ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 18, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 25
Financial Times  

Business protection – beyond traditional reflections

By Damith Kurunduhewa

The great German philosopher poet Goethe` explained a day to day chorus in his unique literary brilliance in this form - many moons ago: “Once you have missed the first buttonhole, you will never be able to button up”. Let’s spread this perspective to protective functions in business and - we know for sure it is nothing but absolute sense in any scale of measurement. If we miss out or mess up the first step, the whole protective journey becomes a limping move. Or worst still - a non starter - although some efforts may have been made.

The protection for businesses by way of a specific security arrangement has seen its birth in Sri Lanka as far back as 1956 on the basis of a private watchman service. The same five decades have resulted in a colossal modernization in converting ordinary businesses to giant scale corporates that are complex in nature and motion.

Yet the concepts of business protection – sadly - remain more or less in the same still waters. In summary, we have not been able to see the corporate protection - merely beyond opening and closing gates. If we are to protect a business efficiently and successfully, the business protectors need to be moving ahead of the business momentum in order to grasp and to be pro-active in their preventive, detective or mitigating responses. Thus the transformation of corporate protection from traditional REACTIVE formula into a contemporary scientific reflection - is fast becoming the order of the day and the future.

PROTECTION from all forms of corporate negativities is a premier need of a business. The greater the business width is – higher it has the need for professional protection.

“Taller we grow – more vulnerable we are as targets” goes a saying and its meaning demands us to realize the need for corporate protection – not just on a cosmetic point of view – but on a holistic depth - that will sustain while keep changing with business modernization and specialization. The protective approach for a retail market focused business and data researching focused business can never be the same. To realize this process specific protective mapping, we need to look beyond the tradition where protection was misread as few security men and few surveillance cameras in and around the business premises.

Corporate protection is a strategic business function – if we care to gaze beyond the traditional focal point. Its utility value is far greater than a support function thus making it as a core business discipline. It’s not about cash flow, but its all about keeping your business in one piece to ensure that all other business functions are possible and feasible. We often see terms such as dynamic and creative in describing a business. Yet we hardly see the term SECURED in use anywhere. Some could also debate that a ‘secured business’ is an internal affair, but the term dynamism has an outward selling niche. Let them teach us this too then. How to be dynamic when you are insecure and in the face of peril? How to be creative when you are under pressure by staff mutiny? How to be aggressively market dominant when your complex is burning in a raging inferno? How to delight the customer when you crawl on the hiding – or running away from work place due to a threat on your life?

We may have been operating on our LUCK factor than anything else so far. Thus, the complacent notion which penetrates our mind is that the protective benchmark of the business is great and far from worrying. The question is whether it is has been tested in the ROUGH SEA in reality. If not, maybe we are conveniently sitting on a volcano with a sweet smile – not knowing the negativities that are yet to roll in – someday just out of the blues.

Business protection is a task for professionals who can read the business like a book. It is far too complex to be left in the hands of the security men at the gate. For instance, a security officer at the gate may detect an employee with a bundle of blak sheets while taking them out of the premises (unauthorized) which constitutes a basic level of security. At the same time, another employee emails the next year business plan of the company to its competitor in exchange for a colossal gratification. See the comparative business impact on what was detected and - what flew out of you without being detected or protected. Can we say that the business protection was at the desired bracket??? As John F. Kennedy said “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth”. It’s time to break free.

The author is Strategic Security Specialist / Pragmatic Trainer & CEO of Strategic Security Solutions. He can be reached at –


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