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Opinion Piece- Integrated solutions and innovation essential to meet residential estates’ evolving security requirements

11 February 2015

By Leon Cahill, design specialist, enterprise security at Jasco

Residential estates are in demand for good reason – the environment is secure and well maintained, residents can often access recreational and shopping facilities on site, and entry is privileged. But security at these enclosed estates can go very wrong. Quite often it’s because the multi-dimensional aspects of estate security are unintegrated, creating gaps in the system with no single point of authority or accountability.

 

Security at residential estates must encompass not just perimeter protection and 24-hour surveillance within the estate, but access control too. Possibly the most complex of tasks, access control systems must cater for service and maintenance contractors, staff of the residents, the entry and exit of residents themselves, and of their visitors. If there is a golf estate attached to the residential estate, entry and exit of golfers and their guests must be managed, as must staff of any shopping or recreational facilities on the estate.

 

For the security systems to work, processes and schedules that comply with security policy requirements need to be developed. Security staff must have clear roles and be held accountable for the tasks assigned to them. The communications and other systems (e.g., utilities) that enable security systems must also be integrated into the security blueprint. Where there is potential for collusion, there needs to be a separation of functions and service providers – for example, security guards and control room staff. There also needs to be tight control.

 

At the head of this multi-facetted solution there must be a single point of authority – one that:

  1. monitors and identifies system failures;
  2. is fully informed (via system alerts and alarms);
  3. is constantly aware (monitoring response times and compliance with service level agreements, etc.);
  4. has the technical knowledge and skills to manage and maintain systems; and
  5. has the domain experience to troubleshoot and pre-empt security and other challenges specific to residential estates.

 

Traditionally, estate managers were tasked with the appointment and coordination of service providers and with overseeing the various aspects of security. Today, due to growing complexity, a greater reliance on technology, and the increasing specialisation of specific functions, many of these functions are outsourced. In many instances this only serves to shift the problem as the estate manager remains responsible for coordinating disparate teams to get the job done. What is needed is a single provider with multiple capabilities and an experienced team that can ensure high-level SLAs are met.

 

 

As crime syndicates become increasingly sophisticated, the security industry must continually evolving and so must residential estate management. It is essential that estate managers and home owners associations pick a solution provider that has the depth of experience and capability to deliver innovative, integrated solutions that address specific challenges and are sustainable, maintainable and cost effective.