Working for a security systems manufacturer, I often cite the benefits of using electronic physical security systems, such as Access Control, Intrusion Detection or CCTV.
Technology can ensure that, when an access control alarm is generated, a CCTV camera pans around to look at the door that generated the alarm.
The camera starts recording footage to enable the event to be captured, or provides situational awareness to allow a security officer to assess the situation and be dispatch a patrol if necessary.
There are numerous benefits that electronic systems can be provide to eliminate time or labour intensive activities.
This in turn, improves the efficiency of the organisation and increases the convenience to their staff.
This may mean that, unfortunately, staff may be replaced by security systems, or redeployed to other parts of the organisation.
Fully automated buildings – science fact or science fiction?
With the increasing amount of coverage and “noise” within the industry on intelligent buildings and the Internet of Things (IOT), one could be forgiven for thinking that one day, our buildings will be fully automated.
Human intervention will not be required, and that security patrols will be carried out by automated drones with CCTV cameras attached to them, feeding images back to a central command centre.
This type of scenario is not out of Science Fiction, but is just around the corner. Droid and small portable video camera technology is already available to enable this to happen.
Do we still need human security staff?
Whilst electronic security systems can automate some of the more mundane tasks involved in securing an organisation, there is still a very clear need for well trained, qualified security staff.
If you consider the task of identifying someone carrying out hostile reconnaissance, or a potential suicide bomber, there are a number of characteristics that need to be identified to detect these activities.
Hostile reconnaissance could mean that some keeps showing up at the same entry point or at a specific location on multiple occasions, possibly at different times of the day and night to try to identify security procedures and movements.
It may be something as simple as the same vehicle driving around the area, through to someone wearing clothing that looks too big and bulky for the time of year, or a person that looks particularly nervous or anxious.
These traits cannot be identified by electronic security systems.
At some point, the gut reaction of a well-trained, experienced security manager that senses that something is just not right, may be all that is needed to detect and foil a potential attack.
Electronics and Humans Co-Existing
However, electronics and humans can co-exist without making one or the other superior or redundant.
The key is how the combination of electronics and humans are deployed to provide the ideal mix to enable effective management of security.
In my opinion there should be sufficient automation of processes to alleviate task overload of security staff.
Allowing them to ensure that patrols, and detection of wrongdoing is forefront in their day to day work, rather than tying them up in administration tasks that do not benefit anyone.
Some examples of what this looks like in practice:
- Imagine a large university with many hundreds of doors and many thousands of people, where access control permissions are automatically applied and updated based on which course a student studies.
- An access control system which automatically blocks the lost badge of a person when their badge is replaced, to ensure it cannot be used.
- Management reports emailed automatically to the person that needs to read them, or printed on their nearest printer.
- Automatic notifications to the IT and Security Teams should a piece of network attached security equipment stop communicating.
These are just a few examples where electronic systems can help security officers be more effective, please contact me to discuss how this concept could be implemented in your organisation or for your upcoming security project.