How to use data to improve business

Dec. 3, 2018
Partner with a trusted vendor and integrator to build the security and business plan that works

If your organization has an access control or video management system, valuable data is available that can be used to improve your business.  Chances are that data is being underutilized, or worse, ignored.

As a best practice, organizations should review their security system to determine if the technologies and processes currently in place are optimal for their business. Companies can examine their security systems to discover their strengths, weaknesses and gaps. Identifying gaps will determine what is missing and provide direction for the security department on what needs improvement. Companies can also learn how to use data from existing technologies, like access control or video to their advantage.

The discoveries made during the audit process will help a company improve its overall business, therefore, it’s imperative that the Chief Security Officer work closely with company executives to learn the goals of the entire business. In today’s increasingly complex and quickly evolving risk environment, effective organizations can no longer afford to operate in silos, and department leaders must work together to synchronize security goals with business goals to streamline operations, mitigate risk, meet compliance and save money.  The information gleaned from this best practice helps an organization set overall business goals and create a strong, effective security plan moving forward that will meet today’s needs, along with future proofing for tomorrow.

Doing Your Own Gap Analysis

How do you discover the gaps and gather security data to streamline business, improve security and ultimately save money?

Approach the project holistically to ensure “solution centered” results. Identify key stakeholders who are committed to the project. Depending on the size and structure of your organization, an audit could take you from a minimum of a half day up to several days, depending on how deep you go or what information is uncovered.

First, conduct a thorough review of all the systems and technologies currently in use. How are the systems being used? Are they effective? Identify areas that aren’t working and why.  For example, is the onboarding and offboarding process efficient? If not, how could it be improved?  If auditing or compliance need to be met, how would improve processes help enforce those needs?  Determine what system or technology changes could be made to augment business operations and save money. 

Next, conduct a thorough review of the Security Operations Center. Review the interoperability of the technologies and systems in use. Examine all workflows during different scenarios. What workflows are inefficient? When an alarm comes in, are the steps taken to resolve it concise and efficient? Opening multiple Excel spreadsheets to document and/or entering data into SharePoint slows workflow. What is the security administrator or officer missing while documenting in two places? 

Once all workflows are mapped out, identify gaps and create an action plan to correct the gaps. What new technologies are needed moving forward to close the gaps? Analyze your existing data to see how processes can be streamlined to save time and money.  Work the data!

Investing in identity management technology to automatically document and keep a record provides an audit trail and can help a company meet compliance while shortening response time and providing a safer environment. Identity management technology could provide thousands if not millions of dollars in savings annually, especially if the company is in a highly regulated industry such as utilities or financial. One financial company previously used a homegrown system that produced a 31% completion rate of quarterly access audits. An audit revealed how implementing an identity management system would automate the process resulting in the bank completing 100% of its quarterly audits, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. With a little research, companies will find affordable options that will provide a fast return on investment.

How to Create That Big Data Roadmap

If the thought of completing such a thorough review of security processes, technologies and procedures are overwhelming, enlist the help of your integrator or access control manufacturer. They are equipped with risk assessment tools and skills and know what questions to ask to help identify gaps.  They can review processes objectively to help discover strengths and weaknesses. They can also recommend solutions that will fit in the organization’s overall security plan and suggest a list of priorities to help determine what to tackle first, second and so on.

Analyzing the systems and technologies in place, understanding the data collected and what to do with that data, and identifying the gaps in the organization will help create a solid security plan moving forward and create a playbook for the next five to 10 years. Work with a manufacturer and integrator to determine how to best optimize current systems and determine next steps. Implementing a unified access control, video and identity solution can mitigate risk, improve efficiencies, save money and help fill those critical gaps.

Simplify security by working with one company that can deliver the core technologies. A little online research will quickly tell you which companies offer a unified solution and which do not.  Plus, your integrator can point you in the right direction as well. Eliminate worrying about broken integrations between access control, video and identity management. Go to one company for technical support and customer service. One company can deliver everything needed to align security goals with business goals, and best manage identities to protect people, buildings and assets and improve the organization’s bottom line.

About the author: Kim Rahfaldt is Director of Media Relations for AMAG Technology.