Paths to Integrating Campus Electronic Security Systems

An electronic security migration plan will ensure organizations transitioning from analog to digital select systems that interoperate. A good plan will also help to evaluate the infrastructure used to support the technology.

Qualify the Manufacturers Involved
Once the evaluation of the institution’s electronic security requirements is complete and the existing systems/infrastructure on campus is quantified, potential electronic security systems manufacturers for the new installation and migration can then be qualified.

There are many electronic security manufacturers that offer digital electronic security solutions, and the current manufacture utilized on the campus may not be the best option for the plan. Therefore, it is important to research the types of electronic security systems and manufacturer offerings.

Do their solutions integrate with other manufacturer’s products? What are the software features and communication protocols? How much will it cost to service the new system? Will a resident technician or third-party technician be used? These are just some of the issues that should be addressed.  To learn more about selecting the right manufacturer, click here.

Consider Developing a Phased Plan
Once the manufacturers and products have been identified, systems can be designed by developing construction drawings and specifications. These documents may be further developed to outline a phased plan for the migration or construction of an entirely new electronic security system. Phasing allows for the campus to scale the migration and budget accordingly.

Security migration plans may span several years with the accelerating rate of technological change and advancement. Many forward-thinking institutions conduct re-assessments every few years to ensure the plan is in accordance with the campus master security plan and facility requirements. Re-assessments also serve to evaluate the budgets for each remaining phase of the electronic security migration plan.

RELATED: How to Select the Right Electronic Security Software to Run It All

Few organizations are capable of adequately conducting this challenging process themselves and look to technology consulting firms specializing in electronic security to work closely with their facilities, security, police and IT network staff to adequately understand and address all of the key issues. Read about the University of New Mexico’s experience upgrading its security systems here. Regular re-assessments can be efficiently and cost-effectively performed by a consultant familiar with the facility and the plan, avoiding additional learning curve fees.

Align Migration Plan With Other Campus Goals
There are countless ways to go about migrating from an analog electronic security system to a digital one, but they all begin with an initial assessment and they all end with a streamlined number of independent security systems. Ultimately, the best security migration plans ensure alignment with long term plans, the campus master plan, institutional or corporate standards, and provide a manageable budget for each phase – which makes everyone feel more secure.

Michelle Hofmaster is a senior consultant for national technology consulting firm The Sextant Group. She can be reached at

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