A leading computer technology company engaged Guidepost Solutions to assess the effectiveness of its global security operation center (GSOC). During our assessment, we discovered that the GSOC was experiencing heavy alarm activity — approximately four alarms per second — about 120 million alarms annually, which is high even for a global organization.
During the assessment, we also discovered that there was inconsistency in the electronic security system nomenclature across sites, making it difficult to pinpoint the sources of many of the alarms. Additionally, there were no indicators of the urgency of each alarm.
After completing the assessment, we approached the solution in three phases. The first phase involved the reduction of alarms in the North America region. Our team began by checking the GSOC’s programming system to determine which alarms could be turned on/off through the system. We then identified the most frequent types of alarms, which were coming from turnstiles and faulty doors.
We discovered that the GSOC was receiving restore alarms which were produced each time a potential breach was cleared. We disabled the restore alarm and began to reclassify alarms based on location and criticality. This allowed for better prioritization and faster response.
The second phase and third phases of the engagement involved standardizing electronic security system nomenclature across European and Asia Pacific sites. The lack of standardization made it difficult to pinpoint the source of each alarm, so we reprogrammed existing security devices to fit naming conventions so the GSOC could identify devices more accurately and more quickly.
In addition to a lack of standardization, there was no mechanism for prioritization, making it impossible to discern the level of urgency for each alarm. To address this issue, we implemented a color-coded system to assign levels of criticality to each alarm.
Benefit to the Client
The outcome of the engagement included reducing the number of alarms by 98% (approximately 117 million alarms), which reduced the GSOC’s workload and the time spent on false alarms — ultimately allowing for more attention to true security breaches.
The standardization of nomenclature eliminated the guesswork in identifying alarms making it possible to locate the source of alarms more efficiently. And by implementing a color-coded system, the GSOC is now able to respond to emergencies more rapidly.