By Russell Baker, Business Development Manager, Maxxess Systems EMEA | August 17,2023

Contrary to prevailing online discussions, it’s important to note that there are currently no imminent government plans to introduce stricter counter-terrorism regulations for publicly accessible locations. These proposed ‘Protect Duty’ measures, envisaged for music venues, public spaces, sporting events, and places of worship, have garnered much attention from companies, commentators, media outlets, and even public authorities. However, as of now, there is no defined timeline or legislative proposal for such regulations.

Several fundamental questions remain unresolved, encompassing issues like monitoring compliance, enforcement agencies, penalties for non-compliance, and the specifics of the proposed duties for organizations. The government’s response document, released in January, along with the Home Secretary’s statement, underscores the deliberate and measured nature of this process. The Home Secretary emphasized that while the government is evaluating policy proposals, the legislative requirements will be introduced when the Parliamentary schedule permits. This cautious approach is reminiscent of past legislative endeavors, such as the Private Security Industry Act (2001), which underwent lengthy discussions before enactment.

Amidst myriad challenges currently occupying the government’s attention, the introduction of legislation that could potentially amplify costs for businesses during a period of economic uncertainty and geopolitical tensions appears improbable.

However, organizations have been proactively engaging with the topic, not in response to imminent legislation, but to fulfill their duty of care obligations and strategic objectives. Senior executives are inquiring about their corporate vulnerabilities, encompassing brand reputation risks. When a serious incident occurs, the ability to demonstrate proactive attention to risk assessments, preventive measures, and response readiness is crucial.

Are employees adequately prepared? Have they received appropriate training and tools for effective response?

To ensure cost-effective resilience building, this approach should be woven into every aspect of corporate strategy, rather than treated as an afterthought. Isolated security and safety measures not only prove less effective, but they also tend to be more expensive and less efficient.

A Paradigm Shift in Corporate Infrastructure

An illustrative example lies in the upgrade and streamlining of corporate infrastructure. This involves integrating core functions like HR, security, visitor management, and building systems, yielding substantial resilience and risk mitigation, both physical and cyber. This integration is aligned with organizations’ broader goals of operational efficiency. By integrating Microsoft’s Active Directory, for instance, frictionless access to buildings, networks, IT applications, and equipment can be facilitated, enhancing the user experience.

Additionally, integrated management platforms allow for comprehensive audit trails, paving the way for better staff retention, actionable intelligence, and welcoming workspaces that attract talent and optimize cost-efficiency, aligning with long-term business strategies.

Future-Proofing with Flexibility

The introduction of adaptable integrated solutions lays the groundwork for addressing new compliance rules. These platforms seamlessly address security gaps and introduce operational efficiencies in control room operations. When updating standard operating procedures, these modular, open architecture platforms facilitate the integration of cutting-edge technologies, supporting control room teams with enhanced tools for quicker detection, more reliable verification, and targeted response.

The Rise of AI and Operational Efficiency

The integration of AI-powered video analytics is a prime example of innovation in this field. AI’s ability to detect unusual events, alerting security teams to suspicious activities, bolsters security measures. AI analytics technology surpasses traditional methods by effectively reducing false alarms, while its tireless nature ensures events are never missed.

Metadata has further accelerated investigations by enabling operators to search for individuals or vehicles based on appearance, type, color, or a combination of criteria across multiple video streams, minimizing the time needed to locate relevant footage. This optimization allows security personnel to be allocated to more valuable tasks, enhancing visibility, effectiveness, and engagement.

Furthermore, affordability of edge AI cameras has improved over the years, and unified platforms facilitate targeted upgrades for specific areas without disrupting the existing system.

A Comprehensive Approach to Preparedness

Organizations should consider counter-terrorism preparedness within a broader context, as advocated by non-profit business association Resilience First. In this light, resilience-building should encompass a range of risks, preparing for a spectrum of catastrophic events, whether due to terror attacks, accidents, or natural disasters. Organizations are recognizing the importance of incident preparedness and adopting a strategic approach to enhance resilience.

In conclusion, while waiting for legislative changes, organizations are taking proactive steps to safeguard their operations and fulfill their duty of care obligations. The integration of comprehensive strategies, advanced technologies, and adaptable platforms empowers organizations to proactively manage risks, streamline operations, and excel even in the face of evolving compliance demands.