Insight from Rob Whiffing PGCert, Security Excellence & Projects Director, SGS
Security services have always been dynamic. But in recent years, security providers have adapted to a number of unusual challenges.
Upholding the Protect Duty
In 2017, the Manchester Arena terrorist attack took the lives of 23 people with over 1,000 others injured or hospitalised. Following an investigation into the response and actions of those present, Protect Duty legislation (known as Martyn’s Law) was brought forward for review to improve the safety and security of public venues and spaces.
Responding to the pandemic
In December 2019 the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan, China. The global pandemic that followed resulted in protracted lockdowns and restrictions to movement. During the crisis a silent workforce of security officers continued to secure our buildings and critical infrastructure ensuring a safe and secure environment for the NHS, Telecommunications, power supplies and much more.
These two major events demonstrate the diversity of the scenarios that security professionals now encounter. To keep up with ever-evolving environments and changes to risk profiles, security service providers are constantly upskilling and learning through training.
At the renewal of their Security Industry Authority licences, all officers now train in Action Counter Terrorism and Emergency First Aid at Work, with more to come.
Attracting new talent
The security industry lost trained workers after the pandemic. Security providers continue to evolve to meet new challenges and to make the environment attractive to a diverse workforce by improving benefits and conditions. This can be difficult when there is little recognition from within the wider community and salaries remain generally poor for the responsibility they hold.
Integrated security systems
The security industry is often at the forefront of technological innovation and increasingly utilises intelligent technology. In recent years we’ve seen an increased focus on system integration and intelligence that enable operators and frontline personnel to identify threats and respond more effectively.
Organisations are increasingly aware of hybrid solutions which combine traditional architecture such as CCTV and access control with intelligent analytics to create actionable insights that can be used to establish trends and support prosecution.
This works particularly well when businesses establish effective monitoring facilities or hubs to support front line security operations. Trained security personnel monitor infrastructure remotely, with an overview of the entire building or event. When unusual activity is identified, a response can be initiated within seconds.
The rise of artificial intelligence
Over the past few years, security service providers have welcomed the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their security methods.
For example, surveillance systems have become increasingly more complicated, but AI helps security providers to plug the gaps that manual review might miss. AI algorithms help to detect cyber threats such as malware attacks and protect the business from being held to ransom by cyber criminals. In the physical world similar AI algorithms help security officers to identify unusual behaviour that may indicate a security risk.
Enhanced data security services
Finally, in the age of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance, we have seen an increased emphasis on privacy in the workplace. The security sector has been developing ways to protect personal and sensitive information more effectively. Examples include using multi-factor authentication for access to IT services and creating incident response plans to deal with any data breaches.
During the course of the past few years, security service providers have continued to embrace change. As new threats emerge, and new technology comes to the fore, the security sector has learned to adapt, pivot and find new ways of enhancing safety. With up-to-date skills and sharp awareness, security providers are delivering outstanding services that enhance the security of the UK’s people property and places.