Maintaining security systems makes financial sense

The cost of maintaining security equipment can be substantial. That’s why the key to the successful implementation of security equipment is to consider the maintenance thereof in the procurement phase, says Cedric Greeves, Sales Leader: Tyco Integrated Fire & Security South Africa.

He points out that statistics from their counterparts across the world show that the cost of maintenance of security equipment can equate to anything from as little as 20% of the cost of the system over its lifespan, to well over 150%. “This is largely due to the length of time these systems are required to work. If the lifespan of a system is more than 10 years, the ongoing maintenance over the life of the system can very well result in this effect.

It also depends on other variables. For example an environment like a mine that generates a lot of dust might require more frequent maintenance than a typical office; the investment required to maintain a site that is quite remote will attract higher costs due to teams having to travel to complete the maintenance as opposed to a similar site that is local.

Whatever the case, Greeves maintains that these costs are fully justified by how crucial the maintenance of security equipment is. “First off it ensures the optimal performance of the system, ensuring the system is ‘fit for purpose’ throughout the system’s lifecycle. It also ensures cost containment, as regular maintenance of security equipment over time does result in a reduction of untimely breakdowns that not only make the facility vulnerable, but can also be quite expensive. It’s also an investment protection over time as regular maintenance on security equipment, like many other systems, has shown to extend the life of the equipment which in turn diminishes the number of capital investments in security equipment for companies.”

Maintenance should therefore never be seen as a cost, but rather as an investment geared to protecting the capital already invested in the deployment of the security equipment; ensuring that the equipment always functions as originally intended, as well as the cost avoidance associated with untimely disruptions due to breakdowns.

To limit any nasty surprises, Greeves advises clients to consider maintenance costs in the procurement phase. “Keep it simple. Invest in reputable brands from reputable integrators who have the resources and the infrastructure to provide proper support. These integrators must be supported by reputable manufacturers or distributors. One can have a great maintenance programme on paper but if the equipment originally deployed is sub-standard or the integrator cannot adequately support because of an unknown manufacturer or distributor, the whole system fails.”

From the supplier’s side on the other hand, what’s key to developing a successful maintenance programme is having a clear understanding of the client’s operational environment and the impacts or risks associated with malfunctioning security equipment. . A good maintenance regime takes into account periodic preventative maintenance requirements together with the clients ‘uptime’ requirements for the overall system or parts of the system. For example, in areas of a facility where high-value assets or critical information is kept, the security equipment monitoring or protecting these areas will demand a higher uptime, whereas a lower risk area could be out of operation for a slightly longer period before it becomes critical.

“In Tyco’s case we would then have a conversation with our client around the specific requirements as well as the key dependencies to ensure the systems performance. These include things like third party support for power, network, and hardware such as doors and gates, for example, that could be managed by the clients’ facilities team or another outside contractor. There’s no point in having a contract that demands 24-hour support for security equipment on the client’s network when the internal service agreement with their IT department can only provide support during business hours.”

Once the Tyco team, has a grasp of these issues and the client’s business imperatives then, together with the client, the team can envision and architect a maintenance solution for them. “While we have maintenance teams that support many clients every day, in some instances some clients choose to manage all first line maintenance issues themselves – particularly when they are in a remote location or because they have the manpower to do so. Ultimately, it comes down to what will ensure the maximum uptime for the client and what works best for them ensuring there is no compromise in quality and the roles and responsibilities of all parties are clearly defined,” he concludes.


Compiled on behalf of ADT by Cathy Findley Public Relations