STE Feb. Online Bonus: How Integrated Security Drives Efficiency and Growth

Using technology for functions that go beyond simple security will help prove its value to the organization

The past decade has brought a number of events that have come to shape the way we look at incorporating security into facilities. Events like the global economic crisis and 9/11 have pulled security in separate directions — it has become more necessary for our protection, but it also puts pressure on executives to make a business case for security investment.

Thankfully, new technologies and the emergence of software-driven security solutions have made the availability of actionable information possible and have enabled corporate executives to understand how security technology can be leveraged throughout entire facilities.

As a result, the integrated security model is enabling technology, system integration, cameras and video security systems to not only monitor for safety, security and asset protection, but also for facility maintenance, resource efficiency and visual confirmation of all types of environments and events.
Today’s security systems go well beyond the bounds of traditional “security” benefits; in fact, these systems are routinely produce benefits such as cost reduction, simplified usage and overall improvement of a property owner’s physical and logical assets.

Realizing the benefits of integrated security
Security systems provide three levels of value: security effectiveness, risk reduction and business efficiency. An integrated security management approach provides value at each level.

The first level, security effectiveness, represents the most basic reason why executives invest in security. In this level, multiple disparate technologies work together to form a single comprehensive security network integrated with a building management system. By integrating multiple technologies into a single IT network, organizations can drive more effective security protection — ultimately resulting in lower Capital Expenditure (CapEx) costs in new construction and lower Operating Expenses (OpEx) over time. At this level, visible systems such as cameras, access control solutions and other tools are designed to protect people and assets in an organization.

Security at the second level, risk reduction, helps to alleviate disruptions that threaten the flow of business and have potentially negative financial implications, which contribute to the overall bottom line — which ultimately provides a tangible return on investment (ROI). A security solution that provides risk reduction gives professionals situational awareness. This constant awareness of the business environment enables the system to anticipate events and provide an appropriate response to potential threats — giving operators the right information at the right time to make informed decisions.

The third level is business efficiency, which provides value that transcends the security function. In this instance, security technology is used to improve business processes, reduce variable costs and increase revenue. Security is no longer viewed as just a technology, but as enabling benefits in logistics, manufacturing, facility scheduling process improvements and even energy management. At this level, we can demonstrate how security begins to weave itself holistically throughout the entire enterprise. Additionally, at the business efficiency level, basic security technologies are used for dual roles. Data collected from a company’s security system, such as video analytics, can be combined with data in other business systems in ways that can have a direct impact on a company’s profitability.

For example, thermal security cameras serve the purpose of protecting the facility, but can also be used to monitor the temperature of the bearings in pumps and motors. When a change is detected, the system alerts the operator to safeguard against equipment failure and then puts a call out to maintenance staff to provide repairs or replacements before an equipment failure actually occurs. Essentially, the third level of security builds on the first two to create a more efficient business.

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