Thu 14 May 2020
3 problems Agora fixes to help your security team work smarter
The job of being a security operator isn’t just about working hard, it’s about working smart. If you don’t have the products to support you working efficiently, quickly and collaboratively, then how are you supposed to fulfill your role to the best of your ability? Ask yourself:
- How many times a day do you find yourself doing a convoluted process which should be straightforward?
- How often do you find yourself explaining a procedure to a new team member only to realize it’s taken an hour or more of training?
- Do you ever feel like systems should be more automated than they are, instead of always relying on human intervention?
For an industry which is so forward thinking, security teams often find their day-to-day protocols are left behind. Whether for perceived budget reasons – when management doesn’t realize the affordability of many products – or a resistance to change, you might find your security procedures are cumbersome, prone to error and too reliant on human input.
Here, with insights from Bernardo Motta, Agora’s International Business Development Manager, we explore how Agora helps your team work smarter: relying on technology to complete – and exceed – the output of humans (leaving your team free to focus on jobs that can only be fulfilled by a real person).
1: Your current system isn’t a perfect fit for your environment
If you were to ask an Agora team member which sector is best suited to their platform, they wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. It is entirely adaptable, rather than being geared towards a particular industry or environment. This makes it an incredibly smart product: Agora becomes exactly what your team and organization need it to be. We asked Bernardo Motta, Agora’s International Business Development Manager, for some examples of existing industries who utilize Agora:
We have worked with banks, retail (such as shopping malls), infrastructure, companies that deliver water and electricity. We have worked with industries, factories and warehouses.
The sky really is the limit. We also know how irritating it can be when you buy software that has extra features you don’t need (but can’t get rid of), or when you can’t make it do the jobs you actually want it to. But Agora is fully customizable to your control room and individual requirements. Bernardo Motta explains how this individuality helps teams work smarter:
It's really different for every market. Each site is going to be different inside and outside, from customer to customer. So there are a wide variety of ways they operate, the standards they hold, and their chief concerns. The way we built our product around custom procedures is perfect for that challenge in the real world – no-one has to use it in the same way.
Agora adapts to suit the environment you’re using it in. For example, if you have a procedure to detect a perimeter intrusion in a factory, it will be very different from a procedure to detect a perimeter intrusion in an airport. If someone crosses a fence at your meat processing factory it's important you know because goods can be stolen – it's a criminal act. But the procedure will be much simpler, and more focused on detecting the person and getting evidence than at an airport. If somebody jumps the fence at an airport, that’s a major security and safety breach which will trigger a different response.
Being able to set up alerts and on-screen procedures that adhere specifically to your business – with any industry requirements or national laws included in the actions – means your security operators can provide a consistent delivery, act quicker and work smarter.
2: Your system malfunctions – and you don’t know about it
When he speaks to customers, Bernardo Motta has found that there are two big problems that everyone has in common – regardless of industry. Agora knew they had to create a solution which addressed these, head on, helping companies work smarter. These common headaches for security teams are:
- Technical faults
- Not knowing about your technical faults
Bernardo explains why these issues can cause recurring problems for a business and how Agora combats this:
It’s a big risk if you have one of your underlying systems – a camera, a recorder or an alarm panel – that is broken and nobody notices. That's why Agora is always monitoring the health status of all your systems in real time, then warning the operators that something is not as it should be.
Imagine how you could minimize the risk of errors if an underlying tool is constantly monitoring the health status of your security systems? It’s only natural that while balancing an array of tasks, operators might miss something. That’s why Agora is designed to help you focus on the jobs that can only be done by a human operator, and acts as your eyes and ears for anything that can be automated. Bernardo explains it’s often too late by the time operators figure out there’s an issue:
One of the most important problems to fix is malfunctioning systems that nobody knows about. Normally operators will only discover something isn’t working when they need to use that system – and it's gone down.
That's what Agora aims to prevent. We want to make sure that you know about the failure as soon as it happens, and not too late (i.e. when you need the system). This proactive, instead of reactive, way of working makes for a smarter, more efficient and thorough control room.
3: Agora makes your security budgets go further
One of the issues facing most businesses is making their budgets stretch further: if you can do this with your security budget, then you’re working smarter. With the security and surveillance sector, you can buy all the equipment and software you like, but if you don’t support your team with how they operate, helping reduce human error, you won’t be working intelligently. Bernardo Motta explains there needs to be a balance in focus as to where budgets are spent:
Human error is a universal risk to organizations. Sometimes management focuses too much on how good their technology is – which is important, of course. They ask questions like: Are my systems old? Am I doing proper maintenance? That's important to address, but if you dedicate less effort to the human risk factor you are in big trouble. You must cater to the human being that is in charge of this sometimes multi-million dollar investment in technology.
If you're paying, for example, $1m or more per year for your security budget – or even if you're managing a $200K budget – the same principle applies. It's your money and it shouldn’t be wasted. Many managers think that by investing in security equipment, they are safe. But are their operators ready when an incident happens? Agora can cater to those risks – it helps the security team manage their human risk factor for everyone on the team.
With everyone following the same instructions in an easy, step-by-step workflow, there is much less room for human error. Investing in Agora, rather than solely on cameras and alarms, means your team is set up to do the best job they can, working smartly, and keeping your environment as safe as possible.