Delivering Technology

Delivering Technology

Optimizing business by managing risk, costs and threats

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 centric solution.

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 on investment.

Manage Identities

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 goals.

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.

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