All in One Security: Introducing the Intelligent Security Operations Center

information network concept

An intelligent security operations center can enhance situational awareness and effectiveness

Alan Stoddard, vice president and general manager, Verint Situational Intelligence Solutions
Alan Stoddard, vice president and general manager, Verint Situational Intelligence Solutions

The threat landscape is changing rapidly, becoming more sophisticated and complex with each incident. Those responsible for keeping people, property and assets safe need a comprehensive and cohesive approach to security.

To protect what matters most, organizations of all sizes and industries must take a multi-dimensional look at their security demands and build a holistic plan that delivers the actionable intelligence needed for critical decision-making. The reality is that today’s complex and modern threats cannot be addressed using yesterday’s solutions – it is time to evolve and embrace the movement toward the intelligent security operations center.

While physical security is always a top priority for security leaders, it is no longer the only concern. Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, with forecasts estimating that IT attacks will cost organizations $6 trillion by 2021. This increases the need for a converged security approach in which video surveillance, physical security and cybersecurity solutions are combined to meet an organization’s needs.

No More Silos

Physical security systems such as access control, intrusion detection, fire detection and suppression, perimeter security and others have traditionally operated separately from logical systems like identity management. So separate, in some cases, that they have been managed by a different department. But now, with the growth of cyber threats and the impact of these risks on physical security assets, the industry is moving toward converged security initiatives.

An integrated, holistic response enables comprehensive management of security. Typical security systems, however, operate in silos. Video and business analytics can be part of these deployments, but without a common metadata layer, intelligence cannot be added across the spectrum of the security infrastructure. Therefore, the operator must coordinate data from multiple subsystems and then collaborate with other stakeholders as needed – a tedious and time-consuming manual process. Combining video management, video analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), though, provides new levels of insight – and automation – to improve safety and provide peace of mind to security leaders.

The Essential Video Management System 

A critical part of any holistic security strategy is video surveillance. Security managers and operators rely on a multitude of solutions and systems to ensure comprehensive protection of people and property, but video is – or should be – at the heart of the approach. Video can transform security operations by enabling intelligent, data-driven management and response, while also offering business value by increasing operational efficiencies and reducing costs. Video enhances decision-making, facilitates real-time monitoring, provides greater situational awareness, and helps personnel respond faster and more efficiently to incidents and threats.

With forensic investigation a critical component of security strategies, video becomes a central part of ensuring efficient operations. Data gleaned from video management platforms provide enhanced situational awareness and can assist in keeping people and property safe. But the sheer volume of data results in a burdensome process that consists of manually identifying anomalies and risks. However, the introduction of data-driven search and video analysis empowers operators to streamline their work and improve their performance.

Imagine what video could help a business achieve if security personnel could look beyond how it is currently used? Imagine if they could enhance that video with dynamic geographic mapping information, sophisticated event management and investigation engines, and extensive bi-directional integrations. All of that and more is becoming a reality as technology evolves. Leveraging the power of video in a security operations center can help a team achieve higher levels of safety and greater influence in developing an overall security strategy.

Introducing the Intelligent Security Operations Center

Interest in the intelligent security operations center (ISOC) is growing as organizations seek to adopt a more proactive approach to physical and IT security. The ISOC concept addresses this need by aggregating multiple systems into a single interface and applying an analytic layer that produces actionable intelligence. The ISOC incorporates AI and deep learning to provide data about what is happening across an enterprise’s domains and demonstrate how it affects the business as a whole. Over time, the system can even identify patterns in the data to provide early warning of threats.

By collecting intelligence from digital sensors and systems such as video surveillance cameras, open-source Web intelligence, building management systems, crowdsourcing, weather sensors, mobile devices, and more, operators can identify potential anomalies and more efficiently manage and respond to situations. A centralized approach allows information to be shared easily with employees, external agencies, citizens and first responders, which is especially valuable in the event of a safety incident when rapid response is paramount. With a single enterprise-wide view across disparate systems and technologies, organizations experience new levels of situational awareness, reduced operational costs, and increased employee safety.

