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Automate to Operate Efficiently: Empowering operational teams with automation to manage physical security at scale

Today’s physical security device ecosystem contains a wide array of devices from different manufacturers and spread across multiple buildings and geographical locations. An enterprise may have hundreds or thousands – or tens of thousands – of devices securing its facilities, such as surveillance cameras, access control panels, and alarm systems. This scale makes device management a time-consuming and resource-heavy task for operational teams, with almost no possibility of taking a proactive approach to ad-hoc situations that often arise. This short guide explains how the only way to effectively manage physical security at scale is through the power of automation.

Elements of physical security device management

Once the physical security devices are installed, the operational teams are fully responsible for managing these devices, often on a manual device-by-device basis. The team must monitor and control the device status and health of each and every unit. This includes regular password rotations, firmware updates, security certificate management, and the ability to remotely restart devices when misconfiguration issues occur over time.  

When an issue does occur, the operational team must collaborate with others for troubleshooting and break-fix activities. For example, the team will have to accurately diagnose the problem with a non-operational camera in order to effectively brief a technician being dispatched to a remote location to fix it.

Another element of physical security device management is future planning. Every device’s life will eventually end, and operational teams are responsible for keeping on top of thousands of devices’ end-of-life activities, including purchasing replacements when necessary.

The challenge of device management at scale 

The sheer volume of manual work can overwhelm even the hardiest operational team. While being proactive about physical security device management is the key to success, in reality, most teams operate on a reactive basis simply because of the scale involved. That means that issues with firmware or expired certificates will only be fixed after the device has malfunctioned or taken offline. Operational teams will be aware of a down device but have no way to quickly diagnose –or fix — the issue without a costly truck roll. 

The challenge goes beyond a few offline devices. Any device downtime can be devastating to an organization. Security incidents can occur without captured footage, unauthorized access can be granted, and unmanaged devices can open the door to cyber breaches — all of which can cause endless reputational and liability-related damage to an organization.

The added complexity of multi-site deployments

While physical security device management at one site can present significant challenges for organizations, having devices spread across multiple sites adds another level of complexity to those challenges. Aside from managing devices of various models and manufacturers, a multi-site distribution of physical security devices often means having a range of staff, protocols, and even requirements. Physical security teams must coordinate with IT operations, infrastructure and network staff, security operations center (SOC) professionals, and cybersecurity teams. In addition, there is often no alignment between the sites, making real-time visibility into device status impossible.

Added value from automation 

As reliance on manual processes becomes less and less feasible, companies have been turning to automation to complement their physical security teams by centralizing and automating the operational management of physical security devices. Automation offers:

Data availability: Centralization and automation of device management give operational teams the advantage of knowing the availability or failure status of their fleet of devices.

Analytics and insights: Efficiently combating threats and challenges require intelligent applications that can rapidly sift through the volumes of unstructured data and deliver actionable insights to the physical security teams. It’s not enough to know that a camera feed is down; security teams must quickly know exactly which sensor has an issue and its root cause.

Policy setting tools: Using automated tools to enforce your organization’s security policies across the entire fleet of physical security devices makes safeguarding your data simpler to manage.

Automation of operational tasks at scale: Tasks that are currently done manually per device, such as password rotations, firmware upgrades, and certificate management, can be automated. Automating manual tasks and managing tasks from a centralized platform has been proven to cut costs and put an end to the cumbersome and error-prone activities inherent in manual processes.  

Collaboration with third-party software: Clear visibility into the device ecosystem and co-dependencies eliminates any back and forth between teams and shortens time and costs involved in resolving issues or outages. 

Benefits of automated solution

  • Improved system availability – Maximizing availability with real-time data across all sites and devices. Automating the maintenance of physical security devices enables continuous consolidated monitoring of the devices’ health status and compliance and manages operational issues as they arise.

  • Dramatic cost savings – Reduction of nearly all manual work on physical security devices, resulting in reduced on-site visits and other expenses related to managing physical security devices. Security professionals can rapidly and efficiently discover, diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve any problems posed by the devices. Root cause analyses of issues identified are consolidated to a single alert.

  • More reliable compliance – Full organizational compliance supported by the implementation of internal policies, delivered by automated operations, and monitored through reporting and alerts.

  • Protection from cyber threats – Preventing security vulnerabilities from compromising any physical security device by automating crucial maintenance operations, such as rotating a password or upgrading firmware. Leverage predictive maintenance and advanced analytical capabilities to detect anomalies or abnormal behaviors.
  • Visibility for future planning – Monitoring the operational health of physical security devices enables an organization to be ready for any expected or unexpected issues. Automation provides knowledge of the end of life of a device and allows an organization to plan and prioritize maintenance and purchasing activities.

Find out how your organization can reap the benefits of automated physical security device management – download the SecuriThings Enterprise solution brochure.

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