Sarah Phillips

With the onset of COVID-19 it seems that everything has changed. As countries start to lift their restrictions thoughts go to post virus life and what if anything will be different. From a security industry point of view, it is inevitable that there will be a dusting off and review of business continuity plans. As well as how can organisations react differently to future challenges. One of those key points will be the consideration of security technology vs manpower.

Security technology vs manpower

The need for security guards and operators is not going away anytime soon. There needs to be a human element to collate data and make an informed decision.  Perhaps in the future artificial intelligence (AI) will make these decisions for us. However, currently a human interaction is the most reliable and efficient way.

It’s easy to first see the impact social isolation had on security manpower, even in countries where security guards were classified as key workers. Restriction on personnel movement and transportation meant lower numbers of security personnel being deployed to sites.  This in turn meant security managers had to prioritise areas to be protected and manned.

Social distancing, isolation, reduced manpower and other outcomes of the COVID19 crisis did not impact security technology. In fact, it carried on pretty much as normal with the only impact being perhaps reduced operators in control rooms monitoring said equipment.

So, what are the key drivers of a fit for purpose technology security plan? Do these drivers change during a pandemic crisis? Let’s look at external intrusion detection as one key example.

Well the need for real time accurate data of a potential security event is always key to manage with an appropriate response. There are 4 key points:

  • Reliability – Operator confidence comes from a reliable intrusion detection solution with low to zero false alarms. This is an area where there have been major leaps in security technology where the market has demanded dependability in alarm events. Advanced signal processing, complex algorithms and double knock technology have all contributed to increased reliability.
  • Integration – Integrating intrusion detection with CCTV cameras also has a major impact on operator confidence. The ability for an integrated solution to automatically display the relevant camera feed without operator interaction gives an additional layer of reliability. This ensures the event is digitally recorded and provides evidence to police forces
  • Probability of Detection – Equally important is probability of detection. Operators must be sure their intrusion detection system is going to detect would be intruders. A 95+% probability of detection means no additional patrols are needed and doubt is removed from operators’ minds.
  • Location accuracy has a direct correlation to a prompt response from security teams. This is especially true for external perimeter detection where there may be long perimeters of 5km, 10km or even longer to patrol and respond to. The ability to pinpoint an intruder with an accuracy of ± 5-metres ensures your security team arrives promptly.

A security solution that can also process alarm events by priorities also ensures key assets are always protected. By revisiting these key points asset managers can ensure they have a plan in place that is resilient to reduced manpower levels. As a result this ensures maximum coverage with minimum staff.

In summary business continuity plans must consider disruption to the availability of manpower so should select security technology that mitigates this risk.

Reduced risk =

High probability of detection + minimal nuisance alarms + accurate location reporting + integration capability