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

Jan. 22, 2013
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.

Moving to an integrated security environment
It is easy to see the real business value of an integrated security approach, but bringing the vision to reality can be daunting; yet, there are steps companies can take to move toward an integrated security environment. The most important first step is completing a security lifecycle assessment that takes into consideration the synergy between the people, process and technology. The lifecycle assessment follows a chronological progression through eight stages that occur in most security environments — from determining business objectives at the beginning to post-event analysis and reporting at the end.

At various points along the stages in the lifecycle, security professionals, in coordination with facility stakeholders, can answer basic questions that are crucial to guaranteeing effective protection of the organization:
• What needs protecting: people, property or data?
• How are the people or assets potentially vulnerable?
• What forces are likely to attack the organization?
• How would such an attack be executed?
• How would such an attack be detected?
• How should our organization respond to an attack or disruption to business (e.g., in the case of natural disaster)?
• What reports are required to meet regulations or protect the organization from legal liability in the
case of an adverse event?
• How should security technology be deployed to support this?

Integrated security in action
Integrated security works on a variety of different levels — from entire cities to a single manufacturing plant. For example, for a city that is suffering from an already overcrowded roadway system and stressed police network with an anticipated population growth of more than 7 percent, it implemented an integrated security approach that included high resolution day/night cameras, additional video storage capabilities and automated service dispatch SMS. As a result, the approach delivered a 99.9 percent uptime and a 270-percent increase in enforcement revenue over a multi-year period.

Another example is a manufacturing plant whose production line would not start without the proper number of qualified workers in place. By integrating optical turnstiles equipped with credentialing capabilities, the likelihood of costly product defects or disruptions in the manufacturing process was greatly decreased.

Video surveillance can serve dual functions in retail and transportation — securing the environment and also ensuring efficient traffic flow of people, baggage or cargo on escalators, in baggage handling carousels, or on surrounding roadways and in parking facilities.

As these examples highlight, an integrated security model is relatively easy to implement — it is a matter of simply thinking about security differently and understanding how integrating the technologies can go above and beyond protecting assets to become a way to achieve gains in efficiency, productivity and profitability.

The technology and services already exist to help make your security and building efficiency goals a reality, whether starting from scratch or building from an already established security framework.

Herve Fages is Senior Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Pelco by Schneider Electric. For more information about Pelco, please visit

About the Author

Herve Fages

Herve Fages is Senior Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Pelco by Schneider Electric. For more information about Pelco, please visit