Company security is a primary concern for any organisation, with the safety and wellbeing of employees and the protection of company assets and data, being top of mind. However, various security components – such as access control, surveillance, data security, and even health and safety – have traditionally been considered standalone requirements, usually separate from the rest of the business’s operations. Today’s security technology is far more complex and interwoven, offering value to the business which extends beyond its security capabilities.
Security tools have evolved to become more than mechanisms to control access, reduce theft and identify incident root causes. For example, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have started building additional smart features into the likes of security cameras to offer intelligent functionality, making them multipurpose.
Security delivers business insight
Looking specifically at surveillance cameras, footage was traditionally stored and analysed to monitor a specific area, especially in the case of an incident or breach. If additional information was required, such as an analysis of foot traffic or, for example, customer demographics, it required dedicated resources to sit and sift through footage, manually capturing this information. Modern cameras offer built in data analytics capabilities which easily capture this data for you, sorting it into categories and delivering it as a neatly presented data report.
Data obtained from cameras can provide a host of valuable insights into a business’s operations, as well as into their clients. From identifying the number of people that enter a specific location over a specific period of time, to demographical information, time spent in any given area, and more. This information in turn, enables an organisation to adjust and optimise its business accordingly.
Beyond protecting an area, a single camera can help a business to adjust its customer service delivery, identify new target markets and even identify opportunities for new services and products. Over time, data from a camera can also help identify patterns, trends and weak spots, leading the business to better decision making and proactive strategising.
Getting back to the security function of these cameras, data can also feed into the security strategy, integrating with features from other technologies to present an overall view of the organisation’s security. Many other technologies have built in security features which can contribute to the security landscape. For instance, a cloud data storage solution which has built in security features and backups means that a business may not require separate data backup systems, avoiding replicated services and driving security costs down.
Birds eye view
The key to obtaining a holistic view, however, lies in the integration. A fully integrated, centralised solution which incorporates every security technology or feature can assist an organisation in keeping a finger on the pulse of the business in its entirety. This ensures that the security team has full insight into every aspect of the business, from a real-time view into employee whereabouts to managing data security to policing unauthorised access of limited areas or databases, which enables faster, more proactive response times.
The ability for security technologies to provide data is not new. However, without analytics to make sense of the data and convert it into useable, quality information, data holds little value. A centralised security system allows data to be consolidated into a single repository for analysis – where specific technologies don’t already offer data analytics – and easy access and use.
The increasing implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) also makes a strong case for centralised security platforms. Although most South African organisations are only as entering into IoT projects now, fairly soon IoT will form part of most business’s networks. With thousands of devices contributing to the security overview, the ability to monitor everything from a single platform becomes increasingly important.
Preparing for a smarter security landscape
This world of smart security technology does mean that businesses will need to make sure their infrastructure is capable of handling the speeds and data volumes required, though. Cameras themselves are capable of delivering high resolution, real time imagery, and facial recognition may well become the norm in high risk industries. Businesses that invest in smart security technology but have not evaluated their network infrastructure will find themselves unable to reap the full benefits of their solution.
The world of security, surveillance and safety is evolving and will continue to evolve at a rapid rate. It makes sense for businesses to extract as much as they can from their security solutions as they can, making use of smart features, analytics and the cloud to deliver more than just security, but true business value.
By Peter Stutz, Portfolio Manager: IT Infrastructure at Jasco Enterprise