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The global pandemic has created a working environment filled with uncertainty and, at times, fear, as COVID-19 cases surge yet again and businesses continue to navigate a complex web of infectious disease mitigation protocols and managing the distribution of a potential vaccine. Organizations are operating in an environment where a critical event, posing significant risk to its employees and daily operations, could occur at any moment. Even with a vaccine showing light at the end of a very dark tunnel, the pandemic unfortunately may be far from over, and the communication of accurate public health information to a widely distributed, often remote workforce is vital to keeping employees safe and businesses running. Organizations that plan ahead, invest in an emergency management system and share key updates quickly, reliably and securely, can keep employees safe while ensuring business continuity when it matters most. Taking time to plan and prepare Throughout the pandemic, U.S. offices have gone through alternating stages of reopening and re-closing Throughout the pandemic, U.S. offices have gone through alternating stages of reopening and re-closing. However, whether businesses are operating at a limited or full capacity, medical experts are expecting continuous waves of COVID-19 cases, as community transmission continues to hit record highs. The only way for businesses to keep their employees and customers safe, protect their operations, and retain trust with their key stakeholders during these tumultuous times is to be proactive in nature. Organizations need to put a business resiliency plan in place now that outlines key actions to take if (or when) an issue relating to local spread of the novel coronavirus arises. By having a plan in place and practicing it regularly, organizations can minimize risks and maximize employee safety surrounding critical events, such as suspected or confirmed exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Context of emergency management Ensuring the safety of employees (and others within the company’s facilities) needs to be the number one priority for organizations; and in any crisis scenario, a prepared and practiced plan maximizes a company’s chances of success. In PwC's 2019 Global Crisis Survey, business leaders across a range of industries shared their experiences, expectations, and top strengths and weaknesses in the context of emergency management. By a wide margin (54% vs. 30%), organizations that had a crisis response plan in place fared better post-crisis than those who didn’t. When it comes to ensuring the wellbeing of staff, businesses need to think through a comprehensive, iterative infectious disease mitigation and operational continuity strategy and practice it as often as possible. Investing in proper technology A vital step in adequate critical event management planning is investing in the proper technology infrastructure For today’s modern organization, a vital step in adequate critical event management planning is investing in the proper technology infrastructure to streamline the communication of vital information. Organizations should explore risk intelligence, critical communication and incident management software to keep their people safe, informed, and connected during critical events - and, thankfully, decision-makers are starting to take note. The Business Continuity Institute 2020 Emergency Communications Report found that 67% of organizations at least use emergency notification and/or crisis management tools. Reliable risk intelligence system Building upon that trend, a reliable risk intelligence system can anticipate and analyze the potential impact of incidents, such as increases in local cases of COVID-19, send vital updates to a distributed workforce of any size on multiple devices regarding infectious disease mitigation protocols and public health directives, and then help incident response teams virtually collaborate while maintaining compliance standards. Automating as much of this process as possible through technology allows human decision makers to efficiently and effectively focus their time, effort and expertise on what matters most in a crisis situation - implementing sound operational continuity strategies and, more importantly, ensuring employees’ safety and well-being are prioritized and appropriately considered when stress rises. Communicating vital updates This is the cultural component of incident management based on emotional intelligence, empathy, effective employee engagement, and authentic listening that makes or breaks an organization’s response to challenging situations. Employees must be aware at a moment’s notice to stay away from or exit contaminated areas If employees are exposed in the workplace to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, employers must be prepared to quickly update staff on vital next steps, as outlined by the CDC and other public health authorities, and arm key functions - such as security operations, HR, facility management, legal and compliance - with the information they need to mitigate potential spread of the virus, including: Closing/cleaning the office: Employees must be aware at a moment’s notice to stay away from or exit contaminated areas. From there, it is critical that businesses communicate clearly with cleaning staff to follow procedure, use the right disinfecting products and sanitise high-touch surfaces. Alerting key groups that may have been exposed: Employers have a duty to rapidly notify workers of potential exposure to COVID-19. Having the proper communication infrastructure in place can streamline contact-tracing as well as the subsequent testing process, and save vital time. Ensuring work-from-home continuity or diverting workflows to alternative physical environments: Every work environment looks different today. Whether an organization is managing a distributed workforce, full-capacity essential workers or something in between, there needs be a communication system in place to ensure business continuity. Outlining next steps for reopening: After a potential exposure, employees require the proper reassurance that they will be returning to a safe working environment in an organized, thoughtful manner, which is aligned to public health best practices. Whether it is coordinating a limited capacity return to the office or outlining new infectious disease mitigation protocols - such as steps for receiving a vaccine in the coming months - employees must continue to be updated quickly, comprehensively, and often. Incident management technology There is no doubt that organizations will continue to face a myriad of challenges as they navigate business operations during the pandemic into 2021, as the general public awaits the broad deployment of a vaccine. Public and private sector leaders still have months ahead of them before daily operations even begin to resemble “business as usual.” To best prepare for the next chapter of the global pandemic, organizations should outline a plan tailored to infectious disease mitigation protocols; explore augmenting their crisis management policies with risk intelligence, crisis management and incident management technology; and focus employee communications on containing and rapidly resolving events associated with COVID-19 exposure. Keeping employees safe, informed, and connected during critical events are mandatory considerations for leaders as they analyze existential threats to their business in 2021 and beyond.
