Three Ways To Ruin A Security Director

Three Ways To Ruin A Security Director's Day

Why basic security system monitoring just isn’t enough

Whether your title is Security Director or you just have the responsibilities of one, there’s a lot riding on your shoulders. Your organization depends on its security system to protect people and assets, and also to lessen the risk of litigation and regulatory non-compliance. If you’ve got multiple locations and dozens of devices at each one, there’s a lot to stay on top of. No wonder you probably drink too much coffee.

Let’s take a look at some of the obvious and not-so-obvious things that can ruin your day—and how you can insulate yourself and your organization against these occurrences.

SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG

The most obvious way to ruin your day is when a video camera or hard drive has failed without your knowledge, and you don’t know why. Especially if an incident occurred and you don’t have any footage.

The reality is, if you have more than 100 cameras, five to 10 percent of those cameras are down at any given time for a host of different reasons. In many systems, there’s no alert to tell you that a camera is off or down. And it’s not just the cameras. What happens when a hard drive is down and you don’t know it? No video gets recorded. What if that hard drive is full? It starts to overwrite what’s previously been recorded and you’re stuck with gaps in recorded history.

Even the settings on your hard drives can cause unforeseen problems. Let’s say your video surveillance system is designed for 30 days of storage, based on a specific recording frame rate. The settings on one of those hard drives could get changed by accident and suddenly you’re recording at a higher frame rate than intended, using up the storage capacity in under 20 days. How would you know unless you went to review footage from a month ago, only to find out it’s not there?

Basic system health monitoring software, if you have it, only detects the most simple issues. It’s likely to overlook the problematic conditions that exist before a device fails— for example, low memory availability, which could easily be remediated if you just knew about it. With basic system health monitoring, you’ll get an alert about some issues, but figuring out what’s really happening and what to do about it is up to you. That’s a headache just waiting to kick in.

DEALING WITH IT SQUABBLES

Your CIO and the rest of the IT department feel a lot of ownership over the network that runs both the business and your security systems. The reality is that IP-based security does take up bandwidth, ports and IP addresses that other systems could be using.

If a security device is malfunctioning, it could be taking up more bandwidth than planned—and that can negatively affect the rest of the network. (It also doesn’t help if a security tech works on a server and leaves a big mess behind in the closet. You’ll definitely hear about that one.)

DATA THE CEO WANTS TO SEE

Security is a business expense that does not generate revenue. Accordingly, the C-level suite wants periodic performance reviews and assurances that their investment in security is truly worth it. If you want to invest in any new devices or upgrades, they’ll expect you to make a strong, numbers-driven business case for that expenditure.

For most organizations, however, it’s hard to pull together any meaningful metrics. If you don’t have numbers to demonstrate uptime for every device or response time for security issues, your bosses are not going to be terribly impressed or forthcoming when it comes to additional budget. What’s worse, if your security system is experiencing repeated failures, you’ll probably hear things like, “Why should I give you more money when every time I talk to you, cameras or hard drives are down?” (Not a fun chat.)

COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM HEALTH MONITORING SOLUTION

Security system health monitoring software has done a lot of good for our industry. At Knight Security Systems, our patented Knight- Sentry solution was one of the first offerings to market, but we knew we could do better.

Truly comprehensive system health monitoring requires both better software and rapid response services. To deliver that for our clients, Knight recently launched KnightSentry 2.0 adding even more alerts and notifications, a graphical dashboard interface, and robust reporting features. It’s all backed by SecurePlan Service Suite, a full range of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to meet any coverage need.

Here’s how to save the day, any day.

Detecting system health issues before they become problems. You can monitors more conditions than ever before and the graphical Dashboard makes it easy to see when things like bandwidth, data throughput, remaining battery run time and memory availability are abnormal—on every single device. Think of it as the “check engine” light for your entire security system.

Accelerating remediation when problems do occur. Diagnostics are much easier and more accurate when alerts are highly detailed and specific, and you have contextual information about the normal state of the system. And with a SecurePlan SLA in place, Knight’s expert security techs ensure rapid resolution—often before you’re even aware there was an issue.

Keeping IT happy. The software has built-in machine learning, so it “knows” what a normal environment is for bandwidth by date and time, by camera and by switch. The graphical dashboard and alerting make sure that abnormal states are corrected before they can impact the network.

Demonstrating performance and meeting regulatory requirements. You can pull almost any report at any time (they can also be automated). That means you’ve got shareable documentation of system health, uptime performance, issues, and resolution over time—with a wide range of data windows to meet budgeting and forecasting needs, performance report requirements, and audit/ compliance mandates. So, for example, you can easily demonstrate that one camera was out for half an hour on a certain date, but the system is typically fully operational 99.9 percent of the time. That’s huge.

Here is the bottom line: As security director, it’s your job to know your system inside and out, and make sure things are operational to keep your organization safe. A comprehensive system health monitoring solution will give you that visibility and documentation, with expert techs on the job to monitor and provide rapid resolution 24/7. That’s sure to make your day.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Security Today.

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