The technology and information-driven era in which we find ourselves living in is an exciting time. Unfortunately, these benefits also come with an enhanced need to protect ourselves from those who may want to harm, or destroy the things we care about.
Whether it’s protection from physical or financial damage, these things must be given careful thought – especially for businesses who conduct business internationally.
Fortunately, there are professionals that come in the form of security consulting services that can allow for some peace of mind.
What is a private security consultant?
Security consultant firms are not the type of companies that provide everyday uniformed security services that you typically see guarding a corporate office. And chances are, you’ve never even heard of these firms even though they provide the most elite protective security and intelligence services to corporate executives, the ultra-wealthy – and even to government agencies and diplomats – all around the world.
That said, there are countless security consultant firms that claim to provide elite security solutions. In reality, very few are actually capable of providing these services. And even among those few that are capable, each varies greatly in their level of competence and experience in truly understanding and providing such services.
This article clarifies what different security consulting firms actually do, so that you can make a better-informed decision on implementing an appropriate security solution for your own needs.
Table of Contents
- 1. What is a private security consultant?
- 2. Types of private security companies
- 3. How much does private security cost?
- 4. Other alternatives – kidnap and ransom insurance
- 5. Find a reputable private security consultant
Types of Private Security Companies
Private security and private military firms hire highly-experienced security professionals who can expertly handle the intricate security concerns surrounding a specific set of complex and high-threat security problems.
There are many types of security threats that exist and the motives and capabilities of a particular threat itself can vary quite a bit. For this reason, no single security consulting firm is capable of or willing to handle every type of security operation.
Instead, security consultant firms focus their offerings and expertise on a very narrow but complex scope of niche security services.
So, whether you’re looking to mitigate or combat a cyber security risk or require a team of protective security agents in an active war zone, there are niche private security consulting firms that specialize in combating these types of threats. Here are some of the major categories and reputable service providers.
Private Sector Security Companies
– Private individuals
– Businesses / corporations
– Government agencies and organizations
– Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
– Executive Protection
– Kidnap Prevention
– Private Hostage Rescue
– Maritime Security and Anti-Piracy
– Disaster Security and Evacuation Services
– Corporate Security
– Residential Security
– Event Security
– Specialized Security Response Training
Private security companies recruit and hire the most seasoned security operators who are dedicated protective security professionals. Competitive candidates almost always come from military / SOF backgrounds, typically possess many years of prior combat experience from the military and private military sectors, and also possess a vast array of special skills, training, and specialized security licensing. These security professionals very typically possess far more experience and maturity than even those hired by PMCs.
Private sector security firms are the security consultants most people are seeking when searching for physical security solution for a high-threat or complex situation. These security consultants handle every type of security operation requested by non-government entities. But at times, they even serve government entities – usually by augmenting private military company contracts as a subcontractor.
That said, these security consultants seldom desire to take on government clients, even when specifically solicited, and prefer to focus solely on serving private sector clients.
This category of security consultant firm is the least well-known, but actually requires a much more skilled and seasoned security operator than private military companies (PMCs) require.
That may seem surprising, but PMCs typically operate in large teams or can afford and implement extensive logistical support services to their security operators due to hefty government contract budgets.
On the other hand, private sector security consultant firms are much smaller outfits where even the wealthiest private clients do not possess a government-sized budget, nor do they need to hire a military-sized force. Additionally, private sector security operations require far more logistical and operational coordination at the security operator’s level and must therefore rely heavily on the individual security operator’s skill, breadth of experience, maturity, and judgment in order to successfully accomplish the security mission.
It is much more difficult for private sector clients to find security consulting firms for their specific needs because of the sheer number of firms that exist, making it especially difficult to sift through the massive selection of niche services and types of operations that are offered in this sector.
Private sector security services can be broken down into two main categories of services: proactive and reactive. Here are the main differences along with a few of the top firms who handle each type of security service.
TOP SECURITY CONSULTING FIRMS
Hyperion Services is a US-based private security consulting firm that primarily focuses on providing global security services such as covert executive protection, kidnap prevention, advance operations, counter surveillance as well as extremely high-risk security operations such as hostage rescues and secure evacuations. All of these services require very niche, elite skill sets and a wealth of prior, real-world experience in diverse settings.
