Tapping Web and social media sources to locate data streams offers beneficial results including the ability to identify trends and expedite investigations

Over the course of the last decade, we’ve seen a blurring of lines between cyber and physical security concerns. Whether it’s the hacking of corporate information or the use of social media for nefarious activities, it’s clear that these once-separate security disciplines are often tied together.

As a result, various organisations seek ways in which they can collaborate and share information to gain greater situational awareness to react faster, smarter and more efficiently. The overall goal is to see the process of security from a single lens to achieve comprehensive risk mitigation efforts.

Stakeholders must detect and neutralise potential threats quickly, as well as seek out new forms of intelligence to be one step ahead of the curve. The growing acceptance of Big Data analysis and the Internet of Things (IoT) enables the collection of relevant data across systems, services, and devices, driving alliances to deter, prevent, and investigate threats and improve safety.

Role of data analysis

Data analysis is the process of examining large data sets to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences, and other useful business information to anticipate, respond and take action. The amount and types of structured and unstructured data are growing rapidly, and present new and increasing challenges. Organisations that generate actionable intelligence from collected data points, such as financial organisations, corporate enterprises and government agencies, are better positioned to create value and achieve their strategic objectives.

Organisations that generate
actionable intelligence from
collected data points are better
positioned to create value and
achieve their strategic objectives

Stakeholders are driven by an alignment with risk management, IT and business continuity to provide a comprehensive security strategy that takes into account cyber and physical security and recognises the potentially damaging disruptions if not threats are not controlled. New services, tools, and methods are valuable to help users mitigate risks more effectively. Here is a look at two processes gaining significant interest:

Web and social media intelligence

The Web and social media are of critical importance to security leaders, as these platforms are the gateway to a vast array of information that can help enhance security, investigate breaches, and streamline operations. The process of tapping into Web and social media sources to locate data streams offers beneficial results including the ability to identify trends and expedite investigations. This process helps transform raw information into valuable data by capturing valuable evidence that can be used to mitigate risks, build critical insights, and identify targets.

Everyone is online and therefore, we all leave digital breadcrumbs that can be used to determine our activities online and help determine offline activity as well. In criminal cases, the Web is a valuable tool to collect information about potential criminals from their conversations on social networks and blogs, engagement with news sites, and entrance into the Dark Web. Data derived from these sources allows investigators to pinpoint targets more efficiently.

Web intelligence is realised through a combination of broad searches across the Internet, and locating and opening up hidden sites. Using managed crawlers and socially-engineered avatars, open source intelligence solutions find data that cannot be found in any other way. Investigators can reconstruct social circles, interpret emerging events, and discover persons of interest through customised alerts, behavioural profiles, and geospatial identification that all work cohesively to help achieve actionable intelligence.

In criminal cases, the Web is a valuable tool to collect information about potential criminals from their conversations on social networks
By detecting high-risk posts, and identifying potential threats and targets, organisations can help prevent crime and terrorism before it happens

By detecting high-risk posts, and identifying potential threats and targets, organisations can help prevent crime and terrorism before it happens — resulting in more proactive security planning. Collected data from the Web allows users to gain forensic insight into what occurred during an incident, rebuild the sequence of events, understand the big picture of what caused the event, and how the response was carried out for a better chain of evidence and accountability.

Social media is not only valuable in identifying potential security events or suspects, it is now being used to facilitate greater citizen engagement, empowering the general public to participate in the safety of their communities. This facet of social media intelligence gives authorities the ability to collaborate with the public when situations occur, which can help achieve a greater level of situational awareness through an “eyes on the street” approach. By providing critical information and input, citizens help safety officials carry out evidence-based, targeted public safety interventions in a proactive manner.

Transforming security and safety planning

Linking Web and social media intelligence, cyber security, and physical security together helps transform security and safety planning, and helps create the intersections and correlations of details surrounding a situation to present a unified scenario to the appropriate analysts and operators. By capturing and analysing this data in real-time, leaders gain a visual representation of risks while accessing information related to the most critical events happening at any given time. Not only does this unified process help enable a higher and more proactive level of protection, but it also facilitates a plan of action based on a centralised security operations centre.

