Telling the Full Story with Analytics

By Luann Edwards

Security professionals: You might not realize this, but you have a superpower. It helps you predict the future, enhance physical security, and generate return on investment. It’s your data, and with it you can demonstrate and deliver measurable value for your organization.

At GSX+ on Wednesday 23 September, Louis Boulgarides of Ollivier Corporation and Jonathan Moore of AMAG Technology presented The real story of how analytics affect physical security. This session looked at security systems data, the capabilities of new analytics technology, and how insights from these can deliver organizational ROI. (If you missed the session, you can watch it on demand here until December 31st.)

“Data analytics take sources from multiple systems in the organization and analyzes behavior and other trends to yield important information.”

Moore set the stage by outlining the sources of data that exist within the security function:  access control, video surveillance, alarm management, and incident management systems are just a few. Analytics have grown increasingly sophisticated in this space. They give today’s security professional the ability to analyze the past, predict the future, and help you identify ways to solve problems you might not have realized even existed.

“Security tech is helping educate the larger business on how to analyze and become more proactive for better decision making,” shared Kristin Lennardson, protective intelligence programs with the Association of International Risk Intelligence Professionals.

As I attended this session, two important themes became clear: Security systems data can paint a complete picture that benefits the entire organization. And, it is critical that you build relationships with leaders across departments to understand their needs and challenges to identify where your own data can help.

Consider this hypothetical scenario: You’re in a Zoom meeting with your counterparts from across the organization, and you note that more employees are entering your building each week per data from your building access system. Your facilities management team takes this information to identify where they need to increase cleaning protocols in high-traffic areas due to COVID-19. Your IT colleagues can factor this in as they ensure that their cyber security efforts and connectivity levels align with the number of remote workers versus those in-house. And if an employee is accessing the building at times that are outside of his normal routine, it might give human resources an indication that he’s considering leaving the company. One data insight, multiple applications.

Not surprisingly, the information that your colleagues can share with you can inform your own program. With strong relationships and communication across departments, you can understand your colleagues’ unique challenges and motivations and create real value through aggregated data. This shift changes the view of the security function from one of overhead to that of a strategic partner. The speakers outlined the likely needs of key players in an organization to help you visualize how this collaboration might look.

One of the greatest opportunities for security technology and data is presented through this “new normal” of COVID-19, as Boulgarides explained. Security professionals are now creating “security, safety and health programs – the scope has broadened a great deal.”

Social distancing, monitoring the number of people in a location, contact tracing, and assessing mask-wearing compliance tend to be manual tasks, but those with the technology in place will be able to automate some of those activities. Think about a turnstyle or an access control system that can also count how many people enter or exit.

“Security is still viewed as a grudge purchase, especially in the economic times like we find ourselves in now.” Edward Baes, head of security consulting at BUROHAPPOLD, shared with ASIS recently.

When security systems provide data that saves an organization money and automates processes in addition to its security objectives, the value is right there in the analytics.

Luann Edwards is a social media marketing consultant and blogger. She is the founder of Socially Professional, a social media marketing consultancy, based in Providence, Rhode Island, USA.