Replacing Security Personnel with Technology? Not So Fast
Boots on the ground. Eyes in the sky.
As cameras, access controls and other security technology become more and more sophisticated, some companies wonder whether technology can replace personnel.
“We’ll upgrade our cameras, add a few to make sure the entire building is covered, then cut back on security personnel,” the thinking goes. “The payroll savings will pay for the additional technology in two years.”
But technology has its limits, and security vs. cost savings isn’t always a good trade-off.
What Technology Does Well
Cameras and security systems are getting smarter and more analytical. Backed by a command center with highly trained, skilled personnel (often former military), some aspects of security can now be accomplished with fewer people.
Well-trained experts can analyze camera feeds and other information and produce results quickly. Review the last 72 hours of parking lot activity to spot a suspicious vehicle? Note patterns that suggest employee theft or supply chain disruptions? Those are things that technology, backed by experts, does well in ways that human beings alone cannot. (Would several security officers, each working a different shift, be likely to collaborate and deduce that the same red Chevrolet has circled the parking lot several times but never parked? Not likely.)
The Downsides of Technology
Cameras, recorders and other security technology alone won’t spot suspicious patterns or activity. That analysis requires human intervention by highly skilled professionals. Former military personnel are good choices because they tend to have both the technical skills and the discipline. But training, especially training specific to a certain site or campus, takes time, and a good command center is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking.
There are two things that technology alone doesn’t do as well as security personnel.
- Emergency response. Response time is critical, and the greater the threat or emergency, the more important that becomes. If the closest personnel are several buildings away on a large campus, critical minutes will be lost.
- Public relations. Employees, clients and visitors feel safer and more reassured when they see professional security personnel. Reduce the number of officers, and employees often feel less safe. For visitors, first impressions are critical: polite, service-oriented security officers make an important statement about your facility.
Security technology can extend and enhance the security of any facility, whether it’s as simple as electronic locks that require key cards or a sophisticated network of cameras, motion detectors and a command center.
But technology alone, or security personnel alone, can’t provide as much protection and threat mitigation as the two together.
About Sunstates Security Command Centers
Sunstates Security manages command centers for clients across the country, ranging from single-campus systems to global operations. With thousands of hours of experience, Sunstates can provide an in-depth analysis of facilities and security operations to seamlessly integrate technology and personnel.
The following tips are often overlooked when establishing a command center:
- Provide redundant hardware and systems (including power) to mitigate downtime from equipment failure.
- Location is critical; choose a central, secure site separate from regular operations.
- Employ “clean sheet” technology designed around the organization’s unique needs, and avoid proprietary hardware and software for greater flexibility.
- Staff centers with highly trained, competitively compensated personnel to manage data and identify potential hazards before they become incidents.
For information on how Sunstates Security can use technology and personnel to provide greater security, or for an evaluation of your existing security systems and strategies, please call 866-710-2019 or email us.