There is no doubt that the nature of what threatens the world will continue to change and evolve. It is important that we continue to innovate and enhance countermeasures, expand the ability to share information across channels and find new ways to leverage tools that help drive greater situational awareness. With robust intelligence, stakeholders can respond faster, smarter, and more efficiently to address, or even prevent, future security challenges.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

Author profile

Kevin Wine Vice President - Business Unit Marketing, Verint Systems

In case you missed it

Wire-free, mobile first and data rich? The future of access control is within almost anyone’s reach
Wire-free, mobile first and data rich? The future of access control is within almost anyone’s reach

The 2020s will be a wireless decade in access control, says Russell Wagstaff from ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEA. He examines the trends data, and looks beyond mobile keys to brand new security roles for the smartphone. The benefits of wire-free electronic access control are well rehearsed. They are also more relevant than ever. A wireless solution gives facility managers deeper, more flexible control over who should have access, where and when, because installing, operating and integrating them is easier and less expensive than wiring more doors. Battery powered locks Many procurement teams are now aware of these cost advantages, but perhaps not their scale. Research for an ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions (AAOS) benchmarking exercise found installation stage to be the largest contributor to cost reduction. Comparing a typical installation of battery-powered Aperio locks versus wired locks at the same scale, the research projected an 80% saving in installers’ labour costs for customers who go cable-free. Battery powered locks all consume much less energy than traditional wired locks Operating costs are also lower for wireless: Battery powered locks all consume much less energy than traditional wired locks, which normally work via magnets connected permanently to electricity. Wireless locks only ‘wake up’ when presented with a credential for which they must make an access decision. AAOS estimated a 70% saving in energy use over a comparable lock’s lifetime. Find out more about wireless access control at ASSA ABLOY's upcoming 29th June webinar Deploying wireless locks In short, every time a business chooses a wireless lock rather than a wired door, they benefit from both installation and operating cost savings. A recent report from IFSEC Global, AAOS and Omdia reveals the extent to which the advantages of wireless are cutting through. Responses to a large survey of security professionals — end-users, installers, integrators and consultants serving large corporations and small- to medium-sized organisations in education, healthcare, industrial, commercial, infrastructure, retail, banking and other sectors — suggest almost four locations in ten (38%) have now deployed wireless locks as a part or the whole of their access solution. The corresponding data point from AAOS’s 2014 Report was 23%. Electronic access control Electronic access control is less dependent than ever on cabling Without doubt, electronic access control is less dependent than ever on cabling: Even after a year when many investments have been deferred or curtailed, the data reveals fast-growing adoption of wireless locks, technologies and systems. Is mobile access control — based on digital credentials or ‘virtual keys’ stored on a smartphone — an ideal security technology for this wire-free future? In fact, the same report finds mobile access is growing fast right now. Among those surveyed, 26% of end-users already offer mobile compatibility; 39% plan to roll out mobile access within two years. Before the mid-2020s, around two-thirds of access systems will employ the smartphone in some way. The smartphone is also convenient for gathering system insights Driving rapid adoption What is driving such rapid adoption? The convenience benefits for everyday users are obvious — witness the mobile boom in banking and payments, travel or event ticketing, transport, food delivery and countless more areas of modern life. Access control is a natural fit. If you have your phone, you are already carrying your keys: What could be easier? IBM forecasts that 1.87 billion people globally will be mobile workers by 2022 Less often discussed are the ways mobile management makes life easier for facility and security managers, too. Among those polled for the new Wireless Access Control Report, almost half (47%) agreed that ‘Mobile was more flexible than physical credentials, and 36% believe that mobile credentials make it easier to upgrade employee access rights at any time.’ IBM forecasts that 1.87 billion people globally will be mobile workers by 2022. Workers in every impacted sector require solutions which can get the job done from anywhere: Access management via smartphone offers this. Site management device The smartphone is also convenient for gathering system insights. For example, one new reporting and analytics tool for CLIQ key-based access control systems uses an app to collect, visualise and evaluate access data. Security system data could contribute to business success. The app’s clear, visual layout helps managers to instantly spot relevant trends, anomalies or patterns. It’s simple to export, to share insights across the business. Reinvented for learning — not just as a ‘key’ or site management device — the phone will help businesses make smarter, data-informed decisions. The smartphone will also play a major role in security — and everything else — for an exciting new generation of smart buildings. These buildings will derive their intelligence from interoperability. Over 90% of the report’s survey respondents highlighted the importance of integration across building functions including access control, CCTV, alarm and visitor management systems. Genuinely seamless integration They offer greater peace of mind than proprietary solutions which ‘lock you in’ for the long term Yet in practice, stumbling blocks remain on the road to deeper, genuinely seamless integration. More than a quarter of those polled felt held back by a lack of solutions developed to open standards. ‘Open standards are key for the momentum behind the shift towards system integration,’ notes the Report. As well as being more flexible, open solutions are better futureproofed. Shared standards ensure investments can be made today with confidence that hardware and firmware may be built on seamlessly in the future. They offer greater peace of mind than proprietary solutions which ‘lock you in’ for the long term. Open solutions and mobile management are critical to achieving the goals which end-users in every vertical are chasing: scalability, flexibility, sustainability, cost-efficiency and convenience.

What are the latest trends in perimeter security technology?
What are the latest trends in perimeter security technology?

Perimeter security is the first line of defence against intruders entering a business or premises. Traditionally associated with low-tech options such as fencing, the field of perimeter security has expanded in recent years and now encompasses a range of high-tech options. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the latest trends in perimeter security technology?

