Certainly there is a good deal of buzz about big data in the physical security industry. Larger enterprises are spending significant time and money on big data initiatives to extract knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital data. But what is the quickest way to tap the power of your security data as it exists today? How does an enterprise address the ever-growing terabytes and petabytes of structured and unstructured data that exists under our nose? And translate it into actionable data, that informs critical decisions like allocating security team resources or mitigating threats?
How do you cut big data down to a manageable size – and get results in the physical security industry?
Without investing in big data platforms to analyze unstructured data (and don’t get me wrong — this is definitely a value down the road), there is plenty of structured data that is produced after most enterprise security systems are installed — with users drowning in data, but lacking true insights. This can be the result of many issues – manpower, the gap between IT and domain expertise, or purely a function of timeliness. So the immediate challenge becomes how to address your current, multiple data sets and maximize their value today.
The first place to start in leveraging this data is properly selecting a systems integrator. Today’s integrator must possess a higher acumen in overall data management — from initial business process mapping, hybrid data modeling and data analysis skill sets, through data visualization, business transformation and on-going storage and maintenance. From Day One, your integration partner needs to be able to thread the impact of data throughout your operations, mapping points of integration to provide connectivity between multiple sets of data. They must bring a business consultant perspective and be able to ask the right, discrete questions your business needs to answer and the actions you want those answers to enable.
A data-conscious integrator should guide you through the various types of data that your technology systems collect, additional available data sets, and their future value. Your integration partner must have the quantitative skills to conduct proper data analysis, but also to convey results in a understandable, visual way such that a non-IT ops person can understand it, make quick decisions and quickly execute upon it. The right integrator should understand that as more structured and unstructured data is created, new data storage models must be considered to alleviate pressures on your current storage limitations. A data-intelligent integrator should assist your organization in taking advantage of the low risks and costs of such promising new data handling technologies.
The drive to unleash an organization’s data starts the day that you select your integration partner for your next enterprise system roll-out — whether it be video management, access controls or identity management. A new system roll-out or legacy system upgrade is an excellent opportunity to kick-off your own data initiative. And the gamut of electronic security systems most likely already installed across your enterprise has the potential to produce rich insight and fuel critical decision making. Be sure to expect this higher skill set from your security systems integrator, so your valuable data delivers insights that the front line can actually use.