A holistic approach to Security

A holistic approach to Security

Today, most organizations in India view security through the limited lens of surveillance. . They are content with connecting a few cameras to a video monitoring station and believe that this would be a sufficient deterrent or will offer them enough security.  For example, in a recent conversation with an organization, we realized that they were looking only at process security (what factors led to the unit going down etc.,) but were not thinking of physically securing it.. This is purely lack of knowledge and perspective.

Developing a holistic approach towards security & understanding the power of integration allows organizations to elevate the conversation to a business level.  In this approach, we do not see security for its own sake but explore means by which it can bring about increased efficiencies and reduce risk.  For example, think about the cost of the people who will man the security cameras or enquire if integrating the attendance management systems will improve manpower planning.

Organizations can develop a holistic security approach in green-field implementations & legacy upgrades by understanding the possibilities offered by technology, exploring the powering of integration & developing long term ROI models.

Understand the boundaries that security can address

Currently, knowledge that organisations have regarding security is limited to what is shared by security product vendors or self styled “specialists”.  While this might be sufficient to implement the proposed system, it would be very beneficial to widen the knowledge and understand the possibilities offered by technological advances in the field of security.

Actively seeking out information and exploring the boundaries of what security can address also provides the opportunity to innovate within the limitations of current business realities.

Explore the power of Integration

Most organizations have legacy security implementations that are stand alone and not integrated.  These could be access control systems, visitor management systems, surveillance systems, attendance management systems, etc., It would be ideal to audit and ask questions around limitations and possibilities of integration while considering investments in security.

For example, a visitor management system integrated with security workflow could help in pre-screening visitors, creating time & operational efficiencies. (One needs to consider the potential costs of ushering in an unidentified person to understand the true value of such a simple integration?).

Similarly, we have encountered scenarios wherein contract workers that have been blacklisted have returned with other service providers. Using facial recognition or biometric technologies to spot this and correlating with historical data from HR databases could help nip potential problems in the bud.

One should also understand potential technical challenges involved in integration. Unlike the IT services space where standards are set and there is a commonly shared understanding of architectures & development models, the security space is still evolving with numerous proprietary technologies. For example, a typical C&C system will have some limitations in terms of the number of sensors that it can support. Similarly, a particular brand of camera will only work with some systems. While designing an integrated system, a lot of time & effort is spending in understanding the requirements & working with third partner vendors to develop custom solutions.

Develop a model around ROI

Instead of looking at the physical aspects of security, i.e., number of cameras, places that need coverage, barriers etc., it would be useful to consider potential outcomes and quantifying the same.

For example, a manufacturing unit could look at lowered levels of pilferage or theft as a surrogate to measure savings brought about by security investments.  Similar measures can be developed in areas of labor productivity & efficiencies.

Taking a longer-term perspective at the intangible aspects of benefits – Potential down time or lower productivity due to blacklisted contractors returning – is usually difficult but that is precisely the area where more discussion and thought is required.

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