How are required skillsets changing among security operators?
3 Jul 2019
People are an essential component of any physical security system. Automation hasn’t taken over completely yet! But how has innovation changed the skillsets security operators need to operate systems effectively? The two elements – technology and manpower – must operate seamlessly and hand-in-glove to ensure that modern systems live up to their full potential. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does technology innovation in security systems impact the skillsets needed by security operators and officers?
Of course, operators and officers need a certain level of technical understanding, but as the industry progresses and these professionals are responsible for more and more, there needs to be a heightened awareness of potential security events as well. Even if you have the greatest, most high-tech security room in the industry, all it takes is glancing away from the monitors for a few seconds to miss something big. By becoming aware of what could go wrong, security professionals have a better understanding of what to look for. As things continue to get more complex, the operators need to be more focused and the officers need to be more knowledgeable of how to respond to a variety of event types.
As our security technology advances, there is no question that the skillset needed by security operators has evolved. While the technology itself has become more powerful, the interface is undoubtably more intuitive than ever before. With the proliferation of intelligent interconnected systems and Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs), automation has taken hold and begun to change the ways in which security operators interact with their systems. While it was once commonplace for an officer to spend hours combing through video surveillance footage to find a specific event, we can now program our systems to alert us based upon specific triggers. As these solutions begin incorporating forms of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning, systems can run autonomously with minimal operator input, allowing security officers to focus less on monitoring and more on proactive measures.
As security capabilities related to artificial intelligence, cloud storage and machine learning become layered into more traditional technologies like video surveillance, access control and smart lighting, the skillsets needed to run those systems and utilise the data collected will need to be updated and invested in accordingly. The question becomes how to do that while attracting new talent. These challenges come in addition to the already existing skills gap in the technical industry – it’s reported that more than two million technical roles could go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers. To combat this, investment in workforce training parallel with the introduction of smart security solutions for your organisation will go a long way. Ensuring that smart security is viewed as an opportunity versus a threat and proactively working to develop your workforce while attracting new talent are all tactics that help align employee skillsets with security goals.
New technology advancements give security leaders the ability and power to do more with less. Advanced innovations drive the ability to fuse multiple data sources to eliminate data silos and improve speed of investigation. For example, video and transaction information can be combined to identify potential risks in a proactive manner while providing a visual representation of a transaction. Furthermore, video analytics are more mature today and provide more value in real-world deployments. Analytics solve problems at scale due to improved technology (i.e. computational processing) that can be leveraged to determine when an actual person is identified in video versus in simply detecting motion. Also, in the past, you might only be able to identify a person on a single camera due to processing limitations, but now, you can do it across many cameras simultaneously. Overall, technology is empowering security operators and officers to automate once time consuming, manual processes.
Increasingly, security systems are integrated with a widening array of IoT and analytics technologies, so security operators and officers need to be conversant in emerging technologies that may not have been on their radar five years ago. Physical security is becoming intertwined with more of the facility management functions. The good news is this technology, once in place, can greatly improve and simplify management of an environment, and offer dramatically more sophisticated means for securing people and property. Of course, this technology also depends on the collection of more data, which must be managed and stored, so understanding how to simplify that component may become a new job responsibility for some people.
As technology evolves in physical security, a core contradiction is that more complex systems are often becoming easier to use. Automation is eliminating some of the mundane tasks involved in managing security systems. Technology is breaking down the silos among the departments of an enterprise, so security professionals may be exposed to a broader range of experiences. In general, there is a need for security managers and operators to keep their skillsets up to date. Ideally, professional development should occur at the same pace as technological development.
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