As one Security Manager at a Fortune 100 company put it recently, “Every day our SOC runs, 23 hours are wasted on False Alarms.”

How we solved a $3.2B/year physical security false alarm problem

False alarms are a chronic issue costing organizations $50,000-$250,00/quarter¹ in wasted physical security resources. Within the United States alone, false alarms cost $3.2B/year, in addition to causing mental fatigue for SOC operators and officers.

In any organization, Physical Security Operation Centers (SOC) are one of the most critical parts of business continuity. The tasks performed by SOCs include securing data centers from sabotage, restricting people from entering secure areas of critical infrastructure, preventing property/IP theft on a corporate campus, responding to natural disasters or pandemics, ensuring compliance, and much more.

FREE WEBINAR: REDUCE YOUR FALSE ALARMS BY 80%

Physical security is typically designed with a multi-layered approach² to deter or delay an attacker. This strategy requires a SOC staffed with trained operators 24x7x365, monitoring 10-30 different systems and responding to events. These systems may include, but are not limited to:

  • video surveillance
  • physical access control
  • fire
  • motion sensors
  • intrusion detectors
  • protective barriers
  • emergency notifications
  • travel advisories
  • officer dispatch
  • repair work orders
  • radio communication
  • email

Often there is no shared intelligence or data correlation between these myriad systems. As a result, 80-90% of the alarms generated are false alarms. Traditional approaches to solve this problem have relied on manual efforts or the masking/suppressing of alarms, but it has been impossible to achieve high levels of effectiveness. As one Security Manager at a Fortune 100 company put it recently, “Every day our SOC runs, 23 hours are wasted on false alarms.” The same manager added, “false alarms create blind spots and hide risks, creating more problems for our organization.”

Enter Vector Flow. When we assembled our team it was very clear that we needed a new approach to solving these chronic problems. We brought in experts who had spent time managing physical and cybersecurity, as well as data scientists and professionals from other technology sectors. Together we analyzed the way in which this problem have been resolved at hospitals, manufacturing lines, and 911 centers, developing a fresh perspective on how to solve this puzzle.

The results we have achieved with Vector Flow technology, deployed in real customers’ applications, have proven the effectiveness of our solution. We have demonstrated that false alarms in large organizations can be quickly reduced by 60-80%, delivering a wide range of benefits. Here are three of the top benefits you can expect from an investment in false alarm reduction:

  1. Increased productivity
    Reducing the time wasted by your trained SOC staff provides immediate value to your organization. It is as if you instantly gained additional trained staff! Customers have reported “full-time equivalent” gains in productivity within just months of deployment.
  2. Scaled-up SOC services post COVID
    With false alarms greatly reduced, your trained SOC staff are immediately able to decrease response times, help with (post-COVID) return to work projects, and improve customer service to your organization. In this era of COVID, and beyond, this is invaluable!
  3. Risk elimination by removing blind spots
    By proactively monitoring the status and performance of all systems, devices, and the responses of SOC operators, a system with reduced false alarms can predict and prioritize devices that need repair, as well as highlight any gaps in SOC training programs. This enables SOC operators to focus on real security issues reducing overall risks.

WATCH: Juniper Networks Reduces False / Nuisance Alarms by Over 80% Using Vector Flow

WATCH!

How to reduce false alarms

The only way to reliably reduce false alarms is to identify and address the root causes of these nuisances. Our research has shown that these three themes are likely to be among the primary causes of your false alarms:

System programming issues

Even though most organizations utilize high-quality (and expensive) equipment from leading manufacturers (on-premises or cloud), most of that equipment is installed with default programming. Because the settings are not tailored to the specifics of the installation, they can be a source of false alarms.

Installation issues

When the security system is installed, it is critical that all sensors, resistors, wiring, timers, cameras, etc., are all correctly aligned, and that they are installed, tested, and working per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Human errors

Trouble can arise when security system alarm thresholds are not aligned with business needs. For example, such misalignments are common in labs, training rooms, or restricted areas frequented by both employees and non-employees.

The Vector Flow platform is designed to address these themes – quickly and automatically. By addressing these root causes directly, leveraging advanced artificial intelligence techniques to analyze historical and current data, and deploying automated playbooks we see significant reductions in false alarms in just a few days after the system is installed and working. This short timeframe to gain real productivity benefits leads to an excellent Return on Investment (ROI). Contact Vector Flow for a demonstration, or to learn about the significant benefits you will gain by reducing your false alarms!

¹https://www.securityexecutivecouncil.com/spotlight/?sid=31426
²http://www.ittoday.info/AIMS/DSM/83-20-13.pdf

By: Ajay Jain, President/CEO | April 20, 2021