Security operations managers are responsible for protecting a company’s physical assets against theft or damage. They develop and enforce security policies that can enhance the safety of employees and visitors, design emergency response procedures, manage the security budget and ensure efficient utilization of security personnel. Security operations managers work in colleges, universities, banks, manufacturing plants, government agencies and other large private, nonprofit and public entities.
Using the Skills
Strong analytical, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are must-haves for security operations managers. When formulating an emergency response plan, for example, they must assess various emergency scenarios, including hostage situations and electrical fires, and determine suitable protective actions. Personnel management and leadership skills are also important, as these managers must delegate tasks to security supervisors and provide guidance to an organization’s workforce during security crises. Security operations managers also need some business acumen, since the job may involve negotiating prices with vendors of security equipment.
Developing Security Policies and Programs
A security operations manager evaluates an organization's day-to-day operations and develops policies to eliminate exposure to break-ins, acts of terrorism and other security threats. For example, in a manufacturing plant that usually allows suppliers to unload raw material at multiple locations within the facility, the security operations manager may establish a new policy requiring all suppliers to make deliveries at a single, guarded location. Security operations managers also develop security awareness programs, which provide for training the workforce on security issues facing the company and promote best practices, such as immediately reporting loss of access cards.
Managing Security Personnel
To succeed in protecting an organization’s workforce, visitors and physical assets, the security operations manager must hire qualified mid-level security supervisors and see to it that guards are deployed effectively. She must stay abreast of emergency security threats and respond appropriately. If a nearby business was recently robbed, for instance, the security operations manager can hire more guards to beef up the organization’s security.
Another duty of security operations managers is controlling the security budget. They allocate funds to such activities as training security personnel and maintenance of electronic security and alarm systems. These professionals also maintain professional relationships with manufacturers and suppliers of security equipment and provide support to law enforcement agencies during investigations of security incidents.
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in organizational security and management is the best way to prepare yourself for this job. You will likely begin as a security coordinator, scheduling the work of security guards, and move up the ladder with increasing experience. The American Society for Industrial Security International issues the Physical Security Professional credential, which you can obtain after at least four years of experience to boost your chances of landing this job.
After working for several years as a security operations manager and earning a master's degree in security management, you can advance to an executive-level position, such as security director.
According to the job site Indeed, security operations managers earned an average annual salary of $59,000 as of March 2015.