One question we are increasingly being asked at Venture Security, is: “Do we even need a physical security presence, when so much technology is now available?”
And it’s a valid question. With all the advances being made in the field of security technology, it may seem like the obvious answer to keeping property, people and assets safe.
Indeed, in its 2021 security megatrends list, the Security Industry Association highlights 10 trends to watch out for this year - all of which are being driven by technological innovation. They include:
The problem is, there isn’t a magic solution to preventing crime. Investing in the latest security technology can also be rendered pointless, for many reasons; from a failure to recognise and address weaknesses in the system, to poor implementation and incorrect usage.
It is sadly a situation we come across at Venture, time and time again. So, I thought I’d share some of my key insights here, in the hope it may help others avoid making the same mistakes.
The biggest misconception about modern security technology is that it can replace the need for security professionals. In reality, you will always need a team to be managing it, monitoring and reacting to what is happening.
For example, if you invest in the latest cutting-edge video surveillance equipment, it may act as a deterrent, or even go on to capture would-be criminals in the act. However, if no-one is monitoring the footage, then what you are left with is some great footage of a criminal gang at work and almost certainly no usable evidence against them.
All technologies also have their weaknesses, and it is those weaknesses that criminals are committed to finding and exploiting. The best cause of action you can take is to put layers of protection in place that will combine to give the greatest potential benefit. Then to continually review and adapt security plans, to stay-on-top of the latest threats.
Simply having a fitness app on your phone, or buying a pair of trainers, won’t improve your health and security technology is no different. It needs to be used in the correct way, if it is to be effective. Here is an example.
A large, multi-site, company based in Hampshire decided to invest in an all-singing, all-dancing access control system. The goal being to ensure that people moving throughout the various buildings had the authority to be there. As part of this, all staff were issued with an ID card, which needed to be swiped to gain access.
But worrying that some inconvenience may be caused to staff, the company’s directors decided that the system should be free-flowing during working hours - effectively meaning it was turned off at those times.
As well as presenting an opportunity for unauthorised access, one broader consequence of this was that a poor security culture quickly developed within the business and employees had zero motivation to carry their company ID with them. Spotting this weakness in the company’s security, a burglary was also attempted by individuals impersonating employees.
Security technology is advancing at pace and I’m genuinely excited to see where it is headed, especially in the area of AI and intuitive tech. But any system implemented needs to be used as it was intended, or it simply won’t do the job it’s there to do. Weaknesses must be recognised and the people element of the process remains vital.
By Paul Howe, MD Venture Security
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