Technologies Driving Impact

Technologies Driving Impact

Communications always evolving in people’s everyday lives

Technology has always driven change, whether evolving communications in people’s everyday lives or offering new functionality across business applications. Yet, as we enter a new decade when innovation has never arrived faster, the implementation of technology has transcended industry and roles. New leaps have sparked trends around smartphones, connected devices, and artificial intelligence that have broken boundaries.

In particular, we see remarkable impact to businesses in the security space in terms of how organizations are managing their security officers and overall security programs at an enterprise level.

TRENDS SPARKING CHANGE

One of the most impactful trends the industry has begun, and will continue to see, is security officers equipped with technology to further leverage their capabilities. This goes beyond officers operating secure perimeter technology, but instead speaks to those tools that will support and push security officer capabilities to new levels.

When developing a security program, we are seeing organizations connecting manned security and technology at the hip. Enterprise security programs are integrating their visitor, access, video, and notification platforms to run alongside the security officers, making the program efficient for the end-user and increasing the program’s security posture.

Another key trend is around the automation of certain organizational processes and procedures that in turn enhance the capabilities of security personnel. Automation not only allows security personnel to better understand where to distribute information to the need-to-know people, but also when to take action and whether there are any follow-up steps to be taken.

As automation and communication improves, personnel can more quickly respond to threats, and organizations are becoming more cognizant of the different responsibilities of each role. A security officer, lobby ambassador, security operator or analyst are all vital parts of the program, but each role is vastly different.

As such, security programs are concentrating on attracting the right talent and experience to fit those roles, whether it be knowledge of counter-surveillance techniques or of physical security systems, the ability to multi-task in high-stress environments or to provide exemplary customer service.

Increasingly, organizations are seeing the value in social media monitoring in operations centers. Using Critical Event Intelligence platforms in conjunction with social media monitoring technology, businesses can remain informed about a potential threat, whether that is a disgruntled former employee or a natural disaster. In turn, having these programs integrated with physical security ensures that the monitoring teams and security personnel on-site are incorporated and armed with the information on how best to respond.

INTERNAL BUSINESS DRIVERS

New trends are not the only impetus of change impacting the strategic management of enterprise-level security operations, so too are internal business drivers and ever-tightening budgets. Regulatory changes in particular are requiring adjustments in regard to the responsibilities and coverage of security personnel.

Enterprise standards, policies and procedures must keep pace with the changes in regulations. By deploying a risk-based approach, organizations can easily identify gaps in current or future scenarios.

The threat environment can change quickly, which means security teams will need to continually scan and monitor their operating environments, forecast, and be able to adapt on the fiy. If a program hasn’t considered the forecasted threats, mapped out the gaps and identified resolutions, then they simply won’t be able to respond effectively.

It’s important to be aware of changes to an environment, though equally valuable are the budgets that organizations are working through. In the face of shrinking budgets, security teams and organizations are being tasked to think more strategically.

Private entities and security service providers need to partner together to identify solutions that make the program more effiicient. Based on the risk profile of a customer, programs can be developed to identify security risks and leverage the full spectrum of technology enabled security services.

This doesn’t mean that the security industry is moving towards a technology-only security solution. Rather, organizations are utilizing technology to enhance the capabilities of security personnel and, in turn, making the program as a whole more capable and efficient.

REMAINING RELEVANT

Today’s security landscape is constantly changing, introducing new threats and challenges that security programs need to address in real- time. In order to keep the program relevant, organizations need to be in a constant state of assessment, while also understanding the triggers that will drive changes. A risk-based approach to security services helps organizations prepare for regulatory changes, manage internal business drivers, and, if developed appropriately, can also allow the team to respond to new threats.

Through the introduction of threat conditions, such as a normal operating environment, high-risk environment and variations between them, teams can develop plans on what needs to be deployed depending on each environment. Changes to the operating environment can be a result of internal factors, such as buying or selling a piece of business or the introduction of a new product to the market, or external factors like political unrest or a natural disaster. @Text:Regardless of the type of factors, an efficient and capable program should be prepared for events in advance, allowing the personnel and the program to adjust accordingly and avoid potential gaps in coverage. Alternatively, programs that are not proactively managing risk and do not have a plan to manage unforeseen situations can become especially vulnerable.

This preparation goes beyond simply changing the environment and adjusting the technology, it also encompasses pre-assignment and on-site training of personnel. The training program that all members of the security program go through should prepare the team according to how they should respond and act within each threat environment. By doing so, personnel will be able to immediately adjust to their new responsibilities and post orders based on a new threat, avoiding a potential disruption to the integrity of the security program.

While training the team and ensuring they understand their responsibilities, a connected program should be in place to ensure that the team is aware of the changes to the threat environment immediately. Security personnel can’t rely on word-of-mouth, and in a world where technology is so prevalent, an organization’s security shouldn’t either.

INTEGRATION OF REAL-TIME COMMUNICATION

Real-time communication capabilities through handheld devices that immediately update and notify security teams of changes allows them to adjust immediately. Introducing these capabilities also enables the organization to identify vulnerabilities and to keep the entire security team in constant contact. By connecting technology across the system, team members can know about security incidents or potential vulnerabilities in real-time, reducing the risk of gaps in coverage or lapses in communication.

If a monitoring tool identifies an active shooter at a nearby location, the security team, through connected communications, can immediately adjust their threat environment and be prepared for a potential impact. Without monitoring tools and real-time communication capabilities at their disposal, the security team may be unaware of the ongoing issues and the subsequent threats that may arise at their location, which makes them vulnerable.

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

The security industry is transitioning to a do more-with-less approach as security programs are being challenged to provide more coverage with shrinking budgets. This can be difficult, but it is possible so long as programs are built and deployed strategically, utilizing a connected program that breaks down silos and brings together personnel, technology and automation.

Throughout the next decade, we will see the security officer and security program become more connected through technology. Consider the impact of capability-expanding technology like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and emerging technologies such as wearables. This will undoubtedly drive increasing levels of automation within enterprise security programs.

Security officers will need to have a better understanding of the technologies deployed and must have the capacity to be trained on the various levels of risk mitigation from a post to post perspective. Organizations will aim to invest in the personnel who will be leveraging the technology that is in place, which will allow them to provide expanded coverage with fewer resources devoted to the program.

Resisting the necessary commitments to fully integrating personnel and technology resources will place the enterprise at a significant disadvantage. The longer an organization takes to integrate technology into the security program the more difficult it will be to catch up. Inevitably, technology will continue to evolve and enhance security during one of the most transformational times in human history. It is up to the security profession and industry at large to embrace it.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of Security Today.

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