(What’s it like on the front line supporting the firm’s clients?  What are the challenges the firm’s experts help senior business executives, general counsel, board members and other decision-makers address?  Welcome to ACTION WEDNESDAY.  Every Wednesday, the Front Line Blog publishes a new case study.)

Global Expansion: Strategic Security Integration

As a torrid, three-year acquisition spree began to wind down, the executive leaders of this established U.S. enterprise began to focus on how to address a much wider, global set of risks to its newly expanded portfolio of businesses.

“We are a more complex, diversified company today,” the board chairman and former CEO explained in a face-to-face discussion. “And we have a lot of strategic security issues here we need to address in a much more globally integrated way.” He ticked off the priorities on his fingers. “Supply chain integrity. Product diversion and counterfeiting. Workplace violence prevention. Threat assessment. Executive protection. Major event security.” The list went on.

The Outsourced CSO Option

Hillard Heintze’s counsel was straightforward. “Here’s what we hear you saying,” said Arnette Heintze, “You have four immediate priorities. You need a clear understanding about where the greatest risks to your company reside, new security leadership, a global vision and an integrated plan. Have us serve as your ‘outsourced CSO’ for six months. We’ll help you get on the right track.” Hillard Heintze immediately undertook risk, threat and vulnerability assessments of the manufacturer’s four most critical facilities. We then used the results of these independent reviews — along with input and feedback from line management and functional leaders across the enterprise — to craft a comprehensive, three-year global security strategy blueprint. While this activity was under way, the firm also tapped its network and presented the manufacturer with six highly experienced Fortune 500-caliber candidates for the new CSO position.

Seamless Transition

One of these candidates was the Hillard Heintze Task Lead, a former FBI executive who had helped leading companies in three distinct industries embrace a progressive, best-practice approach to security. Pleased with the rigorous and professional approach of the Hillard Heintze team and the confidence it had built in the skills of this executive, the manufacturer’s board voted to make him the new CSO. Seamlessly, without any transition or delay, the new security leader began to systematically transform the new strategy into action.

The Perspective of Hillard Heintze’s Project Manager

It’s not that this market player didn’t have security in place. They did. It just wasn’t strategy driven or globally integrated. Which was why the ‘outsourced CSO’ model — one in front, 40 behind — was such an effective answer here. Leadership is always important — especially when you are planning a step change in the maturity of your corporate security function. But you also need real subject-matter expertise across many more domains than a single CSO can claim credit for. In these circumstances – periods of corporate transition, escalations in risk levels and organizational complexity, insufficient time to build an internal security team in the right way — the ‘outsourced CSO model’ can make enormous sense.”

The ACTION WEDNESDAY Tool Box: Two Key Take-Aways

1.  Look first. Plan second. A global security strategy needs to be driven by accurate, comprehensive current state assessment, key findings and strategic recommendations on the best opportunities to establish a world-class program.  Without insight, the plan is just expensive shelf ware.

2.  Building out the strategy takes time.  Don’t wait. Get an outsourced CSO in place.  This ensures that you are aligning security with strategic business objectives from Day One, as you build out your security program in line with your security strategy blueprint.