3 steps to implementing operational efficiency into physical security design

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Creating an efficient operating environment in physical security is no small feat – especially when the organisation undertaking such an endeavour has a nationwide presence. How do you get all of your various vendors, services, resources, manpower, and technology to integrate and work together? How do you aggregate all of the data being recorded into information that can be acted upon? These questions, among others, are the current challenges faced by industry leaders on both the security provider and end user side of the equation. Since the security requirements for organisations vary according to the size, it is important to have a proper objective in place before implementation.

One common theme in the industry is a push to consolidate vendor services. The “one-hand- to-shake” model is a value- add to many organisations. It often streamlines communication, creates cost efficiency and also promotes strategic collaboration. But simply signing a contract with a one-stop-shop won’t enhance your operations, in much the same manner using the term “big data” doesn’t mean you are instantly tech savvy. So be mindful that your one-stop-shop doesn’t turn into a “one size fits all.” Even more important than choosing the right vendor is the process by which an organisation implements a strategic security design.

The process to implement an effective physical security design is crucial. Because not every potential security need is equal. And instead of simply signing a new contract in the hope of obtaining a better provider, having a solid operational process will be more beneficial in building efficiency on a large scale.

Here are three steps to follow:
Step 1: Identify your key objectives

At this point, the only goal should be to formalise what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. In other words, what is the problem or perceived risk? Is it protecting a fixed asset and securing a perimeter? Is it securing workspace and personnel safety? A combination of both? Is it ensuring appropriate data is recorded when shipments enter and exit a facility? It may sound elementary, but until you identify what you need and why you need it, you can’t begin to rethink operational flow.

Step 2: Diagnose the present

Now that the objectives have been identified, what are you doing today that is working or not working to meet them? What are the bottlenecks that are severely limiting the ability to succeed? Remember, we’re not talking about revenue producing operations. We’re talking about security operations, which in many ways is revenue preservation. But isn’t it interesting that the same supply chain methodology that applies to widget production or service can also be used to thoughtfully consider a holistic, managed security operation? Diagnosing the present operations will aid in illuminating the pathway to achieve your key security objectives.

Step 3: Focus on convergence

Once the pathway is illuminated, you’ll have a much better understanding of what you need to build a strategic and operationally efficient security design. The convergence of different technologies, services, and manpower will facilitate improved performance and response time, often in addition to cost reduction. To be clear, this does put a burden on the end user (or their CSO) to stay educated about innovative improvements that can augment or replace existing services. But it also promotes a continuing spotlight on efficient security operations. Which, interestingly enough, seems to be the prevailing complaint of executive teams when asked about their physical security design.

In an industry like security that is rapidly shifting from single service applications to more comprehensive designs, it’s imperative that both vendor and end user employ a simple, yet effective process to enhance operational efficiency. And, ultimately, the beauty of the process is that it builds trust and communication by design, which also develops loyalty with your customers.