Tag Archives: HR

‘Security Integration moves beyond PSIM’ (by John Davies, md, TDSi)

In a guest blog for Risk UK’s readers, John Davies reviews developments that have been taking place beyond the initial hype around Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) and how the integration of physical and information security is now offering benefits in the real world.

A few years ago, PSIM – the acronym for Physical Security Information Management – became a popular ‘buzzphrase’ in both the physical and logical security sectors. In its broadest sense, the term sought to describe the increasing unification between IT security and physical security systems which really became inevitable given the increased adoption of IP services throughout the business world and, indeed, society as a whole.

In the case of physical security, this phenomenon has revolutionised the approach the industry takes to its products and services. Manufacturers, specifiers and installers have had to adapt and evolve to meet the expectations of the market (and, in many cases, the wider public).

However, the security sector as a whole has moved on and the expectation of an IP connection is now simply a basic necessity rather than a defining characteristic.

Full integration between often complex and crucial systems is now the goal of security operators and providers alike. Paradoxically, while the technology is undoubtedly becoming more and more complex, the overall goal is to provide operators and installers with solutions that are actually simpler to use and install.

John Davies: managing director at TDSi

John Davies: managing director at TDSi

Bringing together all of the elements

PSIM has been highly successful in bringing together physical and logical security systems, but the expectations placed on integration have also grown significantly. The security market now demands more joined-up physical security technology.

Common integration components include:
• Access control (physical locks and doors)
• CCTV systems
• Intruder alarms
• Firefighting systems
• Building services controls (including environmental systems and lifts)
• Centralised business systems (and Schools Information Management Systems)
• HR systems

While physical and logical security were traditionally isolated from one another, so too were many of the individual physical security and management applications. The inability of these various facets to work directly together was a frustration when it was clear that the overall management of a facility could be enhanced and made considerably simpler and more efficient by doing so.

Bringing together the various elements has been made achievable by two improvements: the ability of many security and management systems to be connected to a universal Internet connection and the development of systems and software capable of administering and simplifying the operator’s task of running multiple functions from a single portal.

True security integration has only really been made possible with the advent of systems which are highly compatible with one another (often using shared/agreed standardised protocols) and offer the ability to network these previous disparate elements. The second hurdle has been to understand the popular standards and create software systems able to bring the strands together as a whole.

Continuous surveillance and control of facilities

While security systems are traditionally used to combat intruders and protect against attacks or thefts, some organisations actually face a substantial threat from what’s sometimes termed ‘insider theft’. Modern integrated security systems can be used as an effective deterrent against such threats.

Take the example of a busy warehouse. With items being moved in and out on a rapid basis, it can be easy for a worker to remove items (especially small ones) without necessarily being noticed by colleagues or human security operators. In this example, CCTV surveillance may not be enough to detect a problem in standalone mode. However, in combination with an integrated stocktaking system and monitoring of access to the facility it’s much easier to investigate unaccounted losses and to check video footage for the missing items. Equally, it can be a powerful tool to defend the honesty of staff members where there is suspicion or doubt.

Visual verification: monitoring of staff movements

With a truly integrated combination of security and business/building control systems there are fresh opportunities to use these existing investments. A good example is the administration of facilities management resources. Visual verification from CCTV and security software systems can be used to monitor the movements of authorised staff as well as intruders.

A practical application for this could be the intelligent use of environmental temperature control and lighting. An integrated security system can detect the use of designated areas within a facility and intelligently manage the use of resources – and especially outside normal working hours – to reduce any wastage in unoccupied areas.

Equally, this visual verification technology could be used to monitor human and vehicular traffic around a facility and analyse any congestion or influence planning decisions.

Emergency situations and fires

Integrated systems can also play an important role with regards to the safety of people on site. Fire alarms are far from a new technology, but when used in combination with all the other buildings control systems, the combined solution can play a vital role in safety.

