If your security department is perceived as a cost center, you’re not alone – Part 2

Qognify Marketing Team, // November 11, 2015
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Last week we discussed the reality for most CSOs today being that when looking to improve their organization’s safety or security posture, someone above might legitimately ask: ‘Why?’ or ‘What is it worth?’. While the answers are well rehearsed and seem obvious, unfortunately, they are becoming less compelling as other needs fight for limited resources. The narrative needs to change – and it can. Technology, with its ability to collect, capture, collate and aggregate information efficiently is part of the new narrative; understanding and addressing business drivers impacted by security and safety events is another.

Now, I apologize in advance for the graphic nature of the following example, but I hope it makes the concept a little more concrete. Mass transit systems transport people for a fee. When they can’t transport people, then revenue is not being generated. Moreover, a disruption in mass transit impacts the local economy, producing a negative domino effect on surrounding stakeholders, which could range from well-connected, influential businesses, through to traffic patterns and emergency services.

Here’s where it gets graphic. Unfortunately, it is a statistical certainty that from time to time someone will take, or attempt to take their life on the tracks. This is an uncontrollable event that a CSO of a mass transit system cannot prevent. Once a tragedy like this has occurred, certain things have to be done before service can resume.

Some of the things that need to take place include, stopping trains; rescuing passengers; notifying and redirecting other passengers by liaising with other modes of transport; interviewing staff and passengers; clean up; resuming services, communicating and reporting to first responders; informing the public at large of the disruption; clearing the backlog, short- and long-term support for the driver and much more.

This is only one type of example that can lead to disruption in mass transit. Safety and security events occur all of the time and extend to other industries too. In an airport environment, incidents such as a passenger going into an unauthorized zone, a small fire or flooding from a burst pipe may cause a terminal evacuation. The cost of an evacuation is measured by the minute. Every minute that goes by, tens of thousands of dollars are lost. The same type of event management activities as mentioned above need to take place, and on an even larger scale. Basically, in any security-conscious environment, ramifications stemming from how an event is handled, or more importantly how efficiently the event is handled, can have implications. A critical facility, such as an electrical plant, must respond timely and effectively to safety issues or security breaches, or risk shutdowns and fines. In short, managing the situation in the most efficient way possible and with the right contingency plans is key. This not only can help save lives, but cost and reputation too.

I suspect these are not the core responsibilities of a CSO, but those of the COO. Regardless of where the responsibility lies within the C-suite, a security information management system can be repurposed for the greater good.

What was once known as PSIM, or Physical Security Information Management, has taken a dramatic turn towards Information Management as it goes above and far beyond safety and security. With the recognition of its ability to solve bigger problems and address a whole host of operational issues, Information Management systems are gaining the attention of all parties in the C-suite. For Qognify and other like-minded consultants and system integrators, information management is the future of our industry.

To read the first part of this two part blog click here.

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