Optimizing business by managing risk, costs and threats
- By Kim Rahfaldt
- Mar 01, 2017
An organization is a complex environment that is continuously
growing to include more systems, buildings
and processes and as a result, faces more risk, costs
and threats. Organizations continuously evaluate how
to increase profits, manage risk and save money, while
looking for ways to improve processes, manage incidents and securely
operate an enterprise.
The best way to address risk is to manage people and the systems
they use. An organization must manage the system intelligence driven
to employees by using a data centric approach model to identify behaviors,
manage risk and decrease costs. How can security managers
and C- level executives attain a higher level understanding of how a
data centric approach can be more effective in combatting silos of
data, and the variety of risks across a company’s environment? This
is where you, as the integrator, can help your customer identify and
meet their goals.
Because every customer is unique, meeting the goals of your customer
requires a customer centric approach. What is your customer
considering in regards to security technology? What are the organization’s
business or operational goals? This is where you can help your
customer sync up its security goals with the organization’s goals. Use
a dashboard or single monitor of information to present the most
effective method of collecting and analyzing data, and deliver a technology
Breaking it Down
An organization must first determine what data to collect to best protect
their people, assets and infrastructure. As the integrator, providing
valuable consultation and direction during the exploration phase
can position you as the expert. Ask questions and dig deeper to learn
more about your customer. What are they considering when selecting
a security management system? Do they want more out of their
system than access control?
Access control and video management systems provide much
more data than originally intended. Beyond managing who has access
and when, the information can identify behavior patterns. When correlating physical behavior patterns with logical activities, your
customer can begin to understand an individual’s intentions. For example,
understanding why an assistant tried to access a data center
four times in two weeks at 5:15 a.m. could mean anything. When the
data is viewed as a whole, it demonstrates a possible threat that might
have been overlooked if reviewed in separate silos. Identifying the
access attempts and behavior, and then tracking them, will provide
intelligence to determine if there is a problem. Further analysis will
deem if an investigation is needed. In this example, identifying an
unusual behavior mitigates risk and could save thousands of dollars
in server tampering, hacking and possible legal fees.
Demonstrating this cost savings through a dashboard will change
security from a cost center to a proactive, valuable way to show return
After data has been collected, an organization must then understand
who is coming into their building and the risks they represent. Three
types of identities enter a company every day: employees, contractors
and visitors. Employees are the most vetted of all identities. Background
checks, thorough interviewing procedures and recommendations
occur before someone is hired. This thorough process makes
them the most vetted.
Contractors are considered a medium threat because we know a little
about them, but not as much as a full-time employee. When an organization
hires a contractor, they trust that the company where the contractor
is employed has done its due diligence and vetted its employee.
Visitors pose the biggest threat because they are an unknown entity.
With a wide variety of visitors entering an organization, it is
critical to know who is coming into the building. Who are they coming
to see? How long will they be on premises? Do they understand
the organization’s security policies? Organizations need to obtain as
much information as possible, and therefore cannot rely on pen and
notebook to successfully track visitors.
When you understand an organization’s operational goals and
sync them up with their security goals, you can position your company
as a trusted advisor and expert. If your customer’s operational
goal is to eliminate paper-based visitor management processes and
implement a web-based visitor management system, you can recommend
solutions that will mitigate risk, streamline processes and even
help meet audit and compliance requirements.
A web-based visitor management system initiates employee involvement
in the vetting of a visitor, collecting the necessary data to
schedule a meeting while reducing risk. Employees schedule meetings
via the system, which sends an automatic email to the visitor, creating
a record of the visit.
The visitor management system notifies the security department
of who is coming to the building. Visitors can acknowledge security
policies prior to visiting. The system provisions temporary access
during the scheduled time and only to areas needed.
Watch lists track unfriendly or hostile guest visits. The system notifies
the security team when a watch list visitor is coming, alerting the
team to take extra precautions or follow watch list protocol.
You can create a safer environment by knowing who is entering a
building before they arrive. The information provided by a web-based
visitor management system will provide a data centric approach to
help determine the number of lobby staff needed. Visitors are vetted
and the security staff is aware of their arrival and departure times.
The data collected helps organizations properly staff lobbies based
on who is visiting and how busy they are.
Streamline Business Operations
After reviewing operating procedures, an organization can use the
data it collects from different systems to streamline processes and
improve efficiencies, remove silos, converge operations and reduce
risks. Educate yourself on the technologies and integrations available
to help your customer meet their goals. Technologies exist for
a wide range of budgets that can align security goals with operational
For example, a policy-based identity management system streamlines
internal onboarding processes by reducing paper or email trails.
New employee information is entered into the identity management
system and is automatically shared with the individuals involved in
the onboarding process, such as human resources, IT, security and
the department head for which the new employee works. This unifies
the process, eliminates errors and improves efficiency.
Data from building management systems such as HVAC and
lighting systems can help put processes in place that meet internal
audit requirements, save energy and provide cost savings. Using the
reporting capabilities offered in policy-based identity management
systems, companies can easily meet complex audit and compliance
regulations required by the government when the proper data is collected
and save money.
Security managers and executives will be able to better analyze information
gleaned from the spectrum of systems when consolidated
in a dashboard or single monitor. Viewing everything at a glance will
help make better business decisions. Running reports will be fast and
easy. Applying a data centric approach to business will help organizations
reduce risk, reduce costs, meet compliance requirements and
become more efficient.
Collaborate for Success
To be successful, you as the integrator must identify all stakeholders
within your customer’s company and invite them to the table. Security
means something different to each department, and you must
interview and listen to gain a complete understanding of those different
interpretations. Identify security and organizational goals and
cross reference amongst the different departments.
Educate yourself on the technologies available and what their
unique propositions are. Why is one manufacturer different than
another? What is the difference between product offerings? Will the
product fit their needs in five, 10 or 15 years down the road? Once
you know the answers to these questions, only then can you recommend
the proper solution to meet your customer’s unique requirements.
Recommend technologies that will operationalize business,
save money and mitigate risk.
Involve the security manufacturer in the project as soon as they
are selected. This is necessary for complicated environments when
an engineer or professional services may be needed from the manufacturer.Presenting a united team to the end user shows you value
them as a customer and that you are willing to collaborate and pull
in experts when needed. It also demonstrates that you are willing to
work as a team and rely on each other to complete the job, putting
the customer first.
Once installed, teach your customer how to make the technology
work for them. Go beyond the basic training, and demonstrate
how the data collected can help save money, identify behaviors and
provide insights beyond typical access control. When the customer
knows how to make the technology work for
their specific needs, you will become their trusted
advisor and partner. They will look to you for
answers in the future and you will have created a
customer for life.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Security Today.