Asset and employee security is among the most basic aspects of running a business, yet too often it's a neglected aspect of the most agile and proficient companies around.
That's the opinion of Hillard Heintze Chief Operating Officer Ken Bouche, who spoke to fellow members of the Schaumburg Business Association Tuesday about the internal investigations and security risk management in which his own firm specializes.
Though Hillard Heintze is based in Chicago, Bouche is especially familiar with Schaumburg. He served as the village's interim police chief last year when his firm was hired to help reorganize the department after the arrests of three undercover officers on drug conspiracy charges.
Bouche said his presentation Tuesday was not to pitch Hillard Heintze's services to Schaumburg's business community, but to invite its companies to seek advice from a fellow member.
"We owe Schaumburg a lot and we thank you for being here," he told those gathered at the breakfast forum at Chandler's Chophouse.
Michael Crane, senior vice president of Hillard Heintze, said the reason security is so often overlooked is that it's a cost, not a revenue generator. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in discussing security is convincing a company a security breach can happen.
If prevention is the first step in a security plan, the ultimate goal is assurance -- the feeling that one can go home every night with the belief that the business will be sound the next day.
Although workplace violence is what most often gets attention, corporate identity theft is about as bad as it can be right now, Crane said.
A company that doesn't have to deal with social media these days is fortunate in terms of keeping its security simpler, he added. But an incredible amount of information can be gathered from social media about potential and current employees -- the greatest source of a company's internal threats.
Security should always be a proactive mindset for any company with something to protect, Bouche added. Changes in employees' personal or professional statuses can be indicators.
The recent shooting of a CEO in Chicago by a demoted employee from Tower Lakes is an example of an event that was preventable, even if not foreseen, he said.
But security also can be as simple as knowing where the power source is for a factory dependent on running 24 hours a day, Crane said.
Although security is a cost, companies should be able to determine a return on their investment, he added. This comes from comparing one's security costs with those of competitors and looking at what's going on in the world.