Secure access control is helping to shape the post-pandemic world
Secure access control is helping to shape the post-pandemic world

With the continued rolling back of COVID restrictions in the UK, there is a palpable sense of relief. A mixture of mass vaccinations, widespread testing, and track and tracing of the infection is helping to enable a healthy bounce back for businesses – with secure access control taking an important role in facilitating this. However, rather than just being a reaction to the wake of the pandemic, there is every sign that the economy, and consequently the security sector as well, are both rebuilding and reshaping for the long-term new normal. Prioritising Safety Already deemed an essential service even during the first wave of the pandemic, the security industry has of course taken a vital role in protecting people and property throughout the crisis. Now that venues in the UK are starting to reopen again, our services are key to occupancy management and ensuring that disease transmission is limited as far as possible. Access control is also key in reassuring people that their safety is a priority. Making the upgrade It’s all been about choosing the most suitable components and technology that already existed with a few “tweaks”  Businesses and organisations have a duty of care to their employees and the safety of visitors – so controlling access, employing lateral flow testing, and deploying suitable Track & Trace mechanisms are all key components. I think those outside our industry are surprised to learn that most of the technology being deployed and used hasn’t just magically developed since COVID appeared – it’s all been about choosing the most suitable components and technology that already existed albeit with a few development “tweaks” or adjustments for the situation at hand. This includes using or installing facial recognition readers rather than using fingerprint or contact tokens, it is swapping to automatic request to exit sensors instead of buttons; it is using powered secure doors rather than having people all grab the same handle. Using mobile credentials is also a key technology choice – why not use the highly secure, easy to manage, cost-effective, and of course contact-free benefits of this approach? Touchless solutions We have seen a clear shift in organisations looking to protect their staff and visitors. For instance, we have a big utility customer in Southeast Asia that has just replaced close to 200 sites using fingerprint readers with an additional facial recognition capability. We have also seen a big rise in demand for touchless request to exit sensors and Bluetooth Low Energy Readers for use with smartphone authentication. Working together Integration of security systems is of course nothing new, but in the post-pandemic or endemic age, it has perhaps never been more important. Installations need to be simple, straightforward, and rapid to help maintain safe distancing but also to ensure systems can be deployed as soon as they are needed. The world is changing and developing rapidly and there is simply no place for systems that don’t work with others or cause the end-user considerable cost and inconvenience to upgrade. This flexible delivery of security solutions perfectly matches the evolving and increasing demands of the market. It’s clear that end-users want systems that work well and can easily integrate with their existing systems – not only security but all the other business components which work in unison with each other over a shared network. Great opportunities ahead The recent work-from-home trend is also clearly changing the way organisations and businesses interact with the built environment. Lots of companies are downsizing, offices are being split up, there is lots of revitalisation and reuse of existing office space – all of which creates considerable opportunities for security providers. UK inflation more than doubled in April 2021 with unemployment figures dropping and the Pound rising in value There are also, in the UK at least, clear signs that the construction industry is rapidly growing again -with a forecast of 8% rebound and growth this year. UK inflation more than doubled in April 2021 with unemployment figures dropping and the Pound rising in value – all positive signs for UK-based security providers. Undoubtedly the highly successful UK vaccination rollout has helped considerably, but there are signs that the Eurozone looks set to improve considerably over the next few months as well. Using integrated access control Undoubtedly the pandemic has made security markets around the world more aware of the benefits of integrated access control in managing the needs of the new normal COVID endemic environment. For example, as a business, we have always had keen interest from the UK healthcare sector, but over the last 12 months, we have seen a big growth in previously modest international markets including Morocco, Kuwait, Bahrain, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand – all of which are very keen to adopt improved access control solutions. Learning the lessons Nobody would deny the last year or so has been unprecedentedly tough on everyone, as a society we have had to make huge changes and sacrifices. Governments, organisations, and businesses all need to be better prepared in the future, to understand the things that went wrong and those that were successful. However, there is a world beyond the immediate pandemic and its effects. Flexible working practices and the changes these will have to the way we live and work will undoubtedly present great opportunities for the security sector in helping the world evolve. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for many organisations with regards to their duty of care to employees – particularly when it comes to mental health and providing a sensible work/life balance. Where we work and the safety of these facilities has received far more scrutiny than before. Flexible security systems Integrated security solutions have a vital role to play in not only protecting the safety of people during the post-lockdown return to work but also in the evolution of the built environment and move towards smart cities - which inevitably will now need to consider greater flexibility in securing home working spaces rather than just traditional places of work. Importantly, powerful access control and integrated security systems need to be flexible to the uncertainties ahead. The COVID pandemic has shown that nothing can be considered certain, except the need for greater flexibility and resilience in the way we operate our professional and personal interactions.