Whether you need data to report on security issues like site incidents or severity levels, or operational data like staffing numbers, schedules, or overtime hours, it is crucial to implement the right software to help you collect, analyze, and report on data in order to make the kind of data-driven decisions that will drive your business forward.

Consider a software platform that exploits Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to help you achieve valuable insights, provide operational intelligence, which will enable you to investigate, monitor, analyze situations and then react and respond.

In the past, while it may have been acceptable to make security decisions based on gut instinct, to stay current in “the year of data,” it’s important to invest in tools and technology to use that data effectively, or you’ll be struggling with a wealth of information that you cannot understand or act upon. It’s not enough to simply respond to alarms or prevent incidents, you need to understand how data collection contains information that can help digitally transform processes, drive change, and increase productivity.

The sheer volume of available data means you need to strategically choose what you want to use and what you should measure in order to gain meaningful insights from your data.

The Collection Phase

Even before you know what form data will be delivered in and what it should look like, you need to know what data to collect and what you need it for. Collecting the right data is as crucial as asking the right questions. Not only will it improve your security posture, but it will also help you make more effective decisions. Think about what you need to track and why. Today’s smart security technology can collect data from people, smartphones, devices, sensors, cameras, NFC tokens, and other relevant sources. Security service companies can suffer from having too much data on their hands.

What comes next is analysis paralysis – they are not able to turn this valuable information into actionable insights. This is not a phenomenon unique to the security industry. While the amount of data collected doubles every 2 years, only about 0.5% of this data is analyzed. Preventing data inundation comes down to setting yourself up for success before collecting your data. If you collect data with the right intentions, use a solution that takes advantage of the latest technological advances in AI and ML, you’ll be able to quickly streamline the process with analytics-driven insights.

The Collection phase is the foundation of your data strategy. Without finding a way to effectively collect data, you’ll spend more time trying to build useful reports than analyzing data. Without properly identifying what data is important to collect, your data collection will not be optimized in order to create useful reports.

The Analysis Phase

After collecting the data, another challenge is how to use the data. You need to read through it to extract meaningful insights and create analytical reports that will lead you to make data-driven business decisions. By taking the time to thoroughly dissect data, you can discover critical areas that may need improvement.

Using software armed with data collection and analysis tools, you may choose to sort through data by segments. This may be through a particular time frame – how many incidents have occurred in the last week, month, or year? Knowing this information can enable you to pinpoint the causes for certain incidents and allocate resources accordingly.

In other cases, it may be useful to sort data by location in order to determine hot spots, blind spots, and dead zones for incidents. Having access to these numbers will help you gain valuable insights and spot trends. You’ll be able to see what is happening in real-time and to accumulate historical data that can be used to make better judgments in the future.

When it comes to prioritizing investment, knowing which incidents are the most expensive in terms of time and resources can help you know where to look for additional technological support or tactics that reduce costs.

The Reporting Phase

Without real-time insight into your operations, it’s difficult to manage and adapt to last-minute changes, maintain SLA compliance, accurately reduce overtime spending or measure KPIs. Without accurate reporting, you’ll be unable to spot trends and get ahead of potential risks before they develop into problems. The goal of the data you have collected and analyzed is that you can now tweak and adjust to generate useful reports, making real world use of the insights you’ve gleaned. You may now be aware of high-risk areas, for example, so you can send more team members to deal with potential incidents seamlessly. Diving deeper into your reports may expose pain points experienced by your team which will help you determine where your team needs more support.

Security service companies need the ability to make business-based decisions backed by metrics. Measuring the right things at the right time and analyzing the data with the right technology platform—these are the keys to generating a return on your security software investment.

There is always pressure to justify budgets or to align security objectives with corporate objectives. The security industry is simultaneously undergoing extensive change, from guns, gates, and guards to convergence and ESRM. Often forgotten and perceived as the weakest link of a security program, frontline security can now deliver what has never been expected. Site incident data is important, but it goes far beyond that. It’s also important to efficiently track security service company operating data – such as first-time fix rates, attendance numbers, compliance to service level agreements, and operations such as overtime and staffing numbers.

A security service company that has the power to measure the performance of their staff, and to do so in a transparent manner, will be one that offers a first-class, contemporary service. Being able to use that data to constantly improve your service will qualify your team as a leader in the industry or the corporation. Those that recognize the power of data will be able to remain competitive in today’s crowded market.