The world we live in today is filled with a wide variety of threats, from terror attacks and bombings to active shooters and corporate theft. The security marketplace is changing, as is the nature of risk, and the evolution of security management has come a long way from years past. Security professionals must devise plans that encompass a number of technologies, processes and solutions in order to ensure a high level of safety.

Buildings and cities come in various architectural and geographic layouts, which means there can be no one-size-fits-all solution. Business and municipalities must also protect huge amounts of data and assets across a wide network of facilities, some that are local and some that are a world away.

Evolution of Security Management

As organizations have evolved, threats have evolved as well, challenging security and business leaders to stay one step ahead. In years past, the responsibility of the security leader was to develop and build a robust technology infrastructure of video surveillance, access control and other systems to physically protect from potential threats and risks.

Today, security is a much larger issue — so important that the C-suite is taking note of what is being done by both physical security and IT leaders. Senior leaders recognize the potential costly and damaging disruptions if security risks are not mitigated properly. As a result, IT, physical and cyber security often collaborate to manage risk and ensure security across the entire organization.

It is obvious that the lines between various once-siloed departments are blurring. This is a positive change that drives stronger response to today’s evolving risk environment. Today, security leaders must not only evaluate technology; they need to develop programs and initiatives that help increase situational awareness while helping drive new levels of efficiency.

Technology plays a key role in the evolution of security and risk management.  Strategic investment in a variety of systems and sensors helps security leaders collect and make sense of various data points that drive actionable intelligence. But often times, these systems do not communicate with each other — leading to a time consuming and cumbersome process of manually correlating data together.

Situational awareness is achieved by leveraging critical information from multiple security, risk and business solutions into a single view to expose trends, anomalies or intersections and quickly identify potential vulnerabilities. Situational awareness solutions integrate once-separate technologies into a single, centralized platform, allowing security professionals to improve real-time responsiveness and drive effective security planning.

As the nature of threats evolves, technology continues to evolve as well. New innovations are smarter and faster, and enabling various security agencies, personnel and the general public, to speak to one another through numerous lines of communication to drive higher levels of data capture. Centralized solutions are also able to help maximize analysis and evidence gathering for investigations, incident reconstruction and debriefing, and enable security personnel to plan better, as well as coordinate and share data as necessary.

Sharing information across devices through the use of social media has become habitual for most people around the world, and a way of life for future generations. By engaging the general public, as well as employees within an organization, security personnel can gain a comprehensive picture of incidents as they occur. Civilians can report on suspicious activities, crime or vandalism — anonymously, if desired — in a convenient and accessible way by using their smartphones.

Keys to Proactive Security Management

With data pouring in from all directions and through various sources, an emergency can be cumbersome to manage. Access to timely and relevant information allows for greater efficiency while allowing supporting resources to stay focused on critical responsibilities. A comprehensive picture of an incident should be presented in a step-by-step manner to streamline operator response and minimize the opportunity for human error during an emergency. Reports and audit trail information can benefit enterprises and cities by providing the most relevant information needed to identify and analyze trends, and incidents after they have occurred.  This insight is highly valuable to help identify future threats and trends.

To fully manage security operations, security leaders must place a high premium on preventive intelligence. Given the global threats received against various countries, cities and organizations on an almost daily basis, critical, captured data is a necessity to gain insight into discernable behavior patters and establish evidentiary standards for law enforcement.

Through integration of new technology solutions and big data analysis, security leaders and public safety personnel are able to achieve a greater level of situational awareness to drive actionable intelligence. Once actionable, this intelligence enables security professionals and responders to act quickly and efficiently, enhancing their overall effectiveness and thereby transforming the nature of safety throughout an organization. Through implementation and deployment of these solutions, cities and organizations around the world are realizing the true benefits of situational awareness and actionable intelligence through lowered crime rates, reduced operational and planning costs, and systemized and timely responses to potentially harmful and threatening situations.