The Path to Intelligence
Centralized security management is for businesses of all sizes
- By Rich Mellott
- Oct 01, 2012
Centralized management of security solutions is not a new concept
for large enterprise environments. Companies across all industries
commonly invest in access control systems and traditional
video surveillance solutions that can be remotely accessed and
managed from a single location. But for most solutions in use
today, there are limitations.
For big business owners, it’s integration. For small business owners, it’s cost.
For both, it’s efficiency—because the time and resources required to manage multiple
solutions can be prohibitive.
Fortunately, advances in technology have led to scalable, affordable and comprehensive
security solutions that overcome these challenges. These new solutions
integrate surveillance, access control and other business systems to deliver a single
interface to a company’s business intelligence. These solutions reduce costs, optimize
resources and increase profitability. And they deliver centralized security
management—a virtual requirement for a mult-site operation or remote management
of any business.
Centralized management is now simple and secure, and the benefits are endless.
Benefit 1: Centralize User Configuration and Administration
Business needs are constantly changing, from needing to add new stores and
equipment to adapting to changes in employment, adding new integration points
or maintaining business devices. One of the challenges associated with the ease of
management of a multi-site application entails having to log onto a system one at
a time for the configuration or administration of set-up and modifications.
With multi-site deployment, there is regular system maintenance, as well as the
need to add equipment to new and existing stores. If a company does not have
centralized management software for the configuration, the task becomes much
The deployment of a centralized multi-site system starts with an administration
and configuration application that handles the systems, devices and user permission
management. Oftentimes, the admin and configuration application is treated
as an afterthought for business owners, but in reality it is not a one-time activity.
Centralized multi-site management of administration and configuration affords
business owners, operations, IT and loss prevention teams the capability to
manage deployment more effectively while helping to minimize costs and maximize
Benefit 2: Leverage the Power of the Cloud
Often, the ideal of “the cloud” is a big mystery or concern for people. But it provides
regional, national and global operations the ability to manage and interact
with their deployment in a much more efficient manner.
Many applications today are used in the cloud without people even thinking
about it. Some of the most popular smart devices on the market are the iPhone
and its portfolio family of iTouch and iPad devices. All the applications and
software for these devices are managed from iTunes in the cloud. In addition to
Apple, one of the most popular CRM packages on the market today is Salesforce.
com, which also is completely managed from the cloud for businesses of
The cloud has many benefits, but perhaps the most significant contribution is
that it provides business owners and their teams with a seamless tool to access, store,
move and manage critical business data. Leveraging the cloud provides a powerful
solution for security, with a secure, reliable and grow-as-you-go security platform.
Software manufacturers can address service patches and updates behind the
scenes, so there is no interruption of day-to-day business operations. If you have
users across multiple locations, cloud-hosting makes it possible for updates for all
sites to happen automatically, so an IT team or other resource is not in charge of
making upgrades or updates for every person who will be touching the software.
All needed changes for your multi-site locations happen routinely behind-thescenes,
so there’s less to manage, which frees up time and resources.
Benefit 3: Consolidate Your Business Intelligence
Most businesses have data from third-party devices, such as point-of-sale systems,
ATMs, and time and attendance systems. Having access to the data is important,
but without video and tools that help integrate and analyze the data, it’s not as
useful or impactful as it could be.
Trying to integrate data from multiple sources to gain true insight into business
activities is difficult without the right kind of integration software. Not all systems
are compatible for integration, which is why integration software is critical.
Not only does integration software help business owners access transaction
data and other types of information, it also offers the additional support of video
to provide a real view of what is happening, beyond what the transaction indicates.
Video verification is very beneficial.
For example, let’s say a business owner wants to review a questionable POS
transaction that took place on a particular day. Integration software provides tools
to search for the transaction. The supporting video may indicate that an employee
was short ringing a sale or a theft was taking place during the transaction, which
provides a truer picture of what was going on than data alone can provide.
The ability to integrate existing third-party devices, software and transactional
data with video is an extremely powerful component of centralized multi-site
management. This provides business owners with powerful tools to gain real-time
business insights through consolidated business intelligence. Through integration,
business owners can access critical transactional data and video, set up notifications
for various business activities and use analytics tools to react in real-time and
make critical business decisions from a central location.
In addition, data from all sites can be forwarded to a centralized server to be
sliced and diced into commonly used business intelligence tools, providing a midsized
to large enterprise with valuable trending information across the entire business.
An example of this would be the ability to see conversion rates for a region or
specific territory of stores. Other key performance indicators may be exceptions,
store traffic, service times or queuing averages to allow more accurate performance
metrics for business executives and managers to gain a macro or micro view on
their business as they see fit.
In addition to the integration of third-party systems and devices, business owners
can integrate video and set up notifications for real-time alerts of status or activities
from their multiple locations, such as entry into restricted areas, fraudulent transactions
or even temperature-control variances. The notifications provide users with real-time intelligence of an operation
rather than have them find out about an
issue after the fact and spend countless
hours searching for the events. This gives
business owners and managers the ability
to monitor overall business activities
from a central or remote location, allowing
them to act quickly and take immediate
action when and where needed.
Through video integration and
analytics, business owners can tackle
important business challenges such as
preventing inventory loss and deterring
theft, reducing liability, improving
operational efficiencies and enhancing
customer service. With enhanced analytic
capabilities and video verification
for each POS transaction, retailers gain
powerful tools for addressing and solving
real business challenges.
Benefit 4: Manage Everything,
The ability to monitor and manage multiple
store locations remotely provides
business owners and their teams with
true freedom and flexibility. With software
and applications that support remote
multi-site management, business
owners and their teams have all of the
management capabilities they are used
to having on their desktop to manage
business, minus the constraints of having
to be tied to a designated location.
With mobile applications, business
owners can multitask, juggle a busy
schedule and receive systems notifications
on their smartphones or tablet devices.
They have everything they need to
manage their business and sites in real
time, which makes multi-site management
easier and much more efficient.
For district managers and trainers who
have supporting roles at multiple locations,
mobility is extremely beneficial.
Mobile applications afford business
owners and their teams remote access
to surveillance video, transactional data,
analytics and notifications. They are able
to look at business activities for each location
from their smartphones or tablet
devices and can analyze the activity and
take action whenever and wherever they
are. They have the ability to be onsite at
one location while remaining connected
to all other locations.
Benefit 5: Future-proof Your Business
The benefits of centralized multi-site
management are far-reaching. Software
that enables an integrated centralized
multi-site management provides business
owners with a cost-effective business
management system that is easy to
implement, manage and maintain.
With real-time business intelligence,
analytics, remote notifications
and centralized management, managers
can improve all areas of their
businesses, from operations, loss prevention
and risk management to marketing,
merchandising and customer
service. Using a centralized multi-site
management solution is extremely
relevant and beneficial today and will
continue to grow in importance in
the future—especially as budget constraints
continue to tighten and business
owners look for unique solutions
to help them manage
and optimize operations.
This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Security Today.