From the London Underground to Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway to the New Delhi Metro, travelers are reminded in not so subtle terms to “Mind the Gap.” Anyone who has not minded the gap knows that miss-steps can lead to unpleasant consequences.
For security operations, taking that first step toward a newsituation management solution brings to mind an interesting parallel. Step too lightly in the direction of a lower cost solution – (one that offers out of the box connectivity to just a few systems, e.g. access control) – and your security needs could fall through the cracks. Step up too high (by customizing your entire project from the ground up) and you can get tripped up by sky high costs and a complex, drawn out deployment.
Don’t get me wrong. For security operations on either extreme of the spectrum – on one end, smaller operations (with one or two systems/sensors, simple incident handling procedures, low stakes outcomes); and on the other end (by way of example) high end defense projects – these latter options are probably just fine.
But for others (who are the vast majority), where there’s a need to mind the gap, it’s good to know there is a middle ground – namely,situation management solutions that offer high end capabilities, without the downside of complex customization that increases deployment costs and time.
This variety of situation management software is characterized by an extensive library of gateways that enable out-of-the-box connectivity to literally hundreds of security systems and sensors, so real time information and alerts can be presented in a common operating picture.
Such solutions also employ modules that can help automate complex response workflows and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in order to address specific vertical market guidelines or regulatory compliance requirements (e.g. NERC compliance for the energy sector, FAA and TSA regulations for aviation, APTA guidelines in the Public Transport realm, and so on). Built on best practices and experience with many “like” installations, these modules can also be easily tailored to specific customer requirements. For example, an airport might use the solution to direct personnel in the real-time handling of airplane mishaps or security breaches. Or in the transit case, it might be used to guide procedures for evacuating passengers in just about any emergency situation (e.g. a fire).
And as importantly, because the ROI of such software, built on industry best practices, can be clearly and credibly demonstrated and quantified – for example through reduced operational expenses – it can make it easier to obtain grants and funding. Thus not just “Minding the Gap” – but minding what could otherwise be a financial gap too. Imagine the ROI, and other security benefits that could be achieved simply by consolidating multiple control rooms into one, or by accelerating operator response time, or by improving an operator’s ability to multitask.
Have a situation management project on the drawing board, underway or completed? How are you “minding the gaps?” I’d be interested to hear your comments and experiences.