How to Manage Cutting-Edge Security Technology Deployments
Achieving a successful security implementation requires thorough research, client education, a flexible deployment process and a clear plan for the future
By Jim Dawson
Jim Dawson is Principal at TM Technology Partners
For an organization ready to upgrade its security, it’s exciting to explore cutting-edge options and imagine the ideal solution. As a consultant, it’s my job to demonstrate what’s possible but also explain what’s realistic, effective and can meet the client’s objectives. Achieving a successful security implementation requires thorough research, client education, a flexible deployment process and a clear plan for the future.
Educate Yourself and the Client
When it comes to new technology, people are often enthusiastic about the myriad possibilities and ready to jump into the deep end before grasping the details. Consultants and systems integrators must be knowledgeable about new technologies such as facial recognition, biometrics, advanced weapons screening and smart building applications. More importantly, it must be determined whether these technologies will perform optimally.
Start by educating the client and setting expectations. Explain the technology, determine whether there are privacy issues (think facial recognition), acknowledge the costs and examine differences between manufacturers. Work with the client to define what the technology means to them beyond being cutting edge. Does it make sense for the specific project, requirements and budget? Is the organization operationally suited to support this technology now and moving forward? Once these questions are answered, it’s possible to make an informed recommendation.
From there, be sure to involve all the company stakeholders. The security director may understand what’s being implemented and be excited to take things to the next level, but what about facilities, IT and, ultimately, the final decision-makers: the C-suite? Looking at a security implementation from every stakeholder’s angle will ensure a decision is made that serves the organization as a whole.
Once a recommendation is in hand and the client is ready to proceed, a detailed project plan will keep everyone on the same page. When working with cutting-edge technology, there’s a higher likelihood that expected features may get pushed off and be implemented at a later date. Being upfront about that possibility and clearly explaining why it happened go a long way towards ensuring the project remains successful.
A common pitfall occurs when the project involves a centralized security platform that touches various other systems – security related and others, such as HVAC. One interface problem can lead to cascading project issues. Avoiding this scenario requires a clear picture of the integration landscape ahead of time. Are there existing integrations between the systems? If not, how can we make sure APIs are written and tested in time for deployment? A project-halting complication can be avoided by exploring these questions prior to implementation.
If Not Today, Be Ready for Tomorrow
Sometimes the technology simply isn’t ready in time for the project. In that scenario, the prudent move is to design infrastructure during the current project that allows the technology to be easily implemented later. If a client wants hidden microwave scanners that ascertain whether someone has a weapon, but the technology isn’t ready, consider where the sensors would go and how they’d be powered and connected. The infrastructure can be constructed now so that when the technology is ready, the installation causes less disruption to the client’s daily operations.
Cutting-edge technology is enticing, and when deployed correctly, can enhance the security of any organization. But new technology isn’t always the right solution. The best way to proceed is through education, experience and comprehensive exploration of client needs and budget versus product capabilities. Do the research, test the products and maintain open communications with the client from project inception through completion.