The company consistently delivers extremely high-quality and well-executed security solutions in these difficult Zone 1 and Zone 2 skill areas for its clients at an incredible speed and response time, no matter where in the world the solution is needed. So, for those able to afford their services, Hyperion is distinctly unmatched within the private security sector and sits squarely in its own class and standards of expertise and capabilities.
While Sixgen does not provide any physical security services whatsoever, they are the clear leader in providing hyper-niche cyber security solutions. Sixgen is not a typical cyber security consulting firm (which are often simply glorified IT service providers). This is a team of true cyber security experts with backgrounds from the NSA and training in rare and elite defensive and offensive cyber warfare operations.
Cyber security is increasingly important in an integrated physical security solution, and therefore, is a critical part of Zone 2 security considerations.
There are numerous security service providers that offer outer perimeter, or Zone 3, security solutions. The majority of these companies hire very low-skilled security guards with very little background or training in security operations. Occasionally, however, these companies hire more skilled security guards who might have some amount of military or law enforcement experience for perimeter security in higher-threat areas or facilities.
These guards are typically uniformed, can be armed or unarmed, and most often act as visual deterrents for attempted physical breaches. Those who require these types of Zone 3 security measures should also be implementing Zone 2 and Zone 1 security measures as well.
Proactive Security Services
Proactive security services are put in place to mitigate potential, latent threats before they materialize into real, active threats. There are three distinct zones of coverage to consider in a proactive security plan and a single security consulting firm will not provide services for all three of these security zones or functions.
Reactive Security Services
A robust security solution should consider all three zones and retain security consultants who specialize in each zone. But, ideal solutions are not always possible or affordable, so it’s up to you to determine what is at stake in your situation — and what you are able and willing to afford to protect it.
So, if it’s your very life that’s at stake because you’re traveling to deliver humanitarian aid in an active war zone, if you make the decision to forgo proactive security services, your chances of needing reactive security services just skyrocketed.
While proactive security services are preferred, most clients make first contact with a security consulting firm for reactive services – which are far more risky, complex, and expensive.
Reactive security services include services such as hostage rescue operations. Not only are these extremely expensive services but they are also very traumatic for those who do survive.
Private Military Companies
Government agencies / organizations
– Defensive operations for critical government facilities and logistics
– Diplomatic security
– Specialized military training services
– Intelligence and cyber security support to the government
PMCs almost exclusively (with very few exceptions) recruit and hire recently discharged military veterans with active government security clearances.
If you’ve ever heard the name of any security consultant firm at all, it’s probably one in a handful of large private military companies.
For example, you may be familiar with one of the most well-known private military companies, Academi. If that’s not striking a bell, Academi (and its now-parent company, Constellis Group) was formerly known as Blackwater USA and turned themselves into a household name after the notorious 2007 Nisour Square incident in Baghdad, Iraq. Blackwater underwent many different name and ownership changes, but Academi / Constellis still provides the same types of security consulting services to the US Government under its subsidiary Blackwater Security Consulting.
Private military companies, or PMCs, are the companies most commonly thought of as mercenaries. While this characterization is not entirely accurate, private military firms typically augment a military force or provide security services at the direct or indirect request of a government agency or entity. Because the government’s defense and intelligence sectors are the primary customers for private military companies, these companies are a type of Defense contractor.
While private military companies often compete with each other in bidding on the same government-funded contracts, each tends to be stronger than the other at providing certain types of services to the government or government agency who is requesting the service.
TOP PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTORS
Constellis is a US-based company that primarily focuses on US Department of Defense, US Department of State, and US Intelligence Agency contracts for diplomatic security missions and augmenting overseas base security operations.
While most known for its armored cash transport services in North America, Canadian-based GardaWorld’s US subsidiary, GardaWorld Federal Services, is also a significant player in augmenting overseas base security operations for the US Department of Defense and other allied nations.
Formerly known as Janus Global Operations, Caliburn is most known for providing combat medical support and specialized canine support for US Department of Defense and US Department of State interests and security operations around the world.
How much does private security cost
The cost associated with hiring private security services – especially those provided by American security agents – are very high and only the affluent can really afford them. American security operators are generally more expensive than operators of other nationalities. This is driven by sheer client demand. Skilled American security agents are the most desired in the world due to the enormous level of training and experience American agents have compared to even its closest allies.
