Firas Jadalla, Regional Director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Genetec explains why unification is much more than just security and when is the right time to think about unified security.
Most companies know long-term investments make good business sense, so a good security plan is no different. Focusing on the short-term and investing in proprietary independent solutions can throw a wrench in operations when the needs outgrow the physical security system.
Moving to unified security can make all the difference in helping achieve greater long-term value. That’s because a unified security platform gives the flexibility to build and evolve physical security operations, one component at a time. Choosing an open-architecture platform further ensures being able to adopt new technologies and hardware as business and security needs change.
All systems are managed from a common infrastructure, making system functionality consistent across all tasks. This means when a new system is added or a new software and firmware are updated, everything will be simpler.
When is the right time to think about unified security?
The starting point is usually modernizing one core system like access control or video surveillance. The decisions made from the start determine how the architecture of your system will evolve in the future. Integrated systems might look like the simple solution to solving a specific function, but in the long run, they can be a costly and inefficient way to manage your security operations as demands change.
When selecting a security product to protect businesses and people, it’s important to consider how the solution will be able to adapt to businesses’ needs moving forward. A unified physical security platform could prove to fulfil today’s requirements while ensuring easier and more efficient opportunities for growth tomorrow.
Change is good – is your system designed to evolve?
Being able to connect more systems to a platform depends on a system’s ability to make connections with other vendor solutions. And this is where integrated systems struggle.
Custom integrations are very costly and difficult to maintain and adding new technologies, whether software or hardware, is not always possible. In many instances, you’re either forced to accept these limitations or replace the entire system.
A unified security platform removes these limitations because core systems have been designed to work together and compatibility is always maintained. There are also over 900 integrations and third-party add-ons to be choose from. Since applications are embedded in a single platform with one intuitive interface, operations, upgrades, and maintenance are streamlined.
Even hardware and software configurations happen in one central place within a platform so it will always be a smooth experience. All data feed into the same user-friendly interface, ensuring operators can view alarms and access other information in a few mouse clicks.
Why are centralized and normalized data a big deal?
When data is centralized, operators can work more efficiently. For example, reporting can be standardized and consolidated in daily, weekly, or monthly reports. This gives a high-level vision of what’s happening, so there is no need to search through different systems or sensors to find the information needed.
Even during a live incident, data flows freely between systems, giving operators the full picture. This speeds up response and ensures things can get back to normal faster. Within the unified platform, response protocols and other security-related workflows can be automated, which minimizes operator overload and increases productivity.
How does this differ from an integrated system? Limited interoperability affects the ability to access and understand security data. Operators will have to jump around between systems to get the information needed to make effective decisions and remain compliant. Ultimately, this slows them down, amps up their stress levels, and weakens security efforts.
Unification – much more than just security
Another big difference between unified and integrated security is the ability to use investments and expand operations beyond security.
The security data collected can provide incredible insights into operations or even streamline processes outside the security department. But integrated systems have inherent limitations that hold back from adding new technologies or implementing new applications. Without the right levels of system interoperability and data consolidation, security investments might not be maximized for new corporate objectives.
On the other hand, a unified system blends an entire technology stack, not just security, in one place, allowing to improve business operations. Harnessing the power of centralized data makes it possible to transform raw information into invaluable business intelligence across a multitude of departments. This helps to identify new business opportunities, share security upgrade costs with other business entities, and get more value from investments over time.