Solutions Snapshots

Question: How can I move security projects forward while cutting costs?

Manufacturer: Steve Surfaro, Strategic Channel Manager, Axis Communications

Here are a few good ways:
Get other departments to help fund your project. It will go through more smoothly, and unanticipated costs can be better accommodated. Security systems may be implemented for a diverse set of applications. In the case of safety, for instance, demonstrate how an unsafe environment is far more costly in comparison to implementing a network video system that eliminates accidents and potential lawsuits.

Another method, specific to video systems, is to match the system to its intended use, thus reducing costs and paying for needed features. Storage costs are major contributors to network video system costs. If you have general surveillance requirements, reduce the camera resolution or make use of more efficient compression methods such as H.264. For high-resolution applications requiring recognition, have the camera event-triggered, thus reducing storage requirements.

A third option is to use a shared infrastructure. Again using video as an example, if you already have a coaxial infrastructure, purchase and install simple media converters to leverage your existing investment in them, while eliminating the time and cost of implementing new cabling. Use the existing infrastructure to provide power for interior video cameras with standards-based Power over Ethernet.

Fortune 500 Practitioner: Sean Detloff, Partner and Asset Protection Manager, Starbucks Coffee Company

Advancing security programs while simultaneously reducing costs can be as challenging as starting your day without a fresh brewed coffee. The Starbucks Partner & Asset Protection team faces the challenge of moving our security strategy forward in the current cost-conscious environment.

Our strategy is to identify, prioritize and collaborate on major risks with other business groups inside the organization. We found our Supply Chain Security team shared similar supplier assessment needs as other business functions. By collaborating on a joint solution, we expect to mitigate a shared enterprise risk quicker and at far less expense than if solved in a silo.

Also, we work to identify inefficiencies and improve services with new security technology. Case in point: Our security systems team saved thousands of dollars annually by networking existing audio/video alarm hardware. The permanent elimination of these phone lines drove expense avoidance while improving overall security capability.
We aggressively seek out service duplications and/or inefficiencies in current services. Outsourced security officer or alarm monitoring programs may yield savings from aggressive contract re-negotiations. Similarly, we are entertaining both quantitative and qualitative benefits from bringing these and similar services in-house.

Telecommunications Sector Practitioner: Marty Bishop, Head of Security, North America, Nokia Siemens Networks

One way we have been able to cut costs while moving a project forward was to virtualize our security training. We provided a lot of training to business units in person, which required a lot of travel. We realized that if we could provide this type of training online, we could reduce our travel costs while possibly reaching even more employees than we did in our in-person sessions.

Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) Corporate Security currently uses our Intranet site to communicate security awareness topics. The problem we have had in using this portal is that we cannot validate how many employees visit and take the PowerPoint self-learning exercises.

Nokia Siemens has since launched a Web-based training (WBT) program called the NSN Academy Learning portal, which provides a variety of courses that are technical and non-technical. We are now moving to leverage this new academy for security training purposes. The concept is to have an individual didactical for Corporate Security that lasts about 60 minutes — covering a video introduction from our CSO and an online quiz. Our target group is all employees, with the focus on a high-level introduction of security. If this proves to be a successful mechanism to reach our audience, then we will move forward with additional courses.

Integrator: Emil Marone, Chief Technology Officer, Henry Brothers Electronics

If the budget is extremely tight, consider talking security with your company’s insurance provider. Sometimes insurance rates will be lowered when the provider is alerted about a company’s video system, for instance, because it provides additional eyes to watch out for safety issues and fire. And access control may help reduce insurance costs because it gives you better control over your facility and its inventory.

You can also save money by thinking out of the box. There are ways to avoid costly installation roadblocks if you look outside of the realm of electronics. For instance, we had a customer that needed to install cameras to cover a large parking area, but there were trees in the field of view that blocked the cameras from seeing the entire area. They thought they had two options to fully cover the lot: 1. Install several additional cameras, at an increased cost that was likely to get the project squashed; or 2. Remove the trees. This second option could not be done because the town had regulations mandating trees. So I contacted a garden supply shop and found trees that would not impact the camera views but that met the town’s requirements. That simple, non-electronic solution allowed them to finish their project successfully at a much lower cost.

Next Month’s Question: How can I prevent, detect or respond to insider theft or fraud?