Real-time monitoring is a critical part of your overall security strategy, or at least it should be. As physical security footprints expand and increasingly integrate a host of technologies including video, access control, intrusion and environmental monitoring, professional, automated monitoring keeps tabs on these connections for better situational awareness and alarm response.
It’s not easy to master all these interconnections, but it’s definitely necessary as we move into the internet of things with billions of connected devices predicted in the coming years. Couple that with the movement for security to encompass IT and cybersecurity—convergence of physical security and digital assets—and the challenges mount, especially when it comes to proactive monitoring practices.
Some of the most common issues include how to deploy and leverage cloud technology; integrating legacy systems with innovative technologies; security centralization (or a lack of it); and automation/alarm management.
Each of these challenges represents an opportunity for your organization to strengthen security monitoring with the right strategies. Here are four challenges to real-time security monitoring and steps to mitigate them.
Your System Isn’t Cloud Based
On-premises monitoring presents numerous, ongoing issues to users. You know the drill: operator fatigue; inability to watch video feeds 24/7; no one for immediate response, etc. Onsite server systems also need attention that may require IT or a dedicated person to manage, administer and conduct regular updates and other cybersecurity checks. An onsite strategy might also impede your ability to scale up your monitoring points because it’s not as flexible and ready to expand like the cloud. More importantly, alerts and other key time-sensitive information may not be available remotely, ultimately delaying response.
The best solution, providing remote access, system flexibility and easy scalability, is cloud-hosted services. When you leverage the cloud, you remove many pain points that could inhibit response—because you also have access and alerts delivered quickly. By leveraging the cloud, you can increase your uptime, assure reliability, scale with ease and monitor remotely for quick assessment and action.
If you’re not yet ready to move entirely to the cloud, you might also consider a planned migration strategy involving a hybrid approach utilizing both onsite and offsite cloud servers. Once you experience the efficiency of hosting, you’ll probably decide to move quickly to the cloud for real-time monitoring.
You Can’t Decommission Legacy Systems
Legacy systems are often a thorn in the side of security professionals, but sometimes need to stay in place. Upgrading legacy systems can be a substantial capital expense that must be planned for and executed as budgeting allows.
Legacy systems may also be vulnerable to increased cybersecurity risk. If a system or software no longer receives regular updates and patches, it could become an entry point and attack vector for a cybersecurity breach.
If you have no choice but to maintain a legacy system, consider integrating it with a newer platform that facilitates real-time monitoring. Available integrations often allow two disparate systems to work together seamlessly and effectively.
For example, a software receiver can convert communications via SMS, email, ODBC database, FTP, TCP, GPRS, RSS, UDP and simple files into signals delivered into automation platforms. In addition, an integrated security system that allows multiple receivers and components of various systems to work together extends the lifespan of your current solutions and helps avoid a costly rip and replace.
There are potential challenges with integration—everything from increased risk exposure to system-specific concerns around the legacy system itself. You’ll need a strategic plan around integration to address these gaps and assistance from a knowledgeable security partner.
Your Monitoring Services Aren’t Centralized
Distributed monitoring that isn’t centralized is another challenge that can make it difficult to achieve real-time monitoring. It impedes your ability to manage endpoints and makes them unwieldy by design. Remote work has only magnified the fact that distributed monitoring isn’t efficient or effective.
Siloed system monitoring, similar to siloed departments like physical security and IT, is full of blind spots. You don’t have clear visibility or a consistent, uniform process to track incidents, exceptions and alerts. Without a consolidated strategy, you may miss important notifications simply because the systems aren’t connected – and that means precious lost time and manpower devoted to investigations after an incident.
Centralized monitoring is the way to overcome these potential pitfalls.
When you centralize, you bring everything together in one hub. You have security controls and functions within a single platform and one interface to control it all from wherever you are. With it comes the ability to monitor in real-time across all facility assets.
To achieve centralization, you may need new technology. To determine the right fit, you’ll need to address the following:
- How will the proposed solution help you achieve your goals for real-time monitoring?
- What is your infrastructure and how will you connect systems in the most secure way?
- What are your infrastructure specifics and limitations?
- Will customization be available to align with and target your specific needs?
Once you have those answers, you can assess your options and select the right software partner.
You Aren’t Using Automation
If your security monitoring is all-manual, it requires human intervention, a labor intensive and error-prone process. That also makes scaling your solution up extremely difficult.
Manual processes simply aren’t sustainable or effective any longer as we continue down the road of the digital transformation. Automation is the answer, but you can’t just pick a technology and go.
You’ll need the proper infrastructure and migration strategy to fully harness the power of automation. Incomplete or broken automation processes will leave you with security gaps just as quickly as manual processes. You’ll need to ensure any automation you put into place takes all elements of your overall security strategy into account.
With the right automation tool, real-time monitoring can become seamless, efficient and highly effective.
Security monitoring is quickly evolving and incorporating more devices, endpoints and services. With it comes elevated risk for the user, which demands a real-time, centralized monitoring solution.
If there are gaps in your security strategy—functionalities that don’t incorporate real-time monitoring—it’s time to assess and address them. Real-time monitoring provides a path to mitigate risk and enhance situational awareness around your facility for greater management, control and security.