Leveraging Business Intelligence in Security Strategy
While every department within an organization bears the responsibility of providing useful data and improving its value, the need for security and loss prevention operations to demonstrate their significance is becoming increasingly crucial.
Business intelligence (BI) helps companies gain insight into their operations. Access to segment and target information improves customer security, safety, and experience while helping identify anomalies within vast amounts of data to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
This whitepaper explores how data helps companies gain the upper hand. Learn how collecting and leveraging your organization’s data will improve monitoring, loss prevention, risk mitigation, fraud detection, and incident analysis, as well as bolstering prevention efforts.
Harnessing Big Data
Today, the volume of data collected is extensive. Security operations monitor and gather data on every event or incident across multiple sources, including phone/radio calls, alarms, environmental sensors, intrusion-detection systems, and video surveillance.
The phrase “harnessing big data” refers to an organization’s capability to analyze and extract value from large volumes of data, such as patterns, trends, or associations—particularly those relating to human behavior and interactions. Like any capability, it requires investments in technologies, processes, and governance.
BI software enables the capture and analysis of a multitude of transactions and information on one centralized platform. Data-driven risk management requires comprehensive situational awareness—the result of a systemic and holistic approach. True value is derived from the ability to correlate vast amounts of incident and security data and present it in a visually appealing and easily understood format that enables users to quickly draw conclusions and act on them in a timely manner.
By giving safety, security, risk management, and loss prevention managers the ability to track, organize, and analyze data via configurable dashboard visualizations, BI software provides context and comparison of security-related information. Having such insight facilitates the shift from a traditional, reactive reporting and documentation approach to proactive prevention.
More than 86% of respondents to a June 2016 survey by CIO Insight replied BI is important to their company and intrinsic to their role. Global revenue in the BI and analytics market was estimated to increase more than 7.3% in 2017 and reach $22.8 billion by the end of 2020, according to a 2017 Gartner forecast. But it is only now that BI and analytics have matured enough that easy-to-use, agile products designed for specific business functions are readily available on the market.
Off-the-shelf solutions now enable the incorporation of data into enterprise-wide BI. Grounded in specific functions, these solutions fill the gap between the promise of BI and the reality of its application both in the business unit and small- to medium-sized companies.
While many options are available, now platforms built specifically for the needs of security and loss prevention exist. These solutions do not require extensive customization or programming to meet the needs of security and loss prevention teams but are quickly deployable and capable of producing immediate results.
Roots in Security and Loss Prevention
BI is not only shaping the practices of security and loss prevention departments but also their overall role in the enterprise. Security and related risk operations mine data from every device and direction; harnessing this data provides operational insights that create opportunities for greater organizational efficiencies. Investing in security is no longer solely about protecting assets—but rather, leveraging those capabilities to create a financial return directly attributable to that investment.
Security and surveillance teams have long competed at a disadvantage with other departments that make more demonstrable contributions to their organizations’ financial bottom lines. As IT has become more integrated with security operations, the requirement to “make a business case” has become the challenge for every upgrade or new investment. But as Avi Perez, CTO at Pyramid Analytics writes, the best practices of BI are not about making business cases but about solving problems.
Solutions built to detect anomalies and solve problems are invaluable tools for security and surveillance teams. The first and most obvious return on investment achieved with BI is the reduction of manual security processes. More than 75% of midsize or larger companies (500+ employees) relied on manual processes for exception alert reporting as recently as four short years ago, according to ASIS International research.
Fewer than 30% of these same organizations had invested in BI at that time. Considering that 71% of companies were using BI in some aspect of their operations as early as 2012, this represents a comparatively slow adoption rate by security practitioners. As solutions providers began working to change these statistics, the gaming industry emerged as one of the readiest sectors. Historically, casinos have spent as many as five days each month completing required reports manually. By automating this process with BI software, gaming operations both eliminate hefty time investments and improve the accuracy of their reports. The ability to schedule reports to run automatically at desired intervals also streamlines dissemination of information to key stakeholders.
Reporting dashboards eliminate the need for hundreds of reports and provide the ability to quickly drill down from a high-level summary to specific details as required—even individual incidents, if desired. Investigations no longer require sifting through reams of paper but, rather, following highly intuitive and searchable paths, navigable with the click of a mouse.
