There erupted spontaneously an enthusiastic applause alongside an agnostic apprehension amongst my august audience at the SCOPE Convention Center, New Delhi during the WICS DeepTech Summit 2019; when I said during my presentation that “Security as a Service” was probably the earliest to turn professional and that it has remained recession free since.

Ever since the Hunter Gatherer days there always existed the reciprocal task of self preservation, preservation of their catchment of hunt and preserving their hearth deep inside their primitive caves. There’s been no looking back for the Private Security Industry since, except that those caves are now our modern edifices to be guarded and that the threatening wild life to be distrustful of are now the VUCAs (vulnerabilities, uncertainties, confusions and ambiguities) of modern day living. Covid-19 VUCA is the latest of them. So, how do we respond to such emergencies striking us like a thunder bolt from the deep blue sky. Unsuspecting and naïve human civilization that we are; with all our modern trappings a-la-carte; real, digital, virtual and imaginative, the Covid-19 is really the big monster spewing fire relentlessly this time. Though, the Private Security Sector has had it consistently neck deep historically; whereas if we take a satellite view of it in time and space, we really have our hands full now with the recent disruptions shaking up entire economies and the worsening post pandemic situations we may anticipate.

No doubt, over last four decades or so, manned guarding in India has evolved from ‘chowkidari’ to ‘ManTech’ soon morphing to ‘TechMan’ before settling into full the blown TSM (Total Security Management) or Total Security Solution format with the convergence of physical guarding, electronic security & surveillance, cyber security and internal threats as a packaged end-to-end service. Apparently discerning markets too are warming up to TSM or TSS , albeit too slow to rejoice.


Specific Impacts Over Last Decade or So

With the emergence of ‘New India’ and flushed through it’s motions akin to a process industry production line mechanical throughput measures, many a reformative and restructuring initiatives have sort of left the PSAs (Private Security Agencies) flabbergasted and exhausted. Though at the end of the tunnel silver linings emerge for the Industry as cash flows are getting streamlined, statutory compliances getting the right scrutiny by tightening the loos ends, processes are predictable and time bound, etc.

The hailstorm that passed us over this decade, with some vortices still trailing its wake include demonetization, banking sector M&As within the backdrop of reeling NPAs, mandatory digitization of salary payment, compulsory onboarding of PSAs onto digital platforms for statutory compliances, One Nation One Tax via the GST platform including e-invoice facilitation, stringent implementation of PSA(R)A, etc. have all done the industry mighty good and future ready. Also helped alongside are the reforms in labor laws, insolvency & bankruptcy code, skill india initiatives, and many more.

The above developments have necessitated conservative spend decisions where Finance Controllers are coming under pressure to ensure legalities & compliances are strictly followed hence the entire industry is decelerating or already attained idling speeds. When business sustainability is prime, growth of top and bottom lines get relegated.

Stakeholders’ Education and Higher Expectations

As the Private Security Sector gets more and more organized and structured, expectations from Clients also get realigned in terms of quality service deliverance. Industries try to rationalize their budget with well articulated contracts to meet their specific BCM, ORM and Loss Prevention  objectives, few as mentioned below:-

  • They expect up-scaling of security resource like man guards, firecrew, disaster management teams and first aid deliverers, their relevant skill sets and knowledge.
  • Clients expect modified JD/KPI Key Performance Indicators of Security Guards to enhance resource utilization.
  • Pressure on PSAs to meet the above demand supply gap in KPI based man guarding services &  Security, fire and first aid training .
  • The resource pool of security guards have not managed to absorb the fast paced changes in good time resulting in slow progression of the Industry as such.
  • TSM or Total Security Solutions is still not recognized and adopted by industries at large as an essential  business function which assists in top and bottom line enhancements.
  • TSS  is seen as a cost item hence the natural tendency is to hammer costs down by refusing, reducing or restructuring.


The Present Crisis

Reports suggest that ongoing extensive research on SARS & MERS, had though identified trends however no exact prediction of its fallout could be made. The spread of Coronavirus has caught us all unaware and impacted the global population, health and economy. The Pandemic is a declared Epidemic in India and has the potential to wreck huge havoc. Associated and collateral causes and effects are global recessionary trends, oil war between the Russian block and Saudi/US blocks, weakening of INR against the Dollar, stock markets crash, etc.


Predicaments of The Indian Private Security Services Industry

Almost all industries are facing severe downturns or recessionary pressure. Lets take the banking sector as an example as it is the blood line for all industries and sectors. Manguarding strength is consistently being reduced thereby impacting severely PSAs’ revenues and profitability. Many PSAs have succumbed to recession and collapsed, many are struggling to remain afloat.   This is as a result of Bank M&As, banking transactions shifting from cash to online, e-lobbies replacing large number of stand alone ATMs, rapid adoption of electronic security & remote surveillance of physical vulnerabilities, evolved policies in BCM in banking sector, etc. At many Banks the role of Security Guard is completely rehashed for the Bank to best utilize its available resource. Other industries face similar predicaments with respect to security needs and existing security guards.


