5 Security Factors to Consider When Expanding to Global Markets

Due to the current business climate, expansion to global markets isn’t necessarily at the top of an organization’s to-do list. However, as companies slowly get back into the swing of things and look forward to the future, expansion may become an important point of discussion. 

Expanding into global markets can lead to increased sales and profits, job creation and enhancement to your prestige. While it presents exciting opportunities, expansion also brings an entirely new set of factors your company must consider, especially concerning security. 

While you’ve likely developed a plan for the security issues present at your domestic locations, your new foreign locations will require a different plan of action. As you prepare to enter global markets, you should address several key security factors to protect your expanding company and ensure you start your new operations on the right foot.


1. Technical Specifications

When opening your new locations, physical security should take precedence. But each country will have its own peculiarities in regard to building and installing new physical security systems, so you’ll need to understand and prepare for them.

For example: Obvious standards like power and mounting formats of devices vary by country/region.  Specifications need to be applicable to the locations to avoid unnecessary cost and delays.

Life safety considerations with regard to egress also vary greatly and require careful planning when it comes to locking hardware design and implementation. Egress codes differ not only by country, but in many countries, they can vary from region to region.  

Take time before you open your global offices to compile a technical specification playbook for each country. In your playbook, keep track of elements like naming conventions, hardware specs and typical wiring diagrams. You’ll also want a list of available in-country suppliers to handle your installation needs. A completed playbook will help streamline your decision-making process.


2. Local Laws and Regulations

Other countries have implemented many different kinds of laws and regulations around what your company can and cannot do. While it may seem obvious that you should review your legal standings in your target markets, a country’s laws can quickly become complicated–and you will still need to comply with them.

Some countries have much more stringent laws around data usage, for example. Some prohibit data exportation or limit the information you can retain about employees. If your security system includes cameras, you might be prohibited from monitoring your employees in their workplace or surveilling public areas like sidewalks and even streets. This can impact security measures you want to deploy as part of your centralized operations, platforms and remote services. 

Research ahead of time can save you headaches–or more serious repercussions–after you’ve established your operations. Investigate laws and regulations in your targeted countries and compile the relevant ones within your playbook.


3. New Technological Innovations

While you’ve likely considered technology’s impact on your local market, a global program now requires global strategic thinking and planning around innovation. In the security space, technology advances at a staggering pace, and innovations like quantum computing and artificial intelligence present challenges and opportunities. You’ll need to prepare for new security threats, particularly in cyberspace, and incorporate new technology into your security program.

An AI-powered security monitoring system, for example, can augment the work security guards perform at your international sites. Rather than relying on mind-numbing passive surveillance, AI could actively alert your guards to an unusual situation and direct them to the correct monitor to track the potential threat. This measure saves time and money, improving the ROI on your global expansion efforts.

New technologies will generate innovations at an ever-faster rate, so build an upgrade schedule into your security plans. New devices will need to be installed and cybersecurity measures will require upgrades. So long as new technology complies with a country’s laws and regulations, you’ll want to plan for how to incorporate advances into your program.


4. Consistency in Execution

Once you establish your operations, how do you ensure consistent protection? Consistency in execution is a common problem impacting many companies’ global security presences. Often tied down with constrained budgets, security professionals struggle to determine where the actual risks are within their companies and how to consistently execute top-quality security with limited resources.

As part of your security plan, you should be able to answer questions like: What am I going to get hit with as head of security for this company in 12 months? Do the current global challenges change these possibilities? What is my risk? What is my threat? Your security playbook should also answer these questions and provide technical details for solving them. A security partner specializing in global enterprise security can help you answer those questions, too. 

From there, you should plan your security profile’s growth stages at your new locations. Ensure you’re allocating sufficient resources to purchase new equipment or to upgrade other components.


5. Relationships With Workforce and Clients

New countries bring your employees into contact with new cultures–and novel ways of doing business. But like your domestic clients, your international clients are looking for a partner they can trust. You’ll also be building trust with your own international workforce. A global workforce requires a different management style than your domestic counterpart.

For security purposes, embedding a security program manager into your international operations could help accomplish this. Through this program, your security partner can provide a knowledgeable manager to oversee security operations to the standards you wish to set globally to protect your workforce and build trust with your clients. 

Your security partner should also be operating a program management office to run security activities across borders. With the patchwork of regulations and cultural differences between countries, having one place to standardize operations can simplify much of the relationship-building process.

No one ever says that expanding globally will be easy. However, while global markets offer many opportunities to expand your business, your security profile must expand with it. In a post-pandemic world, the security of your company is going to be an important and necessary asset. By considering these security factors, you can protect your new locations and secure your global expansion efforts while alleviating any additional stress. 

  • Originally published November 10, 2020