Security teams are beginning to implement advanced technologies — and legacy security management software is struggling to keep up.
When establishing security for facilities like stadiums, concert venues, or government buildings, security professionals rely on an array of technologies to monitor conditions and respond to potential threats. These tools include video surveillance, IoT-enabled sensors, and facial recognition technology. Yet developing true situational awareness (SA) requires a security management system that can integrate and organize relevant data points and deliver them efficiently to decision-makers.
A security management system (also known as security management software (SMS) or physical security technology) gives security managers operational control over the entirety of their security operations — or, rather, it should.
The trouble is that many SMS don’t integrate well with emerging technologies like connected security assets (think: gunshot detectors; motion sensors). SMS are still good at what they do — they just can’t do it all. That’s where situational awareness platforms come in: SA platforms take extensible data from a near-infinite array of devices, data streams, and software platforms, and integrate them all into one single common operational picture. This gives security managers the ability to not only gain full visibility but seamlessly share relevant information with team members on the ground. This cooperation allows security teams to respond to threats in real-time with all the essential information — including the status of relevant assets, people, and environmental conditions.
The Limitations of Security Management Software
SMS provides an indispensable service to security teams when it comes to managing discrete security protocols. However many physical security technologies lack the ability to pull in data from critical sources — nor do they tend to scale effectively. Managing a large number of users, data sources, and IoT deployments requires a highly adaptive system, and unfortunately, many current security management tools are not equipped to meet these challenges.
Further, SMS is often limited by an inability to provide decision-makers with adequate foresight. The most effective security teams are proactive, not reactive, and they need to rely on software that allows them to rapidly identify patterns and monitor their progression. True situational awareness means the ability to spot an attack as soon as it occurs and identify potential issues before they become real problems.
Finally, many security management systems fall short in terms of usability. They tend to be difficult to deploy and operate, costing security teams valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. Without properly integrated devices and readable displays, SMS may drive down efficiency instead of enhancing operations.
A New Wave of Security Technology Solutions
While many security management software solutions struggle to keep up with evolving technological capabilities, the latest systems are sweeping in to provide actionable insights for security teams. Through the addition of situational awareness platforms, security organizations can develop the tools their SMS can’t provide by themselves.
Situational awareness platforms have a long history of use in the military and are gaining traction in new industries — including private security and public safety. For security teams dealing with the limited functionality of most SMS, the addition of an SA platform can allow security teams to integrate the entirety of their tech stack, enabling them to solve challenges in real-time.
When deployed together with SA tools, security management software can successfully integrate cutting-edge physical security technologies to mitigate threats, lower costs, optimize response times, and increase productivity. SA platforms dynamically display the most relevant information for each user in a single pane of glass, removing the tremendous friction that exists between the moment an alert surfaces and the moment it’s acted upon. In many cases, this technology can identify suspicious activity and prompt a response before the situation escalates.
These functionalities can also save security teams time by managing repetitive tasks like going back and forth between different messaging systems, writing reports, and investigating false alarms. Instead, all relevant team members are immediately informed about an incident as it unfolds. Thus, security teams are able to develop true situational awareness and maintain a high-level view of all operations.
Extending SMS With Situational Awareness
When it comes to situational awareness, it’s essential that the right information reaches the right people at the right time. This concept has its roots in the military, but its benefits extend far beyond the battlefield. Tasked with ensuring the safety and protection of high-profile celebrities, government officials, or massive concert audiences, security teams are increasingly relying on SA technology that allows for flexibility and comprehensive oversight.
This technology offers insights beyond what humans alone can accomplish. It can detect a poisonous gas leak, for example, or use facial recognition to deny entry to a dangerous individual. When combined with the actions of highly trained, well-informed human responders, SA tech enables security teams to perform to the full extent of their abilities.
As the demands of modern security change, so too must security technology evolve. This requires customization, scalability, and real-time communication.
When combined with traditional SMS, situational awareness technology efficiently brings together tools like video surveillance, intruder alarms, and access control systems, connecting old and new products and those from different manufacturers. This robust system delivers actionable intelligence in an easy-to-access dashboard populated by alarms, maps, and messages. Armed with powerful, minute-by-minute insights, security teams are free to act quickly, efficiently, and with purpose in just about any type of situation.