Adam Groom

How to get started with data: A step-by-step guide for the physical security practitioner

Aug 7, 2023

Data is a powerful tool that can transform the landscape of physical security, enabling informed decisions and enhanced operational efficiency. However, diving into the world of data projects can be daunting. This step-by-step guide is tailored for physical security practitioners, helping them navigate the process of harnessing data effectively and efficiently.

Step 1: Start Small and Create a Proof of Value

A data project can be overwhelming, but starting small minimizes the investment and establishes a foundation for future projects. Begin by identifying a specific challenge or opportunity within your physical security infrastructure that data could address.

Example Objective: Improve the accuracy of door force open and door held open alarms to manage risk and reduce costs.

Step 2: Let Business Objectives Drive Your Data Project

Link your data project to a pertinent business objective or question. In this case, the question is, "What can we do to manage risk and cost by improving the accuracy of door force open and door held open alarms?"

Step 3: Identify Potential Data Sources

To answer your question, identify the potential data sources that hold valuable information. In this scenario, relevant systems include Physical Access Control Systems and Service Management Systems.

Step 4: Select Technology for Data Aggregation and Preparation

Modern cloud technologies like Data Warehouses, Data Lakes, or Business Intelligence tools (e.g., Domo, Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery) are essential for centralizing and aggregating data, preparing it for analysis and visualization.

Step 5: Determine Your Data Extraction, Transformation, and Loading (ETL) Method

Choose an appropriate ETL method, such as custom data pipelines, direct integrations, or all-in-one Business Intelligence tools, to unify the data into a suitable format for analysis.

Step 6: Model Your Data and Create Relationships

Establish relationships between relevant data sources to help answer your business question. For example, join door force open and door held open data with service ticket data.

Step 7: Build Dashboards Demonstrating the Issue

Construct dashboards that visually represent the identified issue, providing a clear overview for analysis.

Step 8: Identify Actionable Insights

Analyze the data visualizations to derive actionable insights, such as planning door audits based on alarm increase or optimizing resource allocation based on device repair time.

Step 9: Enhance Dashboards to Show Before and After Data

Improve the original dashboards to showcase the transformation and improvements made, emphasizing the impact of changes.

Step 10: Apply Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning

Apply machine learning models and advanced analytics to the data sets for predictive and prescriptive insights as your data evolves, enhancing the efficiency of your physical security systems.

By following these steps, you'll be able to progressively harness the potential of data, making significant strides in optimizing physical security and bolstering risk management while minimizing costs. Start small, stay focused on your business objectives, and let data drive your decisions. The power of data awaits your exploration and application in the realm of physical security.

Increase efficiency, optimize process, add value

StratorSoft's objectives are twofold. First, it seeks to increase the efficiency of physical security operations by easily identifying areas that can be optimized and streamlining work processes. This allows teams to work smarter without having to dig deep or use guesswork to find areas of improvement. Second, provide these teams with tools and insights to clearly illustrate their tangible value to the broader organization.