Strategic Security: Using Guard Tour and Incident Report Data to Drive Intelligent Analytics

When Strategic Security Corp. began looking for alternatives to their electronic incident reporting and guard tour tracking system, having an integrated solution that worked with their scheduling software and gaining increased workplace efficiency was a must-have. New York-based Strategic began using TEAM Software’s guard tour tracking and reporting solution, Lighthouse. With an employee count of over 3,500 security officers and 56 branch offices, Strategic saw a clear fit with TEAM’s Lighthouse guard tour tracking and reporting solution, which was built for leading security service companies who manage a large number of service workers, and assets, across multiple facilities.

As a leader in the industry, Strategic is no stranger to the cutthroat and competitive nature of the security services market. End customers weighing bids often boil decisions of contracted security services based on their bottom line. When comparing bids against one another, often a “lowest price technically acceptable” mentality wins out over nitty gritty details of a contract, where the benefits garnered from software can be lost in the shuffle, and contracts can be won or lost over the difference of cents. It’s a mentality Strategic’s founder and senior vice president Joe Sordi doesn’t envision the market moving away from.

“Every piece of software affects our ability to win a contract, because it all goes back to my overhead,” Sordi said. “We don’t want to price ourselves out of the competition.”

Because of this, any software Strategic implements must add enough value to the contract to distinguish Strategic’s services apart from the competition, while not tipping the scales against them in terms of cost when bidding for a contract. With its customizable reporting functionalities and integration with WinTeam’s back-end financial, operations and workforce management software, Lighthouse fit the bill.

After a 90-day, phased implementation across Strategic’s accounts, Lighthouse was rolled out as a part of Strategic’s Overwatch Security Solution — an internal program providing 24/7, year-round global security operations. The program operates as a single interface for Strategic’s back office team to monitor all technologies they use in their business model — from different camera systems, to law enforcement connectivity, to mobile guard monitoring through Lighthouse — on a single dashboard. Right off the bat, Strategic leveraged the software to conduct a deeper dive into an already identified problem: alarms. Alarm calls trigger a need for service from a watch officer, who then reports all incidents in the Lighthouse mobile app as they respond to them. As they report incidents, officers can select the type (i.e., Alarm Response) and sub-category (i.e., type of alarm) and add supporting information like notes and photos in real time. Sordi wanted to analyze the rate of alarm calls to determine if there were patterns in the type of need triggering a response. Using data harvested from Lighthouse and advanced analytics to visualize types of incidents, Strategic was able to examine specific categories, identify which type of alarms were being triggered at various job sites and uncover the reason why the alarm was activated. Different levels of alarm activations require different watch officer responses, and there are several different types of alarms: interior motion, burglary, breaking glass, alarm malfunction, door entry, incorrect coding, failed automatic armament, fire, improper disarm, or device malfunction, to name a few. Previously, when an alarm was triggered for any reason, a dispatcher would notify a patrol officer, who would respond on site. After implementing Lighthouse and using preset dashboards that look at incident trending, types of incidents, incidents by location and response, Sordi was able to visualize the frequency of location of alarm triggers, note time of day, day of week and the root cause of the alarm. This variable information helped determine patterns and issues to address. For example, if a particular employee was working at the time of day and day of week aligning with trending alarm activations, Sordi could determine the real issue was not a security breach but a matter of personnel requiring retraining. In other instances, the root cause might be a technical or policy issue and not one requiring an officer response. “This type of data is a value add,” Sordi said. “It drives intelligent analytics at a level where we don’t have to do a deep dive into each watch officer’s actions in order to determine where things are going wrong. We can pinpoint issues by looking at high-level data, and then address them accordingly.”

Using Lighthouse, Strategic analyzed security operations over one of their customer contracts, in which Strategic provides security guard services for over 1,000 county buildings and monitors a county security operations center. As part of their statement of work, Strategic is tasked with access control, job site screenings, and maintaining a high degree of visibility in order to act as a deterrent to criminal activity, such as vandalism, theft or violence. Sordi determined a large number of alarms being activated, and thus, requiring a responding officer, were actually stemming from a third party contracted janitorial crew, rather than an external intrusion. This root cause of this alarm trigger was not criminal activity, but a janitor trying to incorrectly gain access to a building, meaning watch officers were responding to alarm activations unnecessarily. Not only did this knowledge help identify pain points for Strategic’s client — who could respond by addressing the problem with their thirdparty vendor by retraining and implementing stricter guidelines on opening doors — but also reduced the need for watch officers to respond to low risk, non-criminal activity alarms. In fact, after successfully acting on this data analysis, Sordi was able to reduce his active watch officer staff from a team of eight, to a team of five, an approximate 37.5% cost savings in the team’s overhead while delivering the same level of customer service to their client. The benefits of this type of data are endless.

Security contractors and their customers alike are able to identify key problem areas and zero in on the problem’s root cause, instead of having to address issues on an overarching scale. New visuals can be created to dig into incident types, or separate dashboards can be created to monitor progress as changes are made to operations. If there is a need to retrain, it can happen on an individual, as-needed basis, rather than having to pull entire teams off shifts for retraining. In this case, Strategic’s customer was able to realize a need to address an issue with a separate third party and then was able to experience a downward trend in triggered alarms as a result, further streamlining processes with their contracted service. This added value matters to security contractors, like Strategic, when considering investing in software like Lighthouse.

“What we endeavor with Lighthouse is to garner deeper value for our large accounts and customers through trend analysis and business intelligence,” explained Sordi. “The insights we can pass to our customers through what we learn through data helps us stand apart, especially in such a competitive industry.”

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