Security technology can be an incredible asset for your daily operations, but the data it generates also brings clarity to future needs. Process improvements, program changes, establishment of metrics and funding requests become more strategic when built on a foundation of intelligence.

While intelligence is sometimes not the primary goal of implementing technology into a security program, it is often its most valuable result. Among other things, technology captures and stores relevant data, and then presents it in intuitive views. Filtering, sorting and grouping data leads to measuring, trending and quantifying – which delivers actionable information. That intelligence supports security strategy and enables optimized security officer deployments, precise post orders, directives for specific threats and countermeasure deployment to enhance security in areas where it is needed most.

This introductory installment of my three-part series will examine two critical technology features that maximize an organization’s ability to create intelligence from data.

Customer-Configurable Forms  

Software providers initially configure their software to capture and store the data that they believe important to their customers. While that is a good start, no one knows your requirements better than you. These canned forms would require customization if you request changes or additions. To address this, many software packages add user-defined fields to their forms, which can be configured by customers to capture additional data. But the most advanced systems go beyond user-defined fields and allow customer-configuration of forms and fields. This is the solution that creates a truly tailored experience.

Another important attribute is the ability to capture customer-configured data in the system’s reports. Some software reports may be limited to capturing only the canned fields. This leads to the second critical function:

Flexible Reporting

A system’s reporting engine is what converts data into intelligence. No matter how much meaningful data is captured, it is only useful if it is accessible and organized in a digestible fashion. For example, consider the difficulty of identifying a mall’s high-traffic areas from a list of shoppers in a given month, as opposed to the easy review of a graph of incidents grouped by location for the same period. It is the reporting engine that simplifies “big data” for security personnel and brings the information, and needed changes or enhancements, to life.

Canned reports offer views of system data that the vendor believes will be valuable to their customers. More advanced systems have ad-hoc reporting that allows users to build reports to suit their needs. Some advanced systems also include the ability to save new reports and even publish them to other users.

The next two segments of this series will examine the valuable data within two specific types of systems: Incident Management systems and Tour Management systems for security officers. These and other technology solutions can create efficiencies, target security efforts and give security leaders the power to make informed decisions that deliver even greater return on their security investment. Look for the next installment in the August 27 edition of the Security eNewsletter.