The need to protect employees, client information and corporate reputation is a main driver pushing companies to establish global security programs. “We have found that users who want to implement global security policies tend to be internationally recognized brands that have their reputation to protect. Security breaches, irrespective of where they take place, can have a huge impact on the value of a brand. From customer retention, to investor relations to fines from nonconformance to regulations, the need to safeguard against breaches is higher than at any time in history,” said Adlan Hussain, VP Marketing of CNL Software
Sean Ahrens, Security Consulting Services Practice Leader at AON Global Risk Consulting cites ROI as the main driver for global security programs. “A global security program should generate ROI. Global systems make sense because when you are efficient, you eliminate waste and redundant systems which allow you to achieve efficiencies, typically in time and staff/manpower,” he explained.
Standardizing and Centralizing Systems
A clear example of the efficiencies an organization can achieve is through standardizing and centralizing systems, making sure that all locations use compatible systems, which limits the requirements for many people to support many separate systems. “I would say the trend that we see now, mostly with our multinational corporation (MNC) clients, is more and more to centralize and standardize the security systems they use. The main reason is achieving easier management through a command center that can monitor locations, save manpower and initiate escalation procedures based on alarm levels,” explained Aimee Zhang, Sales Director for APAC at ICD Security Solutions. “There are of course still guards in each location, but the command center can quickly identify and manage situations. When there are several locations, we usually also set up a regional command center and not just a global one to monitor the different sites,” she added.
Integrating Existing Systems Vs. Installing New Systems
The need to integrate many separate systems across locations builds a strong case for a physical security information management (PSIM) that can integrate existing legacy systems, give the organization the needed control of its operations, and balance between the global and regional command and control centers.
“Utilizing the same technology and brands across all markets is always the ideal choice and will provide the most flexibility and functionally globally,” said Daryl Haga, Director for Global Center of Excellence at Tyco International
. “However, in today’s world of mergers and acquisitions, it very difficult to achieve, so PSIM systems are usually included in global security roadmaps. It’s important to choose an integrator to partner with that has PSIM capabilities, as well as professional services teams with the language skills necessary to ensure the technology functions at its full capacity with the software and server being managed daily,” he explained.
Jimmy Palatsoukas, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Genetec
recommends choosing an open architecture and unified security system. “Having the flexibility to reuse existing equipment, deploy new hardware incorporating the latest technological advancements as they become available, and unify video and access control security to other business and security systems is a more efficient, cost-effective, and future-proof strategy” said Palatsoukas.
Communication is Key
Corporate policies may be the same globally, but the environment in which companies operate is different. Security threats and regulations are different between locales and require adoption of the global policy.
Coordinating and implementing a security project across countries is no easy feat. Apart from the technological challenges there are also cross-cultural communication challenges. “The biggest challenge in these projects is consistence,” stated Zhang. “From the end-user point of view, they have standard implementation requirements and systems, but how can they ensure that the implementation in the field is the same?” That is one of the benefits we can bring to our clients: A consistent level of service in design, documentation, implementation, and service,” she added.
To ensure the successful implementation of these projects, Zhang also recommends the MNCs appoint one system integrator to minimize the risks of wrong communication. “I think that internal communication within the systems integrators is the key to avoid these problems, if you lack communication, the project will not happen. To avoid this, using one centralized partner helps a lot since there is no need to duplicate communications with different integrators but instead to centralize and choose one security provider globally,” she explained.
Is Convergence the Future?
The future will not only see a unified security solution across different locations but also a converged solution that will answer both physical and logical security. The business world changes constantly, mobility of talent and goods around the world is now greater than ever and new technologies and business models are emerging daily. Next generations of security systems will have to face bigger challenges of allowing unhindered business operations while securing company’s physical and intellectual assets.