The ISOC approach empowers enterprises to be more efficient, effective and proactive. Keeping people and property safe is a complex challenge. Those wishing to do harm are constantly evolving their tactics. Because of this, it is more critical than ever for security leaders to implement coherent and cohesive security plans.

Why is the ISOC such an important concept to grasp? Quite simply, it can help leaders deal with vast amounts of data. Data is all around us, in the words transmitted via voice or text, in the geolocation information sent by smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, and in the videos and images that people share. It is also in the background, unbeknownst to many end users, in the layers of metadata cataloging every interaction throughout the day. In its native form, raw data is not very useful. But introduce the right analysis and the value of the data grows exponentially, often revealing key insights, reducing errors, transforming businesses, and even saving lives.

Powered by machine learning algorithms and multiple detection engines, the ISOC uses extensive data analysis that can be a tremendous resource to organizations by providing early detection of suspicious activity. By aggregating data from multiple systems into a single interface, the ISOC enables security operators to assess threats across all domains of an enterprise. Additionally, it can continuously monitor and investigate the dark web, leveraging cyber threat intelligence to identify attacks in the making and gauge their potential impact on the organization, thus taking a converged approach to risk management.

With the many moving parts involved in an organization’s security operations, the benefits that an ISOC can deliver are immense. The ISOC methodology gives businesses the ability to access a solution that can act as a virtual analyst and automate processes, boosting effectiveness and helping to better leverage existing resources. By applying the same practices an investigator would, only faster, the system can automatically collect and analyze leads across an enterprise’s infrastructure, simplifying the responsibilities of security operators. This frees up time and resources to focus on more critical tasks.

ISOCs in Retail Environments

Big-box retailers are at a high risk for various security threats. In 2018, the National Retail Federation estimated that theft, error, shoplifting and fraud cost the industry more than $46 billion. With millions of dollars in inventory stored across multiple facilities, even the largest and most successful retailers in the world are likely to be targets for fraud, theft, vandalism and even violent crime. These threats put the safety of customers and employees in jeopardy while negatively affecting the overall business and its bottom line.

In these high-traffic environments, it is imperative for management and security teams to obtain clear situational awareness and real-time information. This information, which can be extracted from advanced video systems and other intelligent security solutions, can help to not only improve safety in and around the stores, but also enhance operational efficiencies and the customer experience.

One of the largest retailers in the world chose to implement a solution that drives effective protection at its many locations across the United States. With initiatives in place to reduce crime, the company decided to leverage various strategies, such as the strategic positioning of employees, the use of visible security cameras in high-theft areas, the implementation of data analytics to detect fraud, and the hiring of private security guards and off-duty police officers to mitigate risk. Additionally, the retailer uses scan avoidance detection technology to strengthen loss prevention efforts in self-checkout lanes.

The company also takes advantage of a collaborative and scalable solution at its corporate office. The system manages data from sources such as license plate recognition, facial recognition, access control, and analytics platforms to provide a comprehensive, single-pane-of-glass ISOC.

Retailers will always have to contend with bad actors and attacks on their businesses, which further demonstrates the need for best-in-breed security solutions that combine video surveillance, physical security and cybersecurity to deliver a holistic solution that provides the actionable insights necessary to identify potential threats and rapidly respond to incidents. By improving situational intelligence, streamlining data collection and analysis, and decreasing response times, these solutions can enable retailers to face today’s biggest threats while also evolving to meet the demands of the future.

As the security risk and technology landscapes continue to evolve, so will the way organizations protect personnel and property. Threats, from both the cyber and physical worlds, are changing rapidly, and with various systems becoming more and more interconnected, enterprises need solutions that scale to address shifting demands. Meeting this challenge demands a more collaborative approach than ever before. Organizations must align their cyber, IT and physical security teams to comprehensively improve risk management and ensure that vulnerabilities can be identified before an incident causes harm. The video-based ISOC stands at the core of this effort, streamlining the process for enterprises and allowing them to achieve their business goals while maintaining security.