Developing a Security Strategy: Leveraging Biometrics, Video Resolution and Analytics

Here are some key considerations your campus should assess during the planning process.

Over the past decade, the physical security technology landscape has evolved rapidly as the IT industry has developed products with greater computing capability and at lower costs. This has allowed academic and healthcare institutions to deliver more sophisticated physical security solutions that provide safer facilities for students, patients, faculty, clinicians and staff. As these trends continue, it is important for those managing and leading the future of these systems to account for the trends and develop plans on how to integrate technology effectively to meet security objectives and maximize the technology investment.

The legacy of physical security technology and current market shifts have left campuses with a broad range of solutions, creating challenges for staff tasked with planning for the future while managing and integrating their current environments. These current environments are continuously modified to address the increased security threats and incorporate new technology beyond cameras and card readers. With the combination of technologies comes more visibility and ability for security staff to better respond to potential incidents. As campus staff are increasingly expected to do more with less, organizations are also relying on technology that can automate functions that used to be done manually or not done at all.

To maximize the decision-making process and enable effective use of budgets, strategic planning around physical security technology is critical for success over the long-term. To do this, there are a few key considerations to assess during the strategic planning process. Understanding how the technologies will function within an organization will lead to better decisions and ultimately, a more secure campus environment.

Collaboration is Key
Before you look at any technology, it is critical to ensure there is clarity and alignment between the IT, facilities and security departments. Each department has a different role and responsibility when it comes to security and technology, and brings a different perspective to the table. Understanding how each department interfaces with the technology is key to reaching alignment. Additionally, documenting agreed upon goals, objectives and constraints is critical for long-term management of the security solutions.

Second, having agreed upon and documented security policies and procedures in place provides a baseline from which to make changes and improvements to the systems. A clear understanding of the policies and procedures across departments allows organizations to better understand how their decisions will affect the security systems in place.

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Another consideration is careful planning and investment in staff to ensure the right people are hired and trained. Having a properly trained staff goes a long way in mitigating risk as new technologies are implemented.

Three critical areas to consider in the planning process are the increased sophistication of network cameras, video analytics and biometrics.

Network Cameras
The rise of the network security camera along with advances in open platform video management software over the past decade have positively impacted security solutions. These technologies have provided information and clarity to events that had been unavailable or difficult to access, distribute and manage. As with any technology, evaluating how the technology will be used during real-life scenarios is critical for success. For most, technology for technology’s sake is not always the best solution.

For example, scene analysis prior to camera purchase is key for proper deployment. Understanding the environmental factors and the stated objectives for a particular camera allows for the effective analysis of the trade-offs between various manufacturer offerings. Options now exist to decrease investment in locations that are less critical and complex while simultaneously increasing investment in areas that have greater requirements. It is a worth the time to document scene requirements and camera trade-offs in order to maximize your capital investments.

The trend toward greater camera resolution will be pushed to 4K and beyond, but this will only apply to a certain subset of cameras within a campus environment. While high resolution camera technology will benefit from the adoption of H.265 compression, the reality is that not all campus locations will require high resolution cameras. Campuses should take advantage of both reasonably-priced network cameras and basic video capabilities in non-critical areas such as hallways, entrances and storage areas.

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