President, Secure SA
Before, it was easier to operate and there were not as many regulations; however, now, everything has evolved. It has been difficult to educate the market as people change their views of what private security is. Private security has become an important part of everyone’s operations. We have electronic security to help monitor someone’s place. We add much more to the bottom line, which people truly take into account. Now, security is becoming an integral part of business operations. Companies take us more seriously; public opinion is still a little behind what we want to project, though this is changing. The Ministry of Public Security wants to eliminate firearms from private security and has asked us to present a report on the need to use firearms in all our security posts. Certain clients welcome it, while others are up in arms about it and do not understand. People in other countries are not armed, though they have the infrastructure to call for those who are; we are not at that level. The infrastructure needs to be in place in order to replace, face, and repel those who want to do harm. The country needs to do something about the requirements for armed and non-armed guards.
Costa Rica, like anywhere else in the world, faces serious security challenges. We are the only security company in Latin America with ISO 9000, OSHA 18000, and in the short term, BASC certifications. The idea is to have all three, which is a unique way of working here. We sell electronic management products such as cameras and other surveillance devices. The market is moving more toward technology because equipment never sleeps. We invest once in security and do not need to invest again and again, as one might do with security guards. Over the long term, it is cheaper than having other types of security or security guards. However, there will always be a need to have a combination of both; equipment cannot move or take action. The government’s reforms will certainly help us. Fortunately, we do all of the right procedures and process management. We work eight hours a day, and this is the reason why we are at times more expensive compared to others. The new reform will ban all weapons, and as of May 2017, we destroyed every gun we had in the office. We use 100% technology now. The risks in this sector are extremely high and it is a difficult industry to work in; with any luck, the new reforms will push informal companies out.
General Manager, Eric Koberg
The security guard market will change in the mid term; simply having security guards is no longer sustainable. Paying for one guard 24 hours a day every month is expensive, and companies no longer want to do it. We looked for a way to change our services and decided to replace guards with technology, which reduces costs for our customers. This is what we now do from our operation centers all around the world. Where we used to have 10 guards, we now just have three or four; the rest is done through technology. We currently do tour guards, supervise the location, remote video, surveillance, alarm systems, and even remote access control for gated communities. We were the first security company to sell security solutions in Costa Rica. We offer our customers guards, cameras, mobile, and GPS, all in one solution. We used to be more expensive than other companies, because of our unique solutions. However, now that we have proven that our security solutions are effective, other companies have started to do what we do and prices have become competitive. We are still a few years ahead of the market in security solutions, however. Two things are happening: the cost of guards is high, and new taxes are on the way.
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