Unlocking the Power of Precision: Data Quality and Accessibility for Corporate Security Departments

Cathal J. Walsh MS, MBA February 15, 2024

Amidst the relentless waves of pandemic-induced uncertainty, organizations found themselves at a crossroads, compelled to reimagine how their businesses operated. For example, when stay at home orders continued to be extended for the unforeseeable future, many organizations began to reevaluate their commercial real estate strategy. Senior executives sought data points from their Corporate Security departments to help companies better navigate a precarious risk environment against the backdrop of public health challenges and economic uncertainty. As office attendance plummeted, these leaders embarked on a mission to pursue strategies to reduce operating costs.

The Need for Data-Driven Decision-Making

Imagine this scenario: The executive committee convened on Monday morning and quickly realized they needed specific data to make informed decisions. As a result, they sent data requests across various lines of business (LOB). One of these requests is directed at Corporate Security. The executive committee is asking for office attendance records over the past six months across five global regions and they need them by Wednesday.

Unfortunately for Corporate Security, this modest request quickly became a daunting task. The current infrastructure estate is siloed comprising of five disparate non-connected physical access control systems (PACS) across the globe. Consequently, the security department cannot access a centralized data warehouse or a unified global platform to aggregate the data accommodating the request. Instead, they place five separate downstream requests to each regional security director. Given a bank holiday in Europe, time zone differences, and lack of available resources to run ad hoc reports, Corporate Security realizes they will fail to deliver on time and must request an extension.

To Make Decisions, The Data Needs to Be Accessible and Unified

Reports start to filter in the following week. Upon receipt, a quick review reveals key differences among the global data. Data capture throughout each region varies as business rules differ, database structures are unique, and data is categorized and indexed differently. With this data in hand, Corporate Security knows it cannot hand it over to the Executive Committee in its present condition.

In an era dominated by cutting-edge concepts like generative AI, the reality for many organizations remains grounded in the persistent challenge of ensuring fundamental data quality and accessibility. While the industry buzzes with transformative technologies, it is imperative that organizations focus on overcoming these challenges first.

As a trusted delivery partner working with some of the world’s most recognizable organizations, we help our clients design and implement multi-year technology roadmaps that align with their IT digital transformation efforts and future of work initiatives. Organizations seeking to lower costs, improve spend management, reduce risks, and improve agility to navigate uncertainty and avoid disruption are migrating away from disparate systems and to integrated enterprise global platforms. We support Corporate Security groups by assigning resources to provide project management office (PMO) services and define and execute their business cases, capture milestones, identify funding, and resource requirements. In addition, we oversee the project and program delivery, establish governance controls, capture functional and technical requirements, and facilitate coordination with internal LOBs and external vendors to transition from outdated systems to an enterprise global platform. Our team supports the development and application of data standards and automated workflows that improve access and collaboration across the entire enterprise.

The benefits to the Corporate Security team include a future state aligned with the organization’s IT infrastructure, uplevelling their data connections with responsibility for managing one global platform that democratizes real-time data to make more agile and informed responses to threat-driven events.

The Bottomline

Not only have these Corporate Security initiatives led to acquiring more meaningful data insights and facilitating global observability to improve prioritization, response, and collaboration across the enterprise, but it also aligns with improved corporate governance.

These strategic initiatives extend beyond mere operational enhancements; they mark a pivotal shift toward acquiring profound data insights and establishing a framework for global observability. The dividends are evident in improved prioritization, response mechanisms, and collaboration at a global scale. What unfolds is not just a technological evolution for Coporate Security departments, but a strategic alignment with heightened corporate governance. Bringing in a third-party technology consultant can help cut through the noise and guide to corporate security officers and their teams through the maze of data challenges, mitigating risks, and paving the way for a resilient and future-ready enterprise.

Cathal Walsh in a suit and tie is smiling at the camera for a professional headshot

Cathal J. Walsh MS, MBA

Vice President, Physical Security and Chief Security Officer

Cathal J. Walsh has over 20 years of security management experience within large multinational organizations and private risk management advisory firms. With his deep industry knowledge of physical and cyber security, fraud, investigations, and crisis management, he delivers solutions that align each discipline with the client’s overall corporate strategy, governing regulated environment, and addresses evolving industry risks. At Guidepost, Mr. Walsh advises C-Suite executives, boards, and heads of security with strategic guidance to address their most critical physical security and risk management matters. In addition, he serves as the firm’s chief security officer overseeing its security strategy and operations.