29 August 2016
By Ivan Naidoo, Portfolio Manager: Security Solutions for Jasco Enterprise
Security is a critical component of any business. Multiple person access to an organisation’s physical as well as virtual spaces puts any organisation at risk on a daily basis. Security systems need to be in place within the business environment and across all IT systems in order to manage and mitigate those risks. But the advent of smart digital security solutions means that security has evolved to become more than merely a set of risk management tools. A variety of smart digital security tools that are able to integrate and interact with each other can leverage off a combined data pool, offering superior analytical capabilities and spin off benefits such as improved customer satisfaction, enhanced operational efficiency and productivity and increased revenue.
Security systems usually comprise a host of different, separate systems and tools, each answering a specific requirement. Cameras for surveillance and monitoring; alarm systems for intruder detection; booms, keypads and biometric systems for access control; smoke detectors for fire control; and so on. Today, intelligent digital devices encompass the bulk of security systems and their ability to communicate on an Internet Protocol (IP) basis means that they can smoothly integrate together, providing for a single, multifunctional security system. From smart access control systems to intelligent fire detection and suppression systems, smart security solutions rely on internet protocol (IP) communication to interact, enabling each system to use information provided by other systems, driving improved functionality and going beyond just security.
Security is still the main focus of intelligent security solutions, though, and they need to be able to cover all the bases. They need to ensure key assets and information remains of highest priority, while complying with governance and legislation. And with the vast amounts of information generated and accessed within organisations, smart security systems need to be able to effectively harness the available data to continually improve security and operations, while protecting sensitive data at the same time. No mean feat.
Intelligent security solutions can integrate with high level systems such as Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) and Building Management Systems (BSM) in order to allow operators to have an overall view of the environment and draw reports accordingly. Everything from heating to water control to camera surveillance and who has access to what can be coordinated, leveraging off shared information to generate reports and provide for automation. Such management can ensure user-specific security is enabled. For example, the system can be programmed to only allow certain individuals access to certain areas, information and/or amenities at certain times.
One of the smart tools enabled by intelligent security solutions is video analytics. Video analytics is used to overcome the laborious and time intensive demands of physical camera feed monitoring, as well as minimising the risk of missing something due to human error. Video analytics uses a defined set of criteria to determine what constitutes a security breach. When a breach occurs, based on the criteria, a report is sent to key personnel via their preferred channel so that they can respond accordingly. The advantage of this system is that video monitoring can become automated, more efficient and, with the right parameters, a lot more accurate – a definite benefit in environments where large quantities of cameras are deployed and have to be monitored.
Like with any new technology systems, there are some challenges to implementing, managing and achieving the best in smart security solutions. A company needs to have a capable, solid IP network to cater for the supported devices. The network needs to be reliable, high speed and have sufficient bandwidth or the company will not receive the full benefit of the devices. Another challenge is ensuring the devices are all interoperable and able to integrate with each other, enabling efficient data reporting and sharing.
These challenges are not insurmountable and can be easily addressed by proper planning. By assessing existing infrastructure and requirements, companies can ensure existing platforms support the features and functionality of new, smart systems. Organisations can choose the right security solutions for their business needs, minimising excessive spending by making sure systems are chosen based on their intended purpose first, with their auxiliary benefits being an added bonus.
While many organisations are able to carry out the required assessments, and plan for their needs, professional services offered by systems integrators can simplify this process. Professional services can not only investigate an organisation’s security needs, but can also make recommendations based on their findings. They will be able to advise what existing infrastructure can be used in order to minimise expenditure, as well as advise on which smart digital security solutions will best suit the company’s needs. Through proper deployment and integration – another value added – professional services will ensure that a company’s security solution is more than just a set of tools, but that it is a value adding component to the company, simultaneously looking after its security and maximising its overall business success.