Navigating the Growing Threat Landscape

03 October 2017
To say that security operations in the modern era are important is an understatement. It has become unfortunately common to wake up in the morning, open the newspaper, and read about yet another incident that has occurred in a shopping mall, at a transport hub, or on a university campus across the country.

Nowadays, protests quickly turn violent and terror attacks are becoming more frequent

The world is becoming increasingly complex. There are more threats. And all these can negatively impact public safety, the environment, property assets, and an establishment’s reputation in ways that are difficult (and often impossible) to recover from. 

Even something as comparatively straightforward as vandalism is becoming an increasing concern in the modern era. According to one study conducted by the US Small Business Administration, a single instance of vandalism in a professional environment will cost a business an average of $3,370. This takes into account not only the cost to repair and replace whatever incident took place, but also business interruption, potential lost sales, and more — all of which are costs that are usually passed on to consumers, something that can cost an organisation dearly in terms of reputation as well.

With a growing threat landscape such as the aforementioned, it’s easy to see why a new approach to deter, detect, respond, and reduce consequences is needed. If you want to operate safely and securely at all times, there are a few key things you’ll need to keep in mind. 

Staying Protected Means Staying Proactive

The most important thing to understand about navigating the growing threat landscape is that a reactive approach — waiting for an undesirable event to occur, waiting for verbal or public phone calls to notify operational centres that it has occurred, and then trying to figure out what happened after the incident — is no longer good enough to get the job done.

Waiting until something has happened before you analyse the situation and take steps to prevent it from happening again isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but the damage you were worried about has already occurred.

The modern landscape requires a proactive security approach, one that allows you to identify and respond immediately to small problems in real-time before they have a chance to become much larger, more costly, and more dangerous down the road.

Luckily, there are many state-of-the-art surveillance solutions built with proactive security in mind. AI-assisted video monitoring technologies exist, and they bring together the best in terms of computer vision, machine learning, and more. They provide superior visibility into even the largest of environments, letting you focus on the situation as it stands and what it can potentially become.

With computer vision and machine learning, an AI-assisted video monitoring software can automatically learn what is ‘normal’ in a video camera scene. This can also be customised to take into account variables, like a retail store versus a sports arena, or a shopping mall versus a university campus. If anything not normal is detected, human personnel can then be alerted immediately to respond to any undesirable event as quickly as possible.

Maybe what you’re being alerted to isn’t a problem at all. But if it is, you’ve entered into a situation where every second counts. This is why proactive, preventative security is so important. Not only is it typically well worth the initial investment, it also saves a great deal of money in the long run concerning public safety and damage to the environment, property, or your brand’s reputation.

Communication Is King

Another great way to navigate the growing threat landscape is to prioritise communication wherever possible. You need to make it easier for your team members to communicate with one another, not harder — if that requires an investment in state-of-the-art tools like VoIP and other telecom services to bring people together, so be it.

Never, ever forget that your opponents now have access to more resources than ever before, thanks to the break-neck pace at which technology continues to advance. You need to do whatever you can to stay ahead. And creating an environment where enhanced situational awareness and communication are no longer recommendations but requirements are ways to do just that.

You should also work hard to keep a strong line of communication open with security professionals in other countries, allowing you all to learn from each other’s experiences. While you may technically be competitors, when it comes to the ultimate goal of safety, we’re all in this together.

Knowledge Is Power

Finally, when attempting to safely navigate fluid and dangerous situations, it is imperative to understand that you need to make an active effort to learn as much as you can while you have the opportunity. Try to stay well educated on all the latest events, particularly ones that affect sites like yours.

One of the best ways to improve campus security, for example, is to read up on other incidents that have affected other campuses across the country and learn as much as you can about how these situations developed, how they escalated, and how they were handled.

You should also invest in thorough and ongoing training for all your staff members, making it a priority to always discuss and examine trends, patterns, and other factors that may ultimately affect you down the road. Human error is something you’ll never be able to eliminate totally, especially in large environments; but by keeping your staff well trained and educated, you can mitigate risk as much as possible.

Incident response security is and will always be important, but in the context of the growing threat landscape, it is no longer enough to keep sites safe and secure at all times. Only a focus on threat prevention can afford you, your employees, your customers, and your company that most precious of luxuries. It’s an unfortunate situation to be in, but luckily, with the right approach of staying well educated on the latest events, keeping a strong communication network open at all times, and investing in preventative security technology, you’re in an excellent position moving forward.


See how Curtin University enhanced the effectiveness of their video surveillance