In the event of a fire the alarm will probably be the first system to activate. In a modern integrated system this can alert the security team and, if required, automatically escalate the warning to the emergency services.

Proactively, it can automatically restrict access to dangerous parts of the building and consult HR records or check ID restricted access logs to see who has entered and left the facility. This provides a more accurate account for the emergency services and security teams to assess the situation.

CCTV systems can then be used to assess whether people are trapped within the facility and even to investigate dangerous areas and the spread of the emergency without putting lives at risk.

Time and attendance: shift-based business models

For organisations that run strict time-keeping and shift-based business models, security systems can be used to administer accurate time and attendance recording and secure access control records when staff enter or leave a facility as well as enforce security.

It can also measure when staff visit different parts of the facility (for example the WC or food service areas) to ascertain an accurate record of the actual working patterns.

When linked to CCTV and logical access of IT systems, the HR Department or security system operators can see exactly what’s happening.

Using legacy systems and offering the best ROI

Intelligently installed integrated physical security systems can offer an attractive return on investment. First, they allow the ‘mix and match’ purchase of systems to best suit requirements and budgets. Second, they also permit the use of existing legacy systems and the inclusion of components that are either very specific to their role or, from a financial standpoint, would be problematic to replace.

A good example is the use of CCTV cameras where the best solution may be a healthy mix of modern megapixel cameras are other legacy or specific environment systems. In the past, it would have been harder to use different specifications of camera on the same network but integrated systems are specifically designed to cater for this eventuality.

Integrated systems: greater flexibility than ever before

While PSIM has undoubtedly bridged the gap between physical and logical security, the developments that have taken place since have arguably been more helpful to security operators and installers. The connection of physical security to IP-based systems was a vital development in the security industry as a whole, but the synergy between physical systems is bringing the evolution of truly self-aware solutions even closer.

Traditionally, organisations and installers dealt with a complete solution which was mutually exclusive to other solutions and offered little in the way of upgrades and evolution options. Making any changes required serious contemplation and often involved large budgetary commitments that were usually untenable.

The combination of physical security and IP systems has also radically altered the installer market. Installation specialists increasingly have to understand both IT and physical security disciplines in order to offer the best solutions for their clients. The trade-off is that, as an industry, the security sector is able to grow and offer exactly the solutions that customers require.

Those customers now have greater control over their investments and a greater confidence that it’s a wise investment in a wider economic landscape that will help achieve sustained growth.

John Davies is managing director at security solutions specialist TDSi

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Two-thirds of UK companies fail to check employee references ahead of start dates

According to new research conducted by HireRight – the leading global due diligence organisation – most UK companies are failing to check references before new employees start in their roles and are struggling to respond to other companies’ reference requests.

The Point of Reference research suggests that two-thirds (66%) of new employees begin work before their reference checks are complete. Two-in-five (39%) of Human Resources (HR) function leaders believe this is normal practice within their industry.

However, such checks are absolutely vital. The HireRight study reveals that more than half (58%) of successful applications contain errors*. In tandem, one third (36%) of HR leaders admit they need a clearer way of identifying job candidates with malicious intent.

Steve Girdler, managing director (EMEA) at HireRight, explained: “References reveal important details about an individual’s history and help employers ensure they can trust the people they allow to work with their customers, clients and colleagues. By failing to carry out due diligence before people start work, companies risk hiring individuals unable to fulfil the duties of their respective roles, who may commit fraud or theft or even damage customer relationships.”

Steve Girdler: managing director (EMEA) at HireRight

Steve Girdler: managing director (EMEA) at HireRight

Girdler added: “A great deal of damage can be done between the moment an employee starts at a new company and when referencing requests are completed.”

‘Administrative burden’ on HR Departments

HireRight’s Point of Reference research results are based on the perspectives of senior HR leaders in some of the UK’s biggest companies. The results also highlight that reference checking is an administrative burden on many HR Departments at a time when they’re already struggling to find enough hours in the day for important strategic work.

