Leveraging AI and Data Analytics in Enterprise Physical Security

By Sam Joseph, Co-Founder and CEO, Hakimo

The physical security threat landscape has undergone considerable changes over the past few years. COVID-19 has led to increased crime rates, insider threats are at an all-time high, and labor costs have risen sharply. Things have reached a point where physical security can no longer be just confined to gates, guards, and guns. Continuing the status quo is not only impractical but also makes the enterprise vulnerable to new threats.

Fortunately, there have been some recent technological advances that the security industry can leverage to overcome this crisis. The most important one is artificial intelligence (AI), especially around computer vision and deep learning. Today,  AI can analyze any piece of video and understand the context therein — in most cases better than a human. A second technological advancement has been around data analytics. We now have tools that can analyze billions of events in real-time, correlate different datasets, and provide actionable insights into them. When these advancements are applied to enterprise security, many long-standing problems can be solved and many new efficiencies can be uncovered.

Solving false alarms and tailgating in GSOCs

Two problems are endemic to any enterprise Global Security Operations Center (GSOC): access control false alarms and tailgating. With the steadily increasing labor costs, GSOCs can no longer afford to “just throw more people” at the first problem. Worse, GSOCs missing real breaches due to alarm fatigue have become commonplace in the industry with increased crime rates during COVID. Regarding tailgating, the security technology industry has been battling this problem for many decades without much success.

Both these problems can be solved by leveraging AI and analytics. For example, Hakimo does AI processing on the video corresponding to every door alarm and automatically resolves false alarms without any human intervention. The same principle is used for tailgating detection. In fact, Hakimo’s tailgating detection algorithms have a false-positive rate of less than 1% which is not only the best in the market but also beats the performance of traditional hardware-based systems (such as laser beams) by a significant margin.

Going from massive amounts of data to actionable insights

Physical security systems have been generating massive amounts of data: an access control system at even a mid-sized enterprise company generates hundreds of millions of events every year. This data has been sitting idle for all these years because there were no practical tools that could be used to make sense out of this data. Things are changing now. Modern data analytics tools such as Hakimo Insights can parse through billions of events and point out specific anomalies and actionable insights. For example, we could now detect an employee badging in at an unusual door or at an unusual time (a potential indicator of insider threat, which has been an important recent security challenge as mentioned in the beginning).

These data analytics tools can not only add value to physical security teams but also enable those security teams to give value back to other teams within the broader organization. For example, a tech company’s GSOC recently used modern data analytics tools to track building utilization over time. That data was then transferred to the facilities team who decided which building to downsize and which buildings to expand.

Enabling the convergence of cyber security and physical security

One hallmark of bringing these new technologies into the physical security world is that it accelerates the convergence between cybersecurity and physical security. Convergence—the idea that cyber and physical security teams should work hand-in-hand instead of being siloed out—is the future of security, and many organizations are rapidly embracing the idea after realizing its clear ROI.

There’s also a clear pattern between the emergence of Hakimo-like tools and the emergence of some specific cybersecurity tools more than a decade ago. In the late 2000s, cybersecurity systems were generating so many alerts that humans were not able to keep up with them, just like today’s GSOCs. This then led to the invention of platforms such as SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response) which streamlined and automated the processing of those alerts. Tools like Hakimo are bringing such smart automation tools now to physical security.

To conclude, the physical security landscape is undergoing tectonic changes that lead to serious challenges for security teams. Technology is the answer to those challenges, and security teams that don’t adopt technology will not be able to overcome those challenges and thus will be incapable of surviving the recent changes. On the other hand, teams that leverage technology can use the same challenges as a driving force that transforms them into a more efficient, effective, and converged security organization.

Sam Joseph is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hakimo, a technology company that makes smart software for enterprise physical security monitoring. Visit Hakimo at Booth #1869 at GSX 2021 to learn more about Hakimo’s products.