What Challenges Do The PSAs Face

As the above study suggests, there is a certain likelihood of PSAs facing hard impacts on their revenues, profitability and even their sustainability. PSAs must hasten to shift from ManTech to TechMan man guarding to Total Security Solutions to  remain relevant in a fast evolving scenario.  Non payment or delayed payment from clients may force PSAs into a debt trap.

Expanding services in Southern India region.   |   CISS Ltd opens an all new branch at Sriperumbudur Tamil Nadu on 15 Dec 2021   |   Recently CISS Ahmedabad deployed 5 Security Guards and two supervisors at Blue Star & Hosur Branch deployed 20+10 (30) Security Guards at two new Locations. Hosur Branch has also deployed three ASOs at the auto major Ashok Leyland foundry.   |   Recently CISS Pune deployed Security Guards and Firemen at an extremely challenging remote location   |   Service delivery at this private port involves multimodal logistics and exposure to the elements   |   Pune Branch has moved the operational excellence bar have many notches higher   |   Contrary to all expectations the second pandemic wave gripped India   |   CISS however had already braced up   |   From January 2021 onwards our management intensified training – reskilling for all staff   |   The three shields of Masking – Social Distancing – Washing hands are now a way of life for the CISS Family   |   We are constantly re-training our guards to be sensitive but firm, soft but to have zero tolerance to people not wearing masks – Those not following Social Distancing and Those not cleansing their hands at each access point.   |   CISS Mgt reassured all its people most importantly our security guards that CISS stood solidly behind each employee direct or indirect   |   All direct employees have been covered under a new Medicare insurance cover   |   We have got all our security guards deployed at a major Hospital vaccinated   |   We are proactively taking an initiative to allow priority vaccination to all private security guards   |   CISS management has ensured that Not a single person has been laid off – All Salaries are paid well in time – All Bonuses were distributed during festivals   |   CISS management was at work 365 days   |   During the recent Tauktae cyclone – dry rations & potable drinking water was distributed at all posts – they were manned and monitored – continuously   |   We are aware that our Clients Business Continuity Plans are bound to be tested We are preparing and practicing for our renewed roles.    |     Our guards and operational teams will continue to take full precautions and practice emergency protocols.    |     We are ensuing strictest access control and protocols, as set by our clients.     |     To this end, we can deploy COVID-19 Marshal Services; to enforce your new safety enhancing protocols with rigour, thus ensuring 100% compliance with zero tolerance towards violators   |    CISS - Where the ordinary achieve the extraordinary.   |     Nuggets on our Site : Press button CISS Profile Animation on home page.    |    Can you imagine what will happen if even one person tests positive at your plant ?     |     Do you believe that your present arrangements are adequate ?    |     How will you prevent it ?     |     Want to learn what new protocols should be followed ? Press Button : CISS Manual for Revised Enhanced Security Protocols due Covid-19 on home page.     |     To read more go to page 11 of CISS Manual Of Revised Security Protocols Due Covid-19 on home page.    |     Are you aware that a temperature over 100.4°F (38°C) is most often presumed to be fever caused by an Infection or illness ??     |    Also the human body temperature normally changes throughout the day.     |     Did you know the recommended way of using Human Body Temperature Scanner ??    |     The correct way to use these thermal scanners is to place the individual at a distance of 1-3 cm from the scanning device.    |    If the person being scanned is beyond this distance, the air temperature is also factored in by the device in its reading.    |     This gives a false sense of comfort to the assessors and the people being scanned.    |    Did you know that a Pandemic means that a disease has spread in a large global area.    |     Pandemic is defined as the worldwide spread of any disease for which people do not have immunity.     |     Hence both Government and each one of us have to take extra precaution to prevent the infection.     |     Therefore gradually businesses and work will return to a new normal wherein we all will have take precautions against the infection - continue to work and undertake all other routine activities.   |   Are you sure you know the difference between Quarantine & Isolation ?     |     Quarantine is for people who were exposed to risk of Corona virus but are not sick.     |    Isolation is for only people who are sick and they require proper infection control and sterilization measures.     |     Quarantine requires people to remain at their homes or at a designated place for 14 Days.     |    Isolation separates people who are sick from those who are not sick and allows appropriate treatment in a hospital setting.     |     Just because one has been quarantined does not mean the person is sick.    |    Contact CISS India today for Security Consulting and Security Services in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Indore, Roorkee, Nagpur etc..    |     1) Wear a fabric mask over the surgical mask if you are around people affected with covid-19.   2) A fabric mask is ideally made out of 3 layers of fabric.   3) Make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.   4) Do not share your mask with anybody else.   5) Maintain at least 1- 2 metre distance and wash your hands frequently.   6) Spraying and introducing bleach or another disinfectant into your body WILL NOT protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous.   7) The COVID-19 virus can spread in hot and humid & cold climates.   8) Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the COVID-19 virus.   9) SMS - As you step out please pay attention to SMS - Sanitizer, Mask & Social Distancing.   10) Lockdown or no lockdown – Curfew or no Curfew SOCIAL DISTANCING IS A MUST.   11) Saaf haath hai surakshith haath.   12) CISS salutes the courage and energy of all the corona warriors.   13) Ensure proper cleaning and frequent sanitization of the frequently touched surfaces.   14) Don't participate in large gatherings, including sitting in groups at canteens.  (Mostly the information is from the WHO website).