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Your Security Program is Scaling, but is your Technology Ready?

By Northland Controls, Jul 05, 2023

As your organization grows and expands, so does the need for robust and scalable physical security systems.

Access control and video management systems play a crucial role in safeguarding your assets, protecting personnel, and maintaining overall security but are they prepared for the potential uptick in users and information associated with an expansion? Scaling these systems requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure they remain effective and efficient, regardless of how large or fast they grow.

While there are many key considerations when scaling your security program, your security systems should be prepared for the increased and diversified demands of your program. Let’s explore key features that should be addressed when scaling your program.

Data Synchronization and Automation:
As your physical security system grows, managing and synchronizing data across multiple systems can become more challenging. Large enterprise or disparate systems may require third party integrations to synchronize data between multiple non-enterprise systems. Implementing data synchronization mechanisms enables seamless data flow between different systems, ensuring that critical information is up-to-date and accessible across the organization. This synchronization minimizes discrepancies, enhances system reliability, and optimizes security operations.

Automating this process takes it one step further by eliminating the need for human input for more regular or mundane tasks. An HRM integration is a great example of how data synchronization and automation can benefit a security program. Via data integration, information such as name, email, position, and even access level can be automatically updated and provisioned within the access control system to reduce human error, alleviate administrative burden, and ensure accuracy of data. By introducing these concepts into your program, you will be better equipped to handle the growth of your program and the impact they will have on your systems.

System Standards Documentation:
Maintaining a clear and organized system structure becomes increasingly crucial as your security program expands. These documents, which can include naming conventions, programming and hardware standards, network firewalls, system hardening standards, and topology documentation, can provide a clear guide for the growth of your program.

Implementing proper segmentation and naming conventions, for example, allows for efficient management and ease of use for both security personnel and end-users. Each component, whether it's a piece of hardware, an access level, or a user privilege, should be appropriately labeled and associated with a specific location or group. This contextual information empowers guards and end-users to quickly identify relevant details, streamlining their decision-making processes and improving overall system usability.

When scaling your program, unity and consistency will provide a strong foundation to work from. One discrepancy in the beginning stages can have a ripple effect down the line. So, whether it’s pulling data from a single source of truth or installing a new system to the same standards as your other technology, prioritizing the creation of these documents will help to keep everyone on the same page.

Redundant Costs:
Scaling your physical security program may introduce the need for additional licenses, integrations, or features across various systems and regions. It is essential to evaluate the necessity of these additions carefully. While some costs may be necessary evils, others might be avoidable. Take a strategic approach to determine which integrations or features are truly required across all sites and which ones can be limited to specific locations. By reducing redundant costs, you can optimize your budget while maintaining an effective security infrastructure.

Test Environments:
As the scale of your physical security system increases, so does the potential risk that is associated with implementing changes or updates. It becomes imperative to establish a test or development environment that closely mimics the production environment. This test environment allows you to validate potential changes, patches, or updates before deploying them to the live system. By simulating real-world scenarios, you can minimize downtime, mitigate risks, and ensure that any modifications to the system operate as intended. Test environments provide a safety net for testing and optimizing changes without impacting the security and functionality of the live environment.

Scalable Infrastructure:
When scaling your physical security program, it is vital to consider the scalability of your infrastructure. Ensure that the hardware and software components can accommodate the increasing demands without compromising performance. Assess the capacity of your access control and video management systems to handle additional devices, users, and data as your organization expands. Investing in a scalable infrastructure ensures that your security system can grow alongside your organization, providing reliable protection and adaptability for the future.

Cybersecurity Measures:
With the expansion of your physical security systems, the importance of cybersecurity also grows significantly. Protecting your system from potential threats and unauthorized access becomes paramount. Implement robust cybersecurity measures such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, system hardening, and regular security audits. Strengthening your security posture ensures the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive data, reduces the risk of breaches, and safeguards your organization's assets.

Training and Documentation:
As your physical security system scales, it is crucial to provide adequate training and documentation to all stakeholders. Ensure that security personnel, end-users, and administrators receive comprehensive training on system operation, emergency protocols, and best practices. Much like system standards, documenting system configurations, procedures, and user guidelines can facilitate knowledge transfer and support efficient troubleshooting. Empowering your team with the necessary skills and resources enhances system adoption, promotes consistent practices, and maximizes the effectiveness of your physical security program.

Scaling your physical security program is a complex endeavor that requires careful planning and consideration of various factors – especially when it comes to your systems. By addressing key considerations early on, you can ensure the seamless expansion of your security systems and lay the foundation for a robust and efficient program that can better adapt to the evolving needs of your organization.

Need help scaling your physical security program? Let Northland’s team of security experts help by contacting today.