Caveat Emptor: Performance, value and security.

Posted on 8 October, 2015 by Patrick Estebe in General Security

Performance is considerably more important than value when it comes to security.

Most business decisions are made based on value. Value, perceived or real, fading or growing, is what Wall Street is all about. Therefore it is not a surprise that many business men would look at security from that perspective.001

Let’s look at transportation and the purchase of a car. If one wants value it will be difficult to beat a Mazda 3, or in cold climate or rural environment a Subaru Forrester. These vehicles will effectively and efficiently be driven for many thousands of miles, and if transportation is the only concern we should see hundreds of those cars. Given the great number of Corvettes, Chargers and Mustangs, to say nothing of the BMW, the Porsche and the GTRs, it is obvious that some drivers are looking at transportation from a performance, rather than value, perspective.

002The purchase of a firearm can also be made from either a value or a performance perspective. The “Saturday Night Special” cannot be beat in terms of value; some can be had at amazing prices. And they certainly qualify as guns, as many carrying them illegally find out when arrested. The good news with these value guns is that they actually did not operate against a number of innocent victims to the utter dismay of would be assassins. If your life depends on it; the difference between value and performance should be discovered long before the latter is needed to save the day. A great gun may cost four times as much as a Saturday Night Special, but it will perform as expected if or when one needs it.

The very same mistakes are made every day for security services. In the maritime security sector where prices have been driven down in the quest for value, we now see operators whom I would rather trust with lawn mowers rather than guns. This is all good and well to check the little square on the form provided by the insurance. Until performance is needed at which time things could go seriously wrong. The problem with low cost security is that while it may be enough for the known threats, it could fall short of what is necessary when an unforeseen configuration occurs. A well known Secretary of State lamented famously the unknown unknowns; this is the time when only performance matters. Consider that you have to hire a sniper for security purposes (which is very close to the purpose of maritime security), and consider now that this sniper would actually need to act to save the day; would you rather have the “value” sniper who certainly knows a thing or two about guns but has never really had sniper training let alone experience? Or would you rather have the Navy Commando who has proven his mettle time and again and has also acquired the calm necessary to react appropriately even under fire??


The question here is to ascertain the purpose of security. Is security simply another unpleasant charge undertaken simply to comply with some administrative requirements? Then it may be better to obtain a waiver and have no security rather than the illusion of security. Or is security a protection against some risks, known or unknown, that for being only potential are nonetheless very real?

There is truly no need for a performance car when bringing the kids to school, and while some may own one simply to show off in front of the café terrace, I suspect many a performance car owner knows that this performance tool could be relied on in case of unforeseen emergencies… Very much like a reliably performing gun, or an experienced sniper.

When it comes to security; only performance matters.



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