Regulatory compliance. One of the highest priorities and greatest challenges for organizations competing in a licensing process for a state cannabis program. Most state programs place a significant percentage (20% or more) of the application scoring on a holistic security plan that incorporates a symbiotic relationship between physical security features, policy & procedures and staff training. With such high stakes, many organizations rely on a security consultant to handcraft their operational security plan for their application.
But, how do you know what security consultant or self proclaimed ‘subject matter expert’ is qualified, capable or competent to create the intellectual and operational security content to achieve an award winning plan? Due diligence.
There is an onus on the part of your organization to vet the security consultant and verify their qualifications and successes. Here are six (6) criterion to assess and validate when considering a partnership.
What quality or expertise does your perspective security consultant bring to the table? Many times there is a misnomer that a security integrator or guard service has the knowledge, skill and proficiency to design the system or security system technology and/or security operational master plan that will fulfill regulatory compliance AND be conducive to operational workflow. Ask for the perspective consultants’ pedigree(s) and experience. Often times, consultants will stretch the validity of their qualifications. Listing a college or university on a resume does not mean that the consultant graduated from that school. To cite a popular quote floating around the Internet right now’ “Just because you’re a great pilot, doesn’t mean you’re a great air traffic controller”. The pilot is a part of the bigger system, look for a security vendor that has the qualifications to plan for and control all of the moving parts! Lastly, CHECK and VERIFY the pedigree(s) and experience. This will be a re-occurring theme on all six (6) of the criteria.
The great Connie Mack once said “You can’t win them all….”, but look for a security consultant that has proven success in state application writing. The security portion of a state application constitutes a percentage of the total score. Just because a medical or adult-use cannabis organization did not win a license does not mean that the security portion was not scored high within the application. Look not only at the total successful applications that the consultant was been involved with, but the total number of clients that the consultants is involved with. This will segue into the next criteria, references. There is a growing trend with ‘consultants’ who purport to have award-winning clients in dozens of states. Just because the consultant have spoken with a successful organization, does not mean that they were integral in winning them a licence! Once again CHECK AND VERIFY!
CHECK and VERIFY! The ability for a prospective security consultant to provide a list of professional references is crucial in the vetting process. The reference provided should be able to attest to the qualifications, skill and proficiency of the security consultant. When checking on references, do not be afraid to ask them for limitations or deficiencies of the perspective consultant. References are critical….don’t rely on reputation alone. Successful security leaders of the past may not be verse to the industry standards and environment of today. Call on references to CHECK and VERIFY that the security consultant will be the right fit for the impression, character and feel of your organization.
Financial stability may not be the first thing that you think of when vetting a security consultant, but is an important criteria. The financial stability of a consultant shows not only responsibility, but practical and operational relevance for their business, but can transcend into the operational security plan for your organization. A financially stable consultant can also ensure that the firm or organization you choose to represent your security views will be viable for years to come, creating a long-term partnership. This partnership is essential in honing the security plan for optimal efficiency. Don’t be concerned about CHECKING and VERIFYING a consultant’s financial position…be concerned if they are not forthcoming with that information.
Ask the security consultant about affiliations or associations they are connected with. Industry leading associations provide current trends, industry standards & norms, case studies, models and specifications . An affiliation with these associations help ensure that that the security consultant has the accessibility to the newest industry information. This is critical as the criminal element and regulatory compliance continue to change. Check and verify that the perspective security consultant is current in their membership and in good standing.
INSURANCE AND LICENSING
The last verification one can do to vet a security consultant is to validate the appropriate licensing and insurance at a local or state level. Horror stories abound of organizations that contract with vendors or consultants to find out at the time of inspection, that they are not licensed or insured to do the work. This verification should be completed before any contract is signed!
Be cautious of the security consultant wolf in sheep’s clothing. Due diligence on your part prior to entering into a contractual agreement can save time, effort and anxiety in the end! Feel free to contact us for guidance with any security risk management concerns!