Those looking for an intuitive and robust training solution implemented at no cost with a revenue sharing model, or more information regarding the benefits of the industry specific job board, should contact Armand at or call (888) 360-9373.


Tony Unfriend, CSA 360

Traditional KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) present themselves too far into the reporting process to real-time relevant or even helpful in the Physical Security Industry. Unfortunately, by the time they receive critical data, the incident is over, and someone could be injured, which could lead to the termination of the contract.

It’s flawed to look backward at compliance and completion analysis, passively waiting to see if you performed an inspection, completed all site visits and post orders, security analysis, or penetration testing efficiently.

You may be accustomed to the wait for results, receiving during a Quarterly Business Review (QBR) when stakeholders are meeting and going over stats and data. But that’s too late to be acting on data.

There is a vast difference between knowing something in your business, and knowing the data that drives that thing. As the champion of your organization, you shouldn’t wait for lag metrics to evaluate tasks and efficiencies; you need real-time information. It would be best if you saw what is happening while it’s happening, as it’s happening. Security is a real-time industry, and for maximized safety and results, you need real-time evaluation and real-time data so that the focus can be on the process and the people. It’s much easier to intervene and course correct in the earliest stages of an incident than it is to go back in time.

The argument has become that many lead measures give insight on measuring the effectiveness of your team, however, the speed at which they are delivered to those charged with the task of managing and decision making, it’s a game of adjustment and reactivity. Real-time information allows a well-trained team to meet an incident where it’s at and deescalate, mitigating risk.

If there is anything that experience in this industry will teach you, it’s that you need to evaluate the shifts and hours that your employees are scheduled for, not what they are working, and you need to see discrepancies in real-time. And wouldn’t it be great to have smart scheduling software that will alert you when an employee is approaching overtime?

Most security companies don’t get reimbursed for unplanned overtime, and that payroll money has to come from somewhere. The most efficient method to reduce overtime is being able to look at your scheduling on a Monday to see where each employee will be with hours on Thursday- not waiting until Thursday to see who is still available and who is approaching the pay period billable hour limits.

It’s fair to assume that the first responder on the scene should find the resolution to the problem. Instant resolution and incident de-escalation are essential to you and your clients. Do you know how many issues or incidents are resolved with the initial responder on the first attempt? Real-time data visualization will assist in the achievement of identifying a new view of actual time spent, responder intervention level, and labor associated with incidents. Ideally, there will be one officer on each incident, but we all know there are situations that call for additional resources, and that’s understandable. When you get to the point where you have multiple officers on every report as the norm, it becomes necessary to start examining where the breakdown is occurring.

Do you have a low-confidence officer who needs backup on every call? Do you need to step in and re-administer training? Software exists to assist in finding the root issues rather than waiting for the outcomes.

Here is a tip from my experience: e-Learning is near the high end of the list of importance and is a critical employee-based KPI, and here’s why. If an incident that one of your employees responded to has gone under the microscope for whatever reason, you can provide instant documentation of training and certification with exact scores, dates, and times of completion. You have to be able to show critical stakeholders upfront the skill, strength, and growth investment that you have in your employed talent. That brings peace of mind to your client. Don’t wait to prove your value.

Tony Unfried holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs and Criminal Justice from Indiana University, where he graduated with honors. While enrolled in his master’s program, Tony worked for The TJX Companies, Inc., leading the region in loss prevention and moving the company toward technology use in Security. Tony went on to join the most significant security company in Indiana, managing more than 500 employees and 50 sites, including the Indiana Convention Center, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center. Seeing a noticeable gap in technology use in the physical security sector, Tony created his first security software application, launched at the Super Bowl in 2012, and recognized twice for Excellence in Mobile Technology by Techpoint. Tony has also spoken on Tech in Physical Security on panels with ASIS and IAVM.

Continue reading the 2019 Q4 edition of The Californian


Mark Folmer, TrackTik

Security means different things for different people.  Ultimately, all definitions are correct because the sense of security is personal: where I feel secure, someone else may not and vice versa. As many definitions as there are for security there are different roles in frontline security.

