This is an excerpt from the draft of the 2nd edition, “A Primer on Electronic Security for Schools, Universities & Institutions”. Readers are asked for their comments and viewpoints surrounding this snipet.
Tangets and offshoots to this topic are welcome.
Salesman, Consultant or Engineer?
Any one of the three, chosen with care and attention to references can be of tremendous assistance with your security planning, equipment selection, and specification development. You are not restricted to one or the other but may use all three at different stages of the security procurement process. Ultimately it is your responsibility to insure the accuracy of any specification that you put out for bid and it has never been easier with the help of the Internet. Salesman, consultant, or engineers are all part of your resource availability and, for the most part, do an excellent job.
The salesman is always working for a systems installation company or a product manufacturer hoping to persuade you to use their services and the products that they represent. If he is an integrator, he will probably represent a local company that would ultimately respond to the bid, RFP, RFQ, or whatever vehicle you use to solicit responses to your security project. If he is a product manufacturer, he will probably know his product limits and capability better than anyone available to you. He may hold an industry certification but he may not be intimately familiar with the bid process.
The consultant is often used by end-users and engineers when his expertise is required in solving complex issues. The obvious appeal of using a consultant is that he has nothing to sell and can recommend the appropriate product for the job at hand. Consultants are usually Subject Matter Experts(SME) in available technology and/or government regulations for a particular industry (such as educational facilities). While he is often a subcontractor of an engineering firm, he doesn’t have to be. He will often hold industry certifications and be familiar with a broad range of mitigation strategies.
The engineer is the traditional expert for designing and bidding projects. Engineers built the Seven Wonders of the World, they dammed the rivers to create our electricity, designed our highways, airplane, and automobiles. They have literally changed the face and feel of the world from time in memorial. The most common type of engineer has a formal education, operates under a state license and tends to be conservative & predictable. However, as a generalist he may not be up to date on the latest trends and leading edge solutions in a particular industry. If the engineer is a specialist, he will hold industry certifications and be familiar with a broad range of solutions. If not, the engineer will rely on subcontracted subject matter experts as needed.