Clients can expect to pay anywhere from $500 – 800 (USD) per day, per armed agent for a static security detail. Executive protection agents can range from $600 – $2,000 (USD) per day, per agent. The actual cost will depend upon a number of factors including location where the security operation will take place, duration of the operation, and the nature of the threat itself.
Roughly half of this cost goes directly towards wages for the agent. The other half goes to the security consulting firm which provides a variety of insurance coverage for its agents in addition to skilled operational management of the security operation itself. This includes pre-mission intelligence support and a variety of complex logistics coordination throughout the duration of the security mission.
While these services are very expensive, if you are in a position to afford them, these services may save your very life – and they can actually help save you or your business interests money.
Though this information may come as a bit of a surprise to those who simply viewed security professionals as a cost-consuming—but necessary—part of a business to improve security measures, they should rather be viewed as an integral cost-saving measure as well.
In order to properly explain how hiring a security consulting firm will save you money and still reduce security risks, it’s important to have an accurate view of how these professionals operate within a business.
How Security Consultants Can Save You Money
Basically, once the success of an individual or business becomes significant enough to feel that they might become a target of harmful threats, then most rational people will explore what options are available for adequate protection. Whether this protection is used for a short-term event, one-time consultation or full-time staffing, the goals of the firm will be to analyze what your specific security needs are and then put a plan in place to meet those needs and reduce or eliminate the risks associated with you or your business.
Accomplishing these goals, whether it’s for a short- or long-term basis, will inevitably save you money. This is because security consulting firms have the experience to enact appropriate countermeasures and ensure that, whatever identifiable risk of potential damage is seen, will become less likely to happen.
On the other hand, if a person or business believes that the risk of harm isn’t valid, or the potential monetary damage is not worth hiring protection, then they are basically betting on the odds of a damaging occurrence not happening. Gambling with one’s safety and security is a very dangerous game that, if lost, has irreversible consequences. And the longer you play these odds the more likely you are to eventually lose.
Not only will hiring a security consulting service turn the odds in your favor, but they will also identify potential risks that you may not have seen or even known existed. This is yet another way these professionals will inevitably save you money because oftentimes, the most damaging risks of harm are unseen and unknown to the victim.
Other Alternatives - Kidnap & Ransom Insurance
For those individuals or businesses who feel like there is certainly the potential risk of damage, but not necessarily to the point of requiring the need to hire security consultants, then they will usually spend money on kidnap and ransom insurance policies that will cover all or part of the damages when they occur.
Doing this certainly could ease your mind by just knowing that if something were to cause significant damages your insurance claim will be there to bail you out.
This is all well and good, but this process also requires you to cough up considerable funds for ongoing and long-lasting insurance payments that, over time, will undoubtedly eclipse what you would likely have ended up spending on a security consultant. Passing some, or all of your potential risk to an insurance company, will also not prevent damaging acts from occurring and in some cases will not cover the damages if they weren’t covered in the plan, to begin with.
Those who put their trust in a security consulting firm will also save on costs because of how flexible and comprehensive these consulting services actually are. Whether you just need a bit of clarity in identifying possible threats, help preventing or reducing the risks of these threats or even part-time staffing and equipment purchases, they provide knowledgeable and highly professional assistance and services in whatever capacity is necessary.
Find a Reputable Private Security Consultant
There are businesses and individuals whose risks are simply not worth hiring a long or even short-term security consultant team. But rather than assume this is the case, you may not fully understand the true nature of the risk or threat until consulting with an expert.
So, if you’re worried about your security situation, don’t be afraid to reach out to a security consultant. If they see little risk of a threat, or they feel that there are only a few minor precautions needed in your situation, reputable security consultants will be very upfront and honest in their appraisal. While there are always unfortunate exceptions, for the most part, those who work in the security consulting field typically come from elite military backgrounds and adhere to a code of honesty and integrity.
In conclusion, the safety and security of one’s health, income, and lifestyle are definitely not something to take lightly. The threats are out there and the people behind them are constantly evolving with more unique and sophisticated ways to steal, hurt, and embarrass whomever they choose as their targets. Hiring a security consulting team will not only significantly reduce and mitigate the chances of harm but will also save you money in the process.