By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

Panel Discusses U.S. Security Industry

Not since Hallcrest II was published in 1990 have there been comprehensive statistics on the size of the United States security industry. That changed in 2013, when ASIS International and the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) joined forces to draft a report documenting the industry’s development. A panel presentation at the ASIS 24th New York City Security Conference and Expo on March 14 updated those numbers for 2014 and beyond in a sneak preview of the second edition of the report, titled The U.S. Security Industry: Size and Scope, Insights, Trends, and Data.

U.S. spending on security goods and services for 2013 amounted to $388 billion, according to Michael Gips, ASIS vice president of publishing and a report coauthor. Private sector companies spent $319 billion of that amount, with the rest coming from federal homeland security spending. In 2014, the private sector will spend $341 billion, rising to $377 billion by 2015. About one-third of that spending is earmarked for IT security, while the rest goes to “operational security.” Gips explained that operational security covers physical security plus other non-IT aspects of security, including intelligence, antifraud measures, investigations, and threat detection.

Driving up operational security numbers was a healthy growth in sales of CCTV and surveillance products. One-third of respondents said they would increase spending on surveillance in 2014 and 2015, with a median increase in spending of 20 percent. Other growth areas were IT security software and se­cu­rity consulting services. In the latter case, 26 percent said they would increase spending on consultants by an average of 31.5 percent.

Gips also noted the increase in U.S. full-time security professionals. In 2014, that number is pushing 2.7 million, with some 900,000 in IT security. Near-term growth in jobs will be propelled by IT security demands, he said.

Moderator R. D. Whitney, executive director of IOFM and another coauthor of the report, explained that this report and research effort are not a one-time initiative but represent the start of an ongoing effort to collect additional accurate data on the industry. He encouraged session attendees to participate in this research if they are solicited by ASIS or IOFM. The 2014 report reflects the responses of almost 500 participants, he noted.


The ASIS International Foundation Research Committee and the ASIS Defense and Intelligence Council have completed a comprehensive study on the development and implementation of psychometrically-based measurement focused on the security industry.

The security industry relies on measuring performance and efficiency in every aspect of the profession. Security metrics are quantifiable measurements of an aspect of a system or enterprise, collected and analyzed to help an organization protect its people, property, and information. Using various metrics, security can measure results that correlate with investment and speak to leadership in familiar business language.



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