The use of an operations center is not a new concept. Law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, emergency medical services (EMS), and search and rescue have been using an integrated computer-aided dispatch software and centers to coordinate personnel. Having a location designated as such has served the needs of organizations and other groups for millennia. Military, governmental, religious, and of course business, are but a few examples of where operations centers have proven beneficial. The security industry is no different in that the modern provider of such services has found the implementation of a state-of-the-art security dispatch operations center to be an essential component of their organizational plan.
It is important to note, the security guard dispatch operations center, sometimes referred to simply as the ops center, serves a different function than that of the corporate offices or headquarters of a security provider. Functions such as accounting, payroll, marketing, and other traditional business components of a company are usually well managed from the corporate office environment. Event and field management, however, warrants its own base of operation. The security dispatch ops center is precisely that essential hub.
The Location of the Security Dispatch Operations Center
Security providers vary in the size and scope of the services they provide. Some serve a single location, others operate in multiple states or countries, while still others provide security for entities that move venues regularly. Regardless of the number of people or assets to be protected, some general guidelines are offered for a modern security dispatch operations center.
While the size and location of an ops center can differ, it should be designed with the security of the facility in mind. This includes traditional physical security measures which will also be dependent upon the type and location of the ops center itself. Measures such as fencing, bollards, reinforced lockable doors, and access control are some of the considerations to be made when establishing a security dispatch operations center. In some instances, the ops centers may be mobile and staged in a vehicle or temporary location in the venue being protected. The physical security measures for these locations may offer additional challenges but are nevertheless important aspects to an overall safety plan.
In addition to the physical security of the operation dispatch center, the implementation of cybersecurity measures is also vital. The use of cloud-based storage systems with SSL encryption should be considered as part of a robust cybersecurity plan for not only the ops center but the entire organization. Customization allows system access to individuals or groups based on job classification or other criteria. Temporary access to limited portions of a system also helps keep information secure and properly managed. Finally, the risk of interruption of service by a compromised on-site server is eliminated due to the use of redundant back-up measures with a cloud-based system.
The Security Dispatch Operations Center and Real-Time Data
Whether the security dispatch operations center shares the site of the asset being protected or it is centralized and serving regional, multi-state, or global locations, its benefits are irrefutable. Perhaps one of the most advantageous aspects of an ops center is its ability to manage real-time data with security dispatch software. In evaluating a potential threat, the importance of timely and accurate information cannot be overstated. Data flowing to and from a modern security dispatch operations center can aid field units in deciding on courses of action ranging from routine to urgent.
For example, when a person’s behavior has raised the suspicions of the security team, officers and dispatchers working together can help assess the situation and take appropriate action. Ops center personnel can utilize access to camera systems and databases to help track and identify the subject. Officers on the ground can also monitor the subject’s location, report his or her actions, and intervene as policies allow. Dispatch Software allows security guard companies to go paperless and share intelligence, in real-time, officers and dispatchers can work to identify the suspect, evaluate the threat potential, and coordinate a mitigation plan.
As mentioned, real-time data can also assist with routine activities involved in site safety. For instance, a venue where changes in the crowd are likely to occur can benefit from a timely exchange of information between officers and ops center dispatchers. If a team is providing security for a large outdoor concert, those in the ops center will likely have coordinated with members of the entertainment production staff. This can aid in getting real-time information to field units to determine crowd size and movement based on details such as ticket sales, headliner performance times, and the anticipate time the concert will end.
The security dispatch operations center’s use of real-time data is also a valuable tool for managing personnel. No matter the location being served, the security team must be able to contend with the fluid nature of the unknown. Being able to identify the need for additional or fewer personnel at a particular location or general area can often depend on the accurate evaluation of information running through the ops center. Utilizing up to date security management software, dispatchers and supervisors can monitor an entire site to determine the needs for personnel movement as well as required changes in physical security measures.
Professionalism and the Security Dispatch Operations Center
Professionalism has been described as a circular attribute. In other words, if one is professional, one tends to look professional; and if one appears to be professional, they will, in turn, perform in a professional manner. This concept easily translates to the business world and certainly to the security industry. While security dispatch software helps the organization of a security operations center has a multitude of benefits, some discussed above, its inclusion as part of an overall professional security provider business plan cannot be overlooked. By utilizing a state-of-the-art ops center, the professionalism of the organization is extended to the employees, clients, and all who are protected by its services.