Improving Campus Safety with Next-Gen PSIMs

Today’s PSIM platforms are faster, more open and help campus security and public safety teams stay ahead of change.

Improving Campus Safety with Next-Gen PSIMs

Photo via Adobe, by momius

As the pace of technology increases, many large campus security teams are overwhelmed by the hundreds to thousands of devices creating alerts in the security operations center. Whether it’s a panic button alert for a dormitory assault or video showing a parking lot vandal in action, officers are acutely aware of the importance of rapid response, as delays may further harm or damage people and property.

Campuses continue spending heavily on highly sophisticated security solutions, such as gunshot detection and mobile safety notifications, all adding to the security operations center’s (SOC) crush of data. It’s easy to see how serious events could go unnoticed or have delayed responses. Cutting through the SOC “noise” resulting from many disparate systems is a challenge on any campus. Siloed systems, each with separate interfaces, make it difficult to scale an operation in response to changes.

What’s needed is a system capable of prioritizing all incoming data so that the most urgent events appear on a single screen, along with the information necessary to eliminate confusion and promote teamwork to resolve issues. About 15 years ago, the first physical security information management (PSIM) software was introduced to filter and analyze system data. It was a significant improvement. However, the next generation of PSIM’s delivers a faster and more open platform to help campus security teams stay ahead of change.

The Advantages of Next-gen PSIMs Are Many

Today’s next-generation PSIM platforms leverage a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) model to add more capabilities and the speed required for rapid event response. Next-gen PSIMs group and prioritize alerts, reducing SOC overload. Operators see the most urgent matters first. For example, these platforms can instantly identify the difference between signals from an after-hours door opening in a biosafety 4 laboratory and an open athletic equipment storage door. A simple-to-use universal alarm queue enables security teams to respond to events quickly and consistently.

Today’s next-generation, open-standards PSIM platforms enable viewing all alarms and events – from any system, device or source – on a single display. A PSIM platform provides SOC operators with the essential tools they need to speed up responses, such as automatically showing camera streams nearest the event, simple mapping tools, call lists and more.

PSIM platforms increase overall situational awareness by extending the power of the SOC to the hands of field teams. Using smartphones, patrolling campus security or public safety officers are instantly notified of nearby events and provided the key details to respond effectively, while the team in the SOC always has a real-time view of the location and status of their entire team. The field teams share photos, video and audio from the event, keeping the SOC and other patrolling officers fully informed.

Most university security teams have action plans or standard operating procedures (SOPs) prepared to handle critical events. Next-gen PSIMs present SOC operators with real-time interactive versions of the right plan for the situation to ensure a consistent team response. SOPs are flexible and customizable to meet the specific needs of each campus. The simplicity and versatility of the cloud enable campuses to develop complicated rules quickly.

The PSIM platform automates processes like recording video, sending notifications to campus administrators and triggering other related actions during an event, freeing busy SOC operators from the tasks.

After events, next-gen PSIMs help analyze the team’s performance. Every action taken by a SOC member is automatically tracked in real-time, providing team leaders with key performance metrics to improve response times and eliminate bottlenecks. There is no need for team members to compile compliance and audit requests over hours or days.

PSIMs Reduce Nuisance Alarms, Are Easy to Learn

Other next-gen PSIM capabilities include reducing more than 90% of nuisance alarms, often caused by nothing more serious than the motion of wind-blown foliage in front of a dormitory. False alarm reduction enables SOC operators to concentrate on actual events.

Next-gen PSIM platforms go beyond typical security monitoring tasks, integrating diverse sources such as news and weather reports or risk alerts with potential impacts on administrators, professors and other campus staff on out-of-office assignments.

Today’s PSIMs can be up and running in about a week without the need for expensive on-premises servers. On their first day on the job, operators can learn the system in hours. Systems quickly scale as campuses grow and needs change. Software updates are automatic without any service disruption or downtime.

Look for an open system that’s vendor-neutral and integrates with best-of-breed systems and devices, providing adaptability for long-term use as the heart of a modern security system.

The Time to Upgrade Is Now

It’s time to upgrade campus security operations to fully leverage the benefits of many disparate systems. Today’s PSIMs help tame the “noise” generated by multiple systems that often overwhelm a campus SOC team. Next-generation PSIM platforms provide faster response times, greater team collaboration, automation of routine tasks and more ­– all helping increase the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Simon Morgan is Chief Product Manager of SureView Systems, a leading provider of next-generation PSIM platforms.

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