Implementing Service Assurance to Improve Operations

There’s a popular business quote that goes something like, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” But when it comes to physical security it’s not so easy – because the most meaningful measure is in what does not happen. How many intruders were discouraged and denied? How many secrets and goods were not stolen? And how many damaging data breaches didn’t happen?  In demonstrating the value of a physical security team, can we get to a point where these values could be measured, tracked, and have rewards based on it?  While for now that may be wishful thinking, maybe we’re a lot closer than you might think. The growth of metrics, analytics, and machine learning in physical security is heading us in that direction.

Security managers and other security system end users have become much more IT and data savvy in recent years, possibly because of the increasing number of cyber-threats and a marked increase in the use of analytics. In this data-driven context, it is possible to make use of the increasing available data to track and assess an increasing range of operational factors that will get closer to understanding the real impact of security measures. And, it makes good sense to leverage a data-driven approach to maintaining physical security up-time, which itself is a critical measure that helps to understand the overall security posture of an enterprise. There is a strong argument that supports the idea that measuring operational performance factors such as uptime can be efficiently achieved using automated service assurance systems to directly support this objective.

In other blog posts, we have discussed the idea that physical security systems without service assurance can be dangerous. At best, such system may give users a false sense of security; at worst, lives could be at risk. Automated service assurance and automated verification of physical security system performance can minimize downtime dramatically, while also enabling detection of cyber threats and simplifying compliance reporting.

But implementing automated verification can provide benefits beyond just service assurance, because the use of such as system brings a formal, even scientific, method to measuring business operations. By constantly analyzing and verifying the entire video stream path, this automation can identify and alert you to operational issues and point the way to additional improvements.

For example, automated service assurance brings a certain amount of intelligence to early decision making that can avoid costly or inefficient issues or mistakes. For example, if a facility was to have physical security issues at a remote substation, it’s not just the integrator who would have to visit the substation, but a hired certified contractor would need to visit the site too. An automated service assurance solution could help avoid these unnecessary and costly visits.

In another example, service assurance systems can provide information in support of virtual preventive maintenance, particularly at a higher strategic level. For example, service assurance can indicate to users the best time to schedule maintenance of a system using data. For example, better to clean the lenses of cameras that are known to be dirty rather than clean all of them because you can’t tell which ones are dirty – saving both time and human resources. In a broader sense, operational data can be a pointer to address risk and compliance issues within business operations, such as the health and operation of the POS system and similar tasks.

While there are certainly limitations to the traditional quote, an updated converse version may be more applicable here: “if you get the right data about it, you can manage it.” Or in the case of business operations, you can improve it!As our industry continues to build in more automation, analytics, and metrics, we are heading towards far lower risk and more effective prevention of threats. For more information about how service assurance can help you improve your business operations, contact Viakoo – we are ready to help!

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