In the security industry, we often hear clients using the terms “security company” and “security integrator” interchangeably. However, the difference between these two is more than semantic—and clients who don’t understand this often have issues with their security later. You need to know the different services each offers before making a decision. This way, you’ll be able to find the best partner and develop the best system for your business.
A Security Company vs. a Security Integrator
One case we frequently run into when setting up a new client is what we call “security fruit salad.” Their systems are scattered and not fully connected, nor do they have a design or blueprint that shows them where everything is. After years of redesigns and upgrades, it’s not unusual to have a lot of devices collecting information, but not storing that information in a helpful, logical way. This issue often arises with clients who are working with a security company, not realizing what they really need is an integrator.
To make sure you are pursuing the right option for your company, here are just a few of the key differences between the two:
A Security Company
A Security Integrator
Project-based approach: The company focuses on solving an immediate issue within a segment of a security system. It’s a “bandage approach” that focuses on solving a specific problem with specific products.
Partnership approach: The integrator implements a long-term strategy. Decisions made today will have an impact 3 to 5 years down the road. The focus is on how the entire system works together, rather than on specific products.
Sales POC: Your point of contact will be a salesperson who takes down information regarding your specific request and then forwards those specs on to an engineer before presenting that engineer’s suggestions to you.
Engineer POC: Your contact for the life of your account will be an engineer who will review all your existing systems and create a plan, which they will then install, implement and maintain. Their focus is on educating the client over selling products.
Narrow focus: These companies may specialize in a specific area, a brand of technology or system. As a result, they will generally design solutions around that particular area of focus.
Big-picture focus: Integrators are focused on output, seeking the best solutions for your entire system. They will get creative and try unique combinations to create the best, most cost-effective solution.
Low up-front cost: As you’re typically only solving one part of the problem, your price when working with a security company may be small in the beginning. However, when you cobble together your entire security system piecemeal, it could wind up costing upwards of 3 to 5 times more over time.
More cost effective overall: With an integrator, the system is designed to last, and to allow you to add new items as needed. While the initial price may be higher, over time it will be much lower as the system is consistently working as one cohesive, well-regulated unit.
Quotes: You will receive a quote that will outline the cost of the installation of the devices you choose. The quote won’t go into specific detail over what will be done but will focus on the price point of each step.
Proposals: You will receive an extensive plan that provides a full assessment of your current system, as well as a blueprint for improvement.
Often, after completing a proposal for a new client, they’ll ask us, “Why haven’t any of our previous integrators shown us this?” The answer: “Because they’re not security integrators, they’re security companies.” We are integrators, and that means our focus is on value engineering. We don’t just provide products. We offer comprehensive solutions.
So what is a security integrator? They’re the engineer who partners with you to implement a long-term security strategy focusing on the cost-effective, big picture solution.