‘While Five Years Back Physical Security Assessment Was Rare, Today Almost 50% Per Cent Organisations Conduct a Physical Security Risk Assessment Once a Year’

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We spoke to Satish Kumar Yadav, Head Security, K Raheja Mindspace IT Parks to understand the changing role of a CSO in ensuring security for an organization,  how security strategies are maturing in the Indian corporate organizations, the role played by technologies such as AI, IoT, Machine Learning and Big Data play in enhancing security of an organization and how expos such as IFSEC India can be leveraged by the security stakeholders to enhance awareness about security products and technologies.

Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma

Satish Kumar Yadav, Head Security, K Raheja Mindspace IT Parks

 

  • Please dwell on the changing role of a CSO in ensuring security for an organization.

There was a time when the CSO’s role could be easily summarized as security of personnel, material & information. Well Information Security which was just a small part of the role has emerged as the largest factor in today’s Security scenario. Though it has opened a separate domain of Information/Cyber Security; it has also kept the core physical security professionals worried on this front. Today’s most crime happens on the cyber platform and its often difficult to differentiate whether its physical security breach or info security breach. Rather its combination of the two.

There was a time when the core competencies of a Chief Security Officer (CSO) were to secure the premises, restrict unauthorized entry, safeguard against pilferage/theft. Today we have switched over access control barricades such as boom barriers, turnstiles, flap barriers, automated sliding gates etc. These access control system itself functions on multiple inputs such as Biometrics like fingerprints, voice, face, card or secret PIN no. Once these barriers are breached, the entry can be denied using integrated Retractable bollards /spikes which can cause serious damage/injuries to the intruder. Today we have switched over to App based PIN generating Visitors management system. Malls have upgraded to anti pilferage alarm system which have ensured security as well as convenience to the customers.

Employee protection, Crisis intervention, Public Relations, monitoring Union activities and managing workplace violence have always been the core of the CSO’s role. Today CSO must ensure safe door to door pick up and drop of employees specially women employees in night shift. Escorting has become a major function and point of concern of the management. GPS enabled drop buses / cabs are the in thing today. Having gone vertical in work spaces, evacuation in case fire or another catastrophe has become critical and should be regularly practiced. We need have accurate fire detection & alarm system as false alarms induces complacency among the employees and may prove fatal in case actual danger.

 With new threats to your organization emerging every day, today’s CSOs must manage risks spanning multidisciplinary areas such as data protection, economic espionage, internal threat assessment and privacy. They should be able to provide litigation support, regulatory liaison, investigation and mediation efforts related to financial crimes, fraud and corruption. Transactional diligence & intelligence including Loss prevention, employment screening, and geopolitical risk assessment have increasingly become important. Audit expertise, risk, insurance, reputation & brand protection has opened new challenges.

  • How do you foresee security strategies maturing in the Indian corporate organisations?

Over the past few years, corporate India has witnessed a steady increase in the number of physical security threats and breaches. While we have very little control over occurrences such as floods, earthquakes and terror attacks, we do have control over the ways we can safeguard our businesses and people against them. Many organisations have woken to the implications of physical security over the past few years and there has been a conscious effort from organisations in form of additional and proactive measures to ensure better Security arrangements. While five years back physical security assessment was rare and uncommon, today almost 50% per cent of the organisations surveyed in India conduct a physical security risk assessment once a year, whereas some do it monthly. There has been increasing thrust over CCTV networks, Access control & Screening mechanism. Post 26/11, the hotel industry has geared up appropriately with Baggage Scanning machine, Walk through metal detectors and associated surveillance systems. However same seriousness is yet to be seen by other industries and establishments. The legal obligations & compliance monitoring by Government agencies is far from satisfactory. We should not wait for incidents to happen before we secure ourselves adequately.

  • What role can technologies such as AI, IoT, Machine Learning and Big Data play in enhancing security of an organization?

Technologies play a vital role in strengthening of our protection system. Video analytics, Face recognition system & License Plate Reading System (LPRS) are the derivatives of Artificial Intelligence & machine learning for Physical Security environment. Some of these systems learn from its mistakes and ensure that once prompted by the operator for a mistake, it does not do same mistake in future transactions. This is an apt example of machine learning. AI eliminates the need for pre-programmed algorithms, allowing sensor technology available today to capture an incredible amount of data in real time. AI enables video analytics to do much more than just alert users when a person or object has crossed a barrier; now, large organizations with thousands of security cameras can specifically identify a person approaching through facial recognition software. Camera technology running analytics can also quickly and efficiently scan approaching vehicles and their license plates. The future of physical security will most likely involve IoT. With the Internet of Things industry slated to grow exponentially over the next few years, it will begin to pervade every facet of modern society, and this includes security. I think that IoT can make physical security smarter, but this does not mean that IoT security itself should be let off the hook. Security is all about layers, so even if IoT enhances your physical security measures, companies should still strive to implement cybersecurity protocols that keep them covered on all fronts. IoT helps enabled security devices to deliver real-time security alerts, which can positively change the landscape of physical security protocols. The presence of IoT means that data about a physical environment can be processed and relayed much faster. If access control devices can communicate with surveillance cameras and other security deterrents, it means that companies will receive security alerts right when they happen. IoT devices can negate the limitations of physical security measures which, in turn, helps make them much smarter. Security consists of passive and active measures, and the coexistence of each of these elements is what helps keep security effective. However, it is often very difficult for some of these measures to keep a log of security events. Even if you have the best keypad door locks installed in an office complex, most of them afford only a little audit trail. Implementing a structure of IoT devices also allows companies to take advantage of geofencing capabilities, something which many industries are gradually implementing because they understand the benefits it brings. Imagine that you were able to have all the locks in your facility talk to one another, and relay information to surveillance cameras and other devices. What does that give your company? An interconnected barrier that becomes rather difficult to penetrate if you do not have access.

  • How do you think expos such as IFSEC India can be leveraged by the security stakeholders to enhance awareness about security products and learn about security strategies?

Well, last year was my first interaction with IFSEC at Hyderabad where I could interact with enthusiastic professionals from same domain working across various industries & locations with similar occupational issues. It helps to quickly associate and share problems and probably get a quick solution from a person who has been through it. Also, the range of product available for display integrate the conceived professional ideas with the actual solution. This helps professional like us to quickly decide to recommend suitable range of products for our own organization.