You are reading this because you are part of the security community. Below is some food for thought as you consider your spot in the security world. If you have decided to be a part of it, it is important to understand where you fit, what you do, and how that contributes to the overall security plan of where you are assigned. The function that you are filling means that people or other assets will be secure, but you are not alone: you have tools and you contribute value.

  1. Persona consideration: comprehending what your “persona” is looking for in a role in security both if you’re looking to move on to the next role within the profession or outside of it is an essential first step. Answering the following questions will help point you in the direction of a role that makes sense for you:
    • What sort of training do you want/need?
    • What does risk mean for you?
    • What is your tolerance to risk?
    • Do you like interacting with people?
    • Would you rather work alone?
    • Where do you want to go?
  1. Tech saavy: expectations in security are such so that the company that you work for delivers more than “just a person at a site”. A Deloitte study revealed that 47% of companies are currently going digital. This entails that frontline personnel, essential in delivering on services- reporting incidents in real-time, actioning on post orders, etc. – need to understand the “whats” and the “whys” behind technology. As you spot your next role, ask yourself and the recruiter what the technology stack will look like:
    • Will you have the tools you need to do the job properly?
    • How will you be scheduled?
    • How do you go about finding what work is available?
    • How can you match as closely as possible the desired hours that you want to work with your actual hours worked?
  1. Learning: knowing what role is a fit for you and what the tools of the trade are is important, but considering what new information you need to learn to secure or even progress in your current position is key too:
    • Are there technical abilities that you need (i.e. first aid, physical security information management systems)?
    • Where can you get that knowledge? Is the training offered “on the job”? If so, is it structured?
    • Will you get certification or acknowledgement of any sort once it’s complete?
    • Does the company value me having that knowledge?
    • Is the knowledge transferable? Are the skills that I am learning useable for other clients, sites, or sectors?

Earlier in my career, I decided to join ASIS International in order to learn the business of security more closely. There, it became obvious to me that in order to achieve my goals as a security professional, I would need to obtain certification. Nowadays, there are many more offered than “just” the CPP (Certified Protection Professional): the PSP (Physical Security Professional), the PCI (Professional Certified Investigator), and the APP (Association Protection Professional, the latest being brand new and perfect for novices to the field of security.


  • As an industry there are numerous opportunities that can be tailored to fit your needs.
  • To come up with a professional roadmap, considering the question of whether you are in it for a limited time or a long time is crucial: the answer to that questions and how you optimise your time accordingly are up to you.

Be clear about what you want to do, understand the environment, what motivates you, and take the opportunities that come up.


Named to IFSEC’s Global Influencers list 2018 for Security Thought Leadership, Mark is a business school graduate, CPP and Member of The Security Institute (MSyI). Mark’s background is in security services, corporate security, consulting and workforce software. A graduate of Concordia University in HR Management and International Business, he progressed to several senior management roles responsible for security business units across Canada, including serving as the Senior Manager for Corporate Security at Canada’s largest telecommunications company. He launched a consulting business focused on physical security for corporate clients, and has been teaching part-time at the Université de Montréal since 2016. Currently, Mark is the Vice-President, Security and Industry, in the software scaleup TrackTik, and volunteers as SRVP Region 6, Chair of the Security Services Council, the Private Security Officer Standard Technical Committee, and the Private Security Company (PSC.1) working group.


Chris Anderson, Silvertrac Software  

Business owners in the security industry all have one major problem in common: hiring good employees. The traditional way of hiring through speed and convenience often leads to trouble. Resulting in uninspired employees who quit, get fired, or hurt your company’s reputation.

Companies today separate hiring, training, and employee management. Then spend endless days, weeks, months — not to mention resources — trying to figure out why they can’t find good officers.

This focus is understandable. Owners wear many hats, are strapped for time, and struggle to find balance in their day-to-day work. But what we’ve found over the past 10 years in the security industry is clear.

To see success, you need to look at your business as one well-rounded, well-oiled machine.

