On Top of the World

Sept. 3, 2013

Social and economic realities are transforming security requirements around the globe, and nowhere is that trend more apparent than among global enterprises. With locations all over the world, these organizations are challenged by the need to operate in a wide variety of local business environments while also maintaining consistency and high standards throughout the organization.

Challenges include rising cybercrime, threats of terrorism and economic uncertainty — which all place new strains on businesses. Addressing these challenges is fundamental to successful operations in the global marketplace, and the short-term profitability and long-term success of the business depends on solid process and systems that operate globally. Impacted in particular is security, which is tasked with managing risks and protecting the enterprise both as a whole and at every location throughout the world.

Given the shifting global uncertainty and evolving threats to businesses on multiple fronts, it is more important than ever for security executives to address their risks in greater detail to ensure they protect their people, infrastructure and assets to the utmost level.

Counterbalancing these perpetual and evolving challenges is the availability of new technologies that can equip global enterprises with the necessary tools to increase security and manage their risks more effectively. Greater connectivity can help, as can standardization of security equipment and installations globally to provide consistency and improve operational efficiencies.

Leveraging Technology
As the risk landscape evolves, security directors must innovate and adapt. At the heart of meeting the new demands is the need to leverage security systems to deliver business insights, achieve regulatory compliance, and protect against both internal and external threats. Here are several ways that technology is contributing to help security executives meet enterprise needs on a global scale:

Standardization: More and more business leaders are standardizing their systems and platforms across their global infrastructures and security platforms, following a converged model. Access control systems were the first to be streamlined in this way, and now video surveillance systems and other technologies are also being standardized. The combination of multiple systems into one platform is driven by networked-enabled technology. Benefits include more efficient operations and interoperability among multiple systems; however, ultimately, it is the cost savings through lower security software, hardware and operational costs that attracts most business leaders.

Connectivity: Standalone systems cannot exchange information and communicate with each other, which is inefficient and limits a global organization’s ability to manage risk and ensure compliance. Greater connectivity, driven largely by IP technology, is making interoperable, integrated systems the norm. Our increasingly networked and connected world provides new channels for security leaders to communicate a multitude of security information more easily. Greater connectivity also simplifies operation of systems globally.

Cohesion: To be truly effective, security systems should work together as an integrated solution. Optimally, an organization’s variety of security devices and business systems are integrated to a single interface using systems such as physical security information management (PSIM) platforms or unified security management appliances The resulting, more cohesive platform can provide new levels of corporate-wide business intelligence — both related to security matters and to more general operational concerns. Data aligned with security and risk management goals is an important facet of any global operation, so tracking and addressing risk issues, in the broader context of overall business continuity and enterprise operations, is critical.

Remote operation: Remote software capabilities deliver overarching programming services to fit specific needs such as door settings, access control permissions, video recording parameters and software directories. Additionally, remote access to IP-based systems can enable security systems to be tested and commissioned globally in real-time. For today’s security executive, remote management can consolidate control of worldwide system operations in fewer locations or even to a centralized control center. The resulting efficiencies contribute to better overall operations and faster return on investment (ROI) of technology expenditures.

Solutions accomplish more: Beyond technology, security practitioners are looking for help to manage the broader security operations of the enterprise — from standards and technical requirements, to detailed, site-specific installations, to global programming, commissioning and audits. Creating a cohesive approach to systems and processes starts by understanding the standards and specifications in every country involved and developing a consistent work plan for global installations. Site surveys ensure that all specifications are met, along with unique regional requirements such as equipment availability and local regulations. The latest cloud-based program management software assists in coordinating multiple phases of each project, driving consistent and accurate deployments around the world. The ability to focus attention on local needs in the broader context of supplying a cohesive, worldwide system of technology and support is an advantage for security leaders who employ a systems integrator with a global footprint.

The Role of Integrators
Security directors increasingly seek system integrators that truly understand the scope of critical enterprise challenges. Global companies look for partners that can act as partners who will take the time to learn and understand their needs and then present workable, cost-effective solutions to meet those needs.

Enterprise-level global businesses need partners — both vendors and service providers — who think big and raise their sights beyond meeting the narrow needs of a company’s local branch. As demonstrated, security practitioners think globally; and partners need to be focused on the global environment if they want any possibility of serving these broader, corporate-wide security needs.

Organizations with multiple locations all over the world require that firms that devote extra resources to deliver on their complex needs and provide a higher level of focus. Teams must be educated about local regulations throughout the world and be able to avoid common pitfalls.
The good news is that technology opens new opportunities for security leaders in the global market. Remote software upgrades, maintenance and/or diagnostics can enhance an ability to capitalize on broad system support and lower costs, while increasing overall business success.

The World Awaits
Welcome to the world of global security and technology platforms, where worldwide consistency and broad issues of risk assessment often dominate the discussion. But in the end, to paraphrase a well-known observation, all security is local. Even the largest global enterprises must also effectively address local security concerns and technology needs at every facility anywhere in the world. Nothing in the connected, networked world of global business changes the basic need to ensure security at ground level.

Building on effective local security, security directors must seek out partners that can work hand-in-hand to support an integrated, worldwide technology system built on an understanding of the global landscape, the IT infrastructure, a convergence model and the specific needs and concerns of the customer.

Consolidating electronic security needs under a single provider promotes efficiency and better, stronger security. An effective global service and technology provider is a valuable partner in achieving the broader security goals of today’s global businesses. The world awaits. 

Renae Leary is Senior Director at Tyco Worldwide Global Accounts, which delivers a range of technology solutions around the world and provides networked access control and video management systems for many Global Fortune 500 companies.

About the Author

Renae Leary

Renae Leary is Senior Director, Global Accounts, for Tyco Global Accounts, which delivers sophisticated security integration to enterprise-class customers. Through its Global Centers of Excellence for design and project management, the company focuses on complex integration projects that require a high level of program management.