Security budgets were up 9.1 percent in 2004, compared to 2003, according to the 2004 ASIS U.S. Salary Survey. That supports the view expressed by most of the security professionals interviewed for this article that companies are adequately funding the security function and are being given the additional resources they need to handle the expanding duties arising from new regulations and concerns about terrorism.
"I have to justify my budget just like everybody else," says Jeriel S. Garland, chief security officer at Magellan Behavioral Health. "But as long as I can justify it, they really haven't turned me down for anything that I thought was significant," he says. That was the general experience of many others as well.
Of course, security department fortunes are closely tied to their companies' financial success and to the economics of the sector they serve. For example, at Avaya, Inc., the security budget and staffing is starting to trend up, says Marene N. Allison, director of global security, but that's not because the company is spending more on security per revenue dollar, she explains. It is "just because revenue dollars are actually increasing."
On the flip side, because the telecommunications sector is flat, "we are having to do with a little bit older equipment," says Kevin Keefe, chief security officer at Fairpoint Communications, and the tight budget means sometimes getting "just a single reporting alarm system as opposed to having an Internet or WAN alarm-activated video link."
Keefe has a long-term goal to have every location linked through the Internet. And that long-term planning is key, says Arnette Heintze, director of security for PepsiCo Beverages and Foods. "You do it a little bit at a time, year after year."
And you look for ways to "dollarize" the value that security returns to the company. For example, says Heintze, you explain that insider theft costs companies an average of 6 percent and tie that to your own company's revenue. Ultimately, if the company is serious about security, he says, senior executives will be willing to bear the expense of security in return for the benefits.
Sherry L. Harowitz is editor-in-chief of Security Management.