This may come as a shock, but it’s important to have good hiring techniques. Good techniques lead to more motivated employees who commit to better training programs. They empower employees to go above and beyond their job roles. And how can you forget the time (and money) you save with a strong process in place.

The result? A successful, well-oiled operation with happier clients, more bids, and more secure contracts.

Below we’ll talk about past lessons we’ve learned, and how they’ve helped security companies like yours build long-term success.

First, what’s your current hiring process? If you’re like most small-to-midsize security companies, you constantly spin your wheels to hire officers. Time is never on your side. You need to fill posts fast and as painless as possible, because every other part of your business demands attention. So how can you put any thought into who you hire?

Remember, these officers represent you and your company. You need to trust and depend on them. That’s why we promote one way to hire officers: Slow Down!

One big reason we say “Slow Down” is because you need more loyal employees. Slowing down your hiring process helps assure candidates are a good fit for your company. You want to know if this person agrees with your work ethic and values. If they are reliable and trustworthy.

A framework like this puts the right people on your team. Which in turn creates a hard-working and motivating environment new hires want to be a part of. Companies who slow down see less hirer’s remorse, lower turnover, and better employee performance.

Second, supervisors play a key role in maintaining this environment, as well as keeping your business running smooth. They are your trusted side-kick. The ones responsible for officers when you’re not around. The way you hire them is how they will hire and manage officers, too. Making our case for hiring slow even more evident to run a top-notch security operation.

Influential supervisors are the next step to building a well-rounded security operation. Officers look to supervisors as mentors, conflict managers, company-messenger, and coach. So when you hire a supervisor who sees eye-to-eye with your values and goals, you set an example for everyone else. It gives them the power to build a strong team, gain officers respect, and make officers more receptive to feedback and training.

Another big challenge you face as a security team is an officer’s lack of motivation and drive. Luckily, it’s something you can change. The steps we discuss will give your team the platform needed to build an empowering culture.

For example, you may have noticed we continue to use the term “officer” versus “guard”. We do this because “officer” gives off a level of professionalism for employees to fulfill. “Guard” is something of lesser status.

Combine solid hiring processes, influential supervisors, and the job title of “Officer”, and what do you get? A foundation where your employees feel they can grow professionally and personally. A place people actually want to work. And a new culture of learning and leadership.

This is something the security industry is notorious for not doing. But the results are undeniable, and it’s radically changing the way we hire and manage officers.

So once you create this new culture, it’s your responsibility to uphold it. Bringing us to your last step: to provide on-going training opportunities for your team.

Training is thought to be a one and done thing  —  it’s not. It’s an on-going program that includes workshops, on-the-job-training, classes, and more. This allows you to strengthen skills, reduce weak links in the company, and bring everyone to a higher level, so they all have the same knowledge.

Not all training programs are alike, however. We find that great training programs look at three things first: company needs, quality instructors and materials, and training metrics.

Then, the different points of training in the program. This includes basic onboarding, yearly training, self-education, OTJ training with field supervision, and testing. If you don’t test employees, how can you know if your training is effective or not? A complete program helps you determine employee strengths and weaknesses. So you can offer personalized and effective materials for them to be successful.

It’s important to use a variety of training techniques in your program. For example, we recommend the KISS method for onboarding — Keep It Simple Stupid. New hires know little about your procedures and expectations. KISS gives them a good introduction to your company, and the fundamentals they need to succeed. Since everything is laid out beforehand, supervisors don’t have to spend time on the same, avoidable conflicts over and over again.

Educated and happy employees make for a more productive and successful environment. Wouldn’t you agree?

Some security owners complain that hiring and training requirements force them to focus on quick results. But in most cases, it’s actually a failure of process, not the task itself. Owners who focus on slowing down and finding the right fit for their business stand the greatest chance of hiring good officers.

The ultimate goal is to take a step back and see how all these aspects of your business work together. Once you do that, the rest will fall into place. Your team will operate at levels you have never seen. Your clients will be happier than they have ever been, and more contracts will be coming your way. It’s a win-win-win.