Selling physical security systems to the C-Suite by Paul Dodds, Country Manager UK & Ireland, Genetec
When it comes to budgeting, physical security technology has been historically regarded as a sunk cost, an operational necessity focused on protecting people and assets. Technology advances and the digital transformation of organisations are beginning to change that perspective as executives become more aware of the value unlocked by data-driven insights.
Having sufficient data management and structure is key to unlocking the value of physical security data.
It requires a shift from siloed, standalone systems to open, unified platforms that unify video management (VMS), access control (ACS) number plate recognition (ANPR), intrusion monitoring, point-of-sale (POS) reporting, and other functions in a single interface.
A unified physical security system can deliver insights that go far beyond improving security, to help improve operations and shape the enterprise overall. The challenge is in demonstrating that potential to executives. The key to selling a unified security platform to the C-suite is in elevating it from a departmental cost to an enterprise-wide investment and showing how it impacts the business interests they value.
While security may not be a daily topic of discussion among C-suite members, the heads of all functions and departments understand the need to provide a safe and secure environment for employees and visitors, maintain ‘duty of care’ standards, and comply with government and industry regulations. Any proposal to the C-suite must address those concerns comprehensively to win approval. Where the conversation needs to expand is in how the project delivers advantages beyond security.
Establish your vision for a unified physical security solution
Bring your C-team up to speed on the industry’s shift from siloed, standalone systems for VMS, ACS, ANPR and other functions to open, unified platforms. With unification, all of those systems are built as one and enable access to the entire security operation from a single screen. It’s important to distinguish between systems that are integrated with an SDK or API, giving them some connectivity, and those that are truly unified on the back end, at the data level, which enables not only access and views, but the ability to interact with events and information across all of the sub-systems.
When all elements of a physical security system work together in a unified way, they not only secure an enterprise, but yield actionable business intelligence that can be leveraged and combined with operational data to improve efficiency.
Have the conversation about ROI
You need to provide a tangible return on investment (ROI) for your security system, but you must also help executives understand the overall security investment in the context of enterprise-wide risk management. ROI is often a question of goals. Where does the leadership team want to take the organisation in the next five or 10 years? What data, features, or insights would be most meaningful to support these goals? A unified software platform enables better tracking of key metrics and more collaboration between departments. This in turn enables better decisions and potentially a greater ROI.
What pain points could be resolved with better collaboration, automation, visibility, or operational changes? What could your organisation gain if you eliminate redundant systems and processes? Could you reallocate those resources? When all systems bring data into one unified platform, companies can realise important cost savings. Operational expenses go down, the cost of maintenance is reduced, training is simplified, and employees can get their work done more effectively and efficiently.
It’s equally important to highlight the value of a system based on open architecture, which will give the organisation flexibility to choose best-of-breed components without being locked into any one particular hardware vendor, and to benefit from innovations and new technologies as they emerge.
Data can provide actionable insights that lead to greater efficiency and improved guest experiences. It’s also important to consider ROI through the lens of the total cost of ownership. A seemingly cheaper option can cost more in the long run.
Conversations for IT: Streamlined maintenance, cloud, and cybersecurity
As the keeper of the sation’s technology stack and network, the C-team member from IT is an important ally, and it’s critical that they understand the potential of a unified physical security system in the context of the organisation’s technology priorities overall. Demonstrate how an open, unified security system streamlines maintenance and upgrades, gives them agility and flexibility around hardware and software, enables cloud deployment, and improves cybersecurity.
Dealing with maintenance and system configurations on multiple security systems can be expensive and inefficient. Many required configurations are redundant, forcing administrators to repeat the same tasks across all systems. Upgrades can also potentially render a part of a security system incompatible with the others. A unified physical security system makes this job easier because all system updates and configurations are managed within the same platform.
Cloud readiness is also a hot button for IT. With support for cloud, hybrid-cloud and on-premises deployments, modern, unified physical security systems enable the organisation to extend the functionality of server-based systems or create a bridge to the cloud to modernise existing infrastructures. This can be done by adding cloud-connected appliances, adding devices with cloud-based software and storage, implementing remote sites with cloud solutions, or running specific applications in the cloud.
A hybrid solution allows organisations to keep on-premises servers for existing technologies and uses as well as add other security and business components or systems as needed. The sheer flexibility and scalability of the cloud simplifies expansions by accommodating many different objectives, uses, and durations.
Finally, with cyberattacks rising across all geographies and industries as IoT devices proliferate, cybersecurity is a top IT priority. Take the time to demonstrate how cybersecurity and privacy protection are built in at every level of a modern unified physical security solution. As the software vendor is responsible for monitoring cyber threats, then patching and updating software as required, this lifts the load off IT as well as security teams, since they don’t need to manually update multiple systems.
Conversations for Facilities: Improved operations and in-building experiences
Facility management has been significantly changed by digital transformation, and C-suite decision-makers in that arena need good data to support novel solutions. When your data is divided by siloed systems, it’s hard to see the full scope of the opportunity. A unified platform allows organisations to combine and track data so you can see trends and how one event is linked to another.
One example is office space. With workers dividing their time between home and office, it’s challenging to know how much office space is needed. With a unified platform, facilities managers can leverage data from ACS and video analytics to get a detailed picture of how office space is used without compromising privacy.
Data from an access control system can also alert facility operators when a door has been opened a certain number of times and the hardware is due for maintenance. This can allow for preventive maintenance. Data on the use of space can even be used to optimise and reduce utility costs when physical security systems are connected to HVAC and electrical systems.
How a physical security system can help improve operations
Data from physical security systems can be leveraged for operational benefits across several departments in all industries. With a modern unified physical security platform, each department or person can create their own dashboard to track the metrics that matter most to them making it quicker and easier to spot trends, threats, and opportunities.
For example, restaurants, retail stores, and large venues successfully use video analytics to flag management when queue lines are too long. They can send staff to open new checkout lanes which can help reduce cart abandonment.
From ANPR data retailers, for example, can get information on whether they’re getting a lot of out-of-state customers; information they can use to target marketing campaigns. Casinos can see when VIPs drive onto the property and greet them proactively. Airports can track when parking lots are filling up so they can re-direct people to overflow areas by changing digital signage as soon as the need arises.
For further information please visit www.genetec.com