BI solutions help international companies, such as hotels, effectively identify gaps in efficiency and reduce errors across the organization. While always possible, BI enables users to address mistakes—at a system-wide level—and fix them once. With manual reporting, a persistent level of error is inherent at the incident report level. While training and active monitoring helps minimize these, human error is simply inevitable with manual processes.
Established reports and dashboards offer a broader perspective for exploring gaps and conducting analysis by specific regions, types of properties, or seasons of the year. BI and analytics offer established reports and dashboards to raise situational awareness as well as ad-hoc reporting for investigating the source of issues. Powerful data visualizations depict data in easy-to-digest formats. Incident reports presented as bar charts immediately bring anomalies to light. Pie charts, heat maps, and bubble graphs directly engage the problem-solving capacity of the human brain.
By processing raw data into a dashboard display, BI software enables users to quickly and easily glean actionable insights from the information. With customizable data visualizations and dashboards, BI software helps end users understand how the data relates to their department and operations, so they can make better decisions.
A Comprehensive Viewpoint
Reducing the impact of false alarms is another goal of every security environment. As much as 80% of any front-line security officer’s day consists of responding to false alarms, which inflate the number of personnel required to guard a facility. False alarms also impact response times to actual incidents, increasing costs while lowering efficiency.
With BI, supervisors gain real-time awareness of resource allocation—dispatched staff as well as those on break—while distinguishing proprietary from contract staff and armed from unarmed officers.
Self-Service Business Intelligence (SSBI)
Self-service BI allows business end users to rapidly design, deploy, and analyze reliable data at a relatively low cost with less dependence on IT. The best solutions offer highly customizable reports and require little training—as little as 10 minutes.
With most platforms, upon implementation, systems contain data pre-customized to meet the customer’s requirements, ready to use for many purposes without the burden of duplicative entry into different systems. End users can create and customize dashboards and reports with simple drag-and-drop functionality. Ad-hoc capabilities enable creation of new scenarios, merger of disparate data sources, and exploration of a variety of data combinations—without the need for programming.
The key to integrating a BI platform successfully is selecting software that enables users to extract and configure data to present within a dashboard without having to rely on IT. The most powerful solutions allow users to access the dashboards, manipulate and analyze data, and collaborate with team members on specific data analysis projects.
Prediction vs. Reaction
Creating efficiencies is not the sole purpose of BI in the security sector. Oft-cited in BI industry literature is the capability of retail facilities to tap into surveillance systems to improve traffic patterns and product positioning with a data-driven understanding of their environment.
Surveillance systems also allow monitoring and enforcement of safety practices in environments where injuries are common. Access control systems and computer logins provide international corporations with better awareness of facility use, allowing adjustment of office footprints based on actual need and fine-tuning and remote scheduling of HVAC systems to save energy.
A Look Ahead
We are creators and consumers of data and wielders of the intelligence it provides. The most substantial impact moving forward is the continued deployment of specialized BI platforms featuring integrated analytics tools, data schemas, business views, and predefined reports and dashboards.
Flexible, configurable solutions enable quick deployment and scalability based on need, allowing users to start small and expand seamlessly using the same model and platform for consistent visibility across the enterprise. With cloud deployments and mobile platforms becoming more prevalent, the total cost of ownership continues to drop while delivering exceptional ROI.
Within a decade, the way we did business 10 years ago will be unrecognizable. The fundamentals of security and loss prevention will remain, but how their function partners with other departments and contributes to the mission of the overall organization will be limited only by the imagination.
For more than 20 years, Omnigo software solutions have been the preferred choice for law enforcement, education, healthcare, gaming, hospitality, and corporate enterprises. Currently, Omnigo’s solutions are used by over 2,000 customers in 20 different countries. At Omnigo, we’re committed to helping customers secure their organizations’ property, control operational costs, and ensure the safety of the general public.
We believe our customers deserve the best support available to protect their people, assets, and brand. We also understand how challenging it can be to protect the community without the proper resources. We’re here to arm users with the best tools in the industry. With a team that includes former law enforcement, first responders, and other public safety professionals, we’re uniquely qualified to understand exactly what our customers need to protect their community.
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