EXCLUSIVE: The future of security is integrated systems

Integrated systems - Gallagher Security control room

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Gallagher Security’s Executive Vice President – the Americas, Scott Elliott, explains why integrated systems play a critical role in developing the customer-centric solutions propelling security into the future.

From specialization to expectation

If you turn on the television and quickly scan the channels, chances are you’ll find multiple property development shows featuring families in pursuit of the customized home of their dreams.

It’s a trend that’s been gathering steam for decades, with real estate developers across the US struggling to keep up with the demand for custom builds.

Families looking to invest in new homes want these assets to meet their specific, individualized needs, whether it’s size, features, layout or location.

This trend towards the bespoke isn’t just limited to real estate. From grocers to car dealerships, toy stores to electronics, you’ll find that customization has moved beyond the realm of specialty products and into the mainstream mindset of consumers in nearly every industry.

Security is no different.

A one-size-fits-all solution no longer cuts it in a contemporary setting where the needs and requirements of businesses and the people who occupy them vary dramatically from one to the other, even sometimes within an organization itself.

Enabling customers to create tailored and integrated systems is the way forwards for the security industry, with businesses benefitting most from vendors capable of delivering a seamless, curb-to-core solution compatible with the cutting-edge technologies of today – as well as being prepared for the unknown ones of tomorrow.

Their security, their way

No two businesses are alike and with a seemingly endless supply of technologies ready to fulfil their unique needs, there’s no reason for them to be either.

Take manufacturing plants for example. With large numbers of personnel, heavy machinery and strict compliances, these businesses have a variety of challenging security requirements.

Foundational security measures will largely be the same – most sites need some form of perimeter, access control and monitoring integrations to protect their plants.

However, environmental conditions, production models and health concerns can all force manufacturing sites to require customized solutions and integrated systems.

For instance, food processing sites will require monitoring for temperature, sanitation and employee health among other Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements.

Sites manufacturing around the clock will need fatigue monitoring to enforce mandatory breaks and maintain safety around dangerous machinery.

Additionally, manufacturers producing or engaging with hazardous materials like fertilizers, plastics and chemicals will need to restrict access to staff with proper training and credentials to maintain Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

In other words, with so many differing necessities, the security solution that fits an individual business best is the one tailored to meet specific needs and provide integrated systems.

An integrated system is a unified solution made simple

However, offering customization alone isn’t enough.

In today’s world, businesses need security solutions capable of accommodating technological advancements while also safeguarding against evolving cyber-risks and external threats.

This requires a solution capable of providing rich application programming interfaces (APIs) and sophisticated cybersecurity protections simultaneously. The notion that an effective system is either one or the other – “open” versus “closed” – is a myth. A modern system needs both.

By necessity, this means integrated systems are unified platforms with state-of-the-art designs to support multiple technologies, integrate data from different sources and work with a variety of hardware and software partners.

As these platforms must also meet high standards of security – including encryption, secure data transfer and secure storage – they’re complex.

However, complexity on the back end doesn’t mean these systems have to be complicated for end users.

Unified platforms are capable of balancing flexibility with robust defenses, all the while maintaining a simplified user experience for a best-of-all-worlds approach.

For example, facial recognition and other biometric technologies can streamline access control, simplify operations and increase a site’s security, but if a business can’t protect against data breaches in their system, even impressive integrated systems like these become ineffective.

Creating new efficiencies

Combining different integrated systems doesn’t just offer bespoke options and comprehensive protections.

It can also increase efficiencies, cost savings and compliances, providing businesses with holistic controls over a wider variety of building, site and people management operations.

That’s because unified systems can be managed from a single interface, eliminating the need to juggle separate systems.

From one centralized platform, users can manage cardholders, credentials, elevators, garage access, room availability, temperature settings, air quality, alarms and so much more.

Tasks that used to take hours can be reduced to minutes, freeing up employees to spend more time on core duties. Energy consumption can be reduced through simple automations, reducing utility costs.

Health compliances and industry regulations can be enforced remotely, preventing non-compliance and so on and so on.

An integrated security solution can also improve situational awareness by providing real-time visibility into security events, enabling users to respond quickly and effectively to potential threats.

Consolidated data from multiple integrations can reveal patterns and trends indicating potential security risks, providing critical insights into operations.

As these solutions can be scaled up or down to meet changing security requirements, businesses of all sizes can benefit from these flexible systems.

Most importantly, unified platforms create peace of mind. With the right combination of compatibility and protection, these systems ensure the people, assets and data at the heart of business operations remain safely in their control.

Adding value by choosing the right partners

The potential to support business operations and amplify the benefits of unified systems starts with choosing the right integrated systems.

Selecting those best-in-class technology partners is critical to the success of an integrated security solution.

Such partnerships ensure that customers have access to the most innovative technologies of the day, which in turn means providing a higher level of security, functionality and reliability, as out-of-date hardware and software are more susceptible to cyber-threats.

Partnerships with leading technology vendors provide businesses with access to new features and functionalities as they become available, ensuring that integrated systems remain up-to-date and ready for the future.

With new security technologies hitting the market every day, integrated systems allow organizations to evolve in real time, matching the rapid pace of advancement.

Innovating for the future alongside customers

Knowing the numerous benefits integrations provide businesses, it’s easy to see why robust, unified systems are leading the way into the security industry’s future.

That’s because by their very nature, these platforms are customer-centric, delivering innovative solutions inspired by real-world problems and needs faced by users.

The benefits of taking a customer-centric approach to security aren’t one sided – there are mutual advantages for vendors and businesses alike.

For example, designing an integrated system to meet the specific needs of the customer results in better alignment with individual business requirements and increases overall satisfaction.

It can also lead vendors to create a more user-friendly platform that is easier to operate and understand, improving the user experience and reducing the need for extensive training.

Additionally, the freedom to customize a system can increase customer loyalty, leading to long-term revenue growth and profitability for vendors while simultaneously improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the solution.

Finally, involving customers in the design process helps security vendors identify potential issues early in the development cycle, leading to faster time-to-market and increased chances of success.

Integrated systems require an ear to the ground and an eye on the horizon and the vendors who commit to building the rich APIs and integration points that make unified systems attractive to businesses are propelling the industry forward.

It might take more work, but the payoff is worth it.

This article was originally published in the August edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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