Case Study:  Physical Security Benchmarking

Case Study:   Physical Security Benchmarking


A leading US health insurance company operating within a highly regulated industry, in which privacy and compliance are of paramount importance, wanted to compare itself relative to its peers in physical security provision and establish a baseline from which to quantify improvement.  Core goals were to identify best practices, compare organizational and outsourcing models, compare security technologies utilized and calibrate investment in physical security against its peers.


Structured interviews were conducted with our client’s security managers, internal customers and other corporate functions to provide an overall perspective and identify issues to inform an external benchmark study. The study was designed to identify similarities and differences between our client’s physical security solution and its industry peers as well as other companies renowned to have superior physical security practices.  This provided a framework for choosing between alternatives for physical security investment and resourcing strategies.  A detailed questionnaire focused on the key topics identified was completed by each participant. The data generated identified potential areas for improvement and provided a baseline to document our client’s relative positioning within its industry.  

Analysis & Results

Our client’s security solution was relatively fragmented compared to many peers and had created additional challenges in communication. Outsourcing strategies amongst participants differed considerably and there was no common model. Physical security budgets also differed a lot but the benchmarking demonstrated our client to be relatively efficient as a result of its comprehensive use of technological solutions to reduce staffing. Security awareness and training programs were more comprehensive and advanced at many other companies and a key finding was that our client could benefit by being more proactive in this area. However, from a technology perspective, our client was a leader within its industry.

Benefits to Client

Following the study, our client re-organized internally and converged most of its security functions under common leadership. Bellwether’s recommendations were accepted and the client incorporated steps to accomplish them in its near- and long-term planning.  It was well-pleased with the insights created through  benchmarking and set goals to participate and/or sponsor future studies on a regular basis.  Most of our findings recommendations focused on increasing the proactivity of the enterprise with respect to safety and security and engaging the enterprise more widely. Actionable recommendations were designed to work within resource constraints and the client anticipates better overall security as a result.