One third (31%) of HR Departments are ‘bogged down’ with responding to queries about references. In a quarter (27%) of cases, employees have complained to their managers about the amount of time they spend working on such requests.

Many HR Departments simply don’t have the spare capacity when one third (34%) of their time is spent on administrative tasks. HR leaders themselves estimate they spend an average of two hours and 12 minutes every day on what might be described as ‘low value’ work.

This latest Point of Reference research is based on detailed interviews with 140 senior HR leaders in both regulated and non-regulated UK companies boasting more than 5,000 employees.

*The inaccuracies figure quoted is based on the analysis of data from candidate due diligence programmes, with this quarter’s findings focused on 121,000 checks of almost 34,000 applications between July and September 2014

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Inspiration in HR Award 2013: Call for Entries

SSR Personnel’s managing director Peter French MBE created the Inspiration in HR Award to recognise the excellent work consistently carried out by Human Resources professionals (most notably in the security world).

The awards scheme – which is run in association with and supported by http://www.IFSECGlobal.com/UBM Live’s Security and Fire Portfolio – is open to either individuals or organisations deemed to have made a significant, positive and lasting impact in the areas of Human Resources management and corporate performance.

It’s fair to say that service sectors necessarily rely on teams of people operating across a number of environments, from customer-focused settings through to those that require an in-depth knowledge of technology.

For their part, Human Resources professionals play a key role in the selection, training and monitoring of thousands of individuals across these different spheres.

Now in its seventh year, the Inspiration in HR Award provides these professionals with the recognition they so richly deserve.

As always, the winner will be presented with their prize during the Security Excellence Awards ceremony organised by UBM Live’s Security Portfolio. This year, the event takes place at The London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane on Wednesday 23 October.

The Inspiration in HR Award is presented each year at the Security Excellence Awards Ceremony

The Inspiration in HR Award is presented each year at the Security Excellence Awards Ceremony

Entrants for the 2013 initiative will be judged by a panel of experts chaired by Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, media solutions manager across UBM Live’s Security and Fire Portfolio.

Previous winners of the Inspiration in HR Award

Award winners to date have included Gemma Quirke of multiple award-winning security guarding solutions provider Wilson James and the HR teams at both VSG and Advance Security.

Speaking about the 2013 edition of the Inspiration in HR Award, Peter French explained: “We’re in the HR business, and deal with HR professionals all the time. They really are the professionals of the day, and that’s no understatement, but they rarely receive the due recognition they deserve. That’s why we launched the Inspiration in HR Award.”

French continued: “Whether you’re talking about finance, regulatory issues, the Corporate Social Responsibility agenda or talent-matching exercises, HR professionals can and do deliver massive improvements to businesses in terms of process, function and profitability.”

What you need to do to submit an entry

On a single sheet of A4, provide details of:

•the reason for the nomination
•originality of the idea
•impact that the person/organisation has made

The nomination can be supported with marketing materials consisting of no more than two sides of A4.

**Entries should be received by Wednesday 31 July 2013 and submitted either by e-mail to: awards@ssr-personnel.com or posted to Awards, SSR Personnel, FREEPOST, London E17 6BR

About SSR Personnel

Based in London, SSR Personnel (including its Executive Profiles search division) is the largest specialist recruitment consultancy in Europe when it comes to sourcing permanent, interim and temporary personnel specifically for the security, fire, IT and Health and Safety sectors.

SSR is an ISO 9001:2008 accredited company, compliant with rigorous standards of verification and offers competency-based interviewing, psychometric testing and assessment centre interviews.

SSR has always continued to ensure quality service delivery in the most complex of environments.

Continued commitment to Investors in People initiatives has influenced SSR’s work ethic as a company, and ensures that its qualified consultants remain dedicated to achieving successful, long-lasting Human Resources solutions of the very highest quality and standard.

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