Several major players vigorously employ biometric recognition technologies around the globe. Governments use biometrics to control immigration, security, and create national databases of biometric profiles. Being one of the most striking examples, the Indian Aadhaar includes face photos, iris, and fingerprints of about 1.2 billion people. Financial institutions, on their part, make use of biometrics to protect transactions by confirming a client's identity, as well as develop and provide services without clients visiting the office. Besides, biometric technology ensures security and optimizes passenger traffic at transport facilities and collects data about customers, and investigates theft and other incidents in retail stores. Widespread use of biometrics Business, which suddenly boosted the development of biometrics, is an active user of biometric technology Business, which suddenly boosted the development of biometrics, is another active user of biometric technology. Industries choose biometric systems, as these systems are impossible to trick in terms of security, access control, and data protection. Being in demand in business, these three tasks are also relevant for the industry. However, the use of biometrics at industrial sites is discussed unfairly seldom. Therefore, it is the face identification that is the most convenient there, as workers often use gloves, or their hands may be contaminated, and the palm pattern is distorted by heavy labor. All these features make it difficult to recognize people by fingerprints or veins and significantly reduce identification reliability. Therefore, industries seek facial recognition solutions. Thus, let us demonstrate the application of face recognition technology at different enterprises, regardless of the area. Facial recognition use in incident management Facial biometric products are known to automate and improve the efficiency of security services by enriching any VMS system. These systems provide an opportunity of instantly informing the operator about recognized or unrecognized people, and their list membership, as well as save all the detected images for further security incident investigation. Furthermore, some sophisticated facial biometric systems even provide an opportunity to build a map of the movements of specific people around a site. Besides, it is relevant not only for conducting investigations but also in countering the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Identifying and tracking COVID-19 positive cases Therefore, if an employee or visitor with a positive COVID-19 test enters a facility, the system will help to track his/her movement and identify his/her specific location. It will also help to take the necessary measures for spot sanitary processing. Thus, the introduction of biometric facial recognition at the industrial enterprise can improve and speed up the incidents’ response and investigations without spending hours watching the video archive. Access control system to secure physical assets The right access control system can help industries secure physical and informational assets The right access control system can help industries secure physical and informational assets, cut personnel costs, and keep employees safe. Facial recognition systems may enrich access control systems of any company by providing more security. As biometric characteristics, by which the system assesses the compliance of a person with the available profiles in the database, cannot be faked or passed. The human factor is also reduced to zero, due to the fact that while identity documents can be changed, the inspector can make a mistake or treat his/her task carelessly, be in collusion with an intruder, the biometric system simply compares a person in front of the camera with the biometric profiles database. Biometric facial identification software For example, RecFaces product Id-Gate, a specialized software product for reliable access control to the site, checks the access rights by using biometric facial identification alone or in conjunction with traditional IDs (electronic passes, access keys, etc.), which means that there is almost a zero probability of passing to the site by someone else's ID. The access control system’s functionality allows one to strictly account the number and time of all the facility’s visitors and also track their movement. When unauthorized access is attempted or a person from the stop list is detected, Id-Gate sends an automatic notification to the access control system and operator. Enhanced data and information security Even despite the division of access to different industrial enterprise areas, the security service needs to provide independent information system security. Employees with the same facility access rights may have different access rights to data. However, in that case, a personal password is not enough, as an employee may forget it, write it down and leave it as a reminder, tell a colleague to do something for him/her during the vacation, or just enter it at another person’s presence. Password-free biometric authentication systems make the procedure user-friendly and secure Password-free biometric authentication Password-free biometric authentication systems make the procedure user-friendly and secure. Such systems usually provide an option of two-step verification when successful password entry is additionally confirmed by biometric recognition. Hence, it is particularly relevant due to the current lockdown in many countries. To sum up, the application of biometric technologies solves several issues of the industry, such as: Optimizes and partially automates the work of the security service, as it provides reliable identification and verification of visitors/employees, reduces the amount of time spent on finding a person on video and making a map of his/her movements, without spending hours on watching video archive in case of investigation. Provides a high level of reliability and protection from unauthorized access to the enterprise and the information system. Provides a two-step verification of the user/visitor (including password and biometric data) and almost eliminates the risk of substitution of user data/ID.
This year has brought about changes in virtually every sector. As with other frontline industries, the security sector has been tested more than those able to move entirely to remote working. While the promise of a vaccine means an end is in sight, the post-COVID era will not bring with it a return to the ‘normal’ we knew before the pandemic. Organizations have adapted, becoming more resilient and agile and this will have lasting effects. The coming months will continue to be testing. The tiered system will see the precautions in place fluctuate with the situation. Initial lockdown period At the same time, a gradual return to normal as the vaccine is rolled out will require adaptive measures. The security sector will be at the heart of keeping people safe throughout this process. The initial lockdown period and the first wave of panic buying might seem like a lifetime ago. However, the introduction of the second lockdown in November was accompanied by another wave of stockpiling despite organizations trying to reassure their customers. It is uncertainty that breeds anxiety, and we continue to see this as the restrictions fluctuate across the country. The tier system depends upon a number of factors: case detection rate, how quickly case numbers are rising or falling, positive COVID-19 test numbers in the general population, pressure on the NHS in that region, and local context and exceptional circumstances. Social distancing measures For the sector to meet demand, technology will be needed to work alongside the manned guarding role While travel is allowed in all tiers if necessary for work, government advice still recommends that those able to work from home should do so. This means that throughout the country, many buildings will remain empty or at minimal capacity for some time to come. Security risks vary with the restrictions in each area. Although shops are largely open, tier three still requires the closure of many premises. Vacant premises are more vulnerable to theft and damage, meaning officers and security technology remain in higher demand than usual. As more premises are allowed to open, the need for officers to implement social distancing measures increases, stretching the sector like never before. For the sector to meet demand, technology will be needed to work alongside the manned guarding role. Temperature checking devices It will continue to be important in providing security when officers cannot be present in person through CCTV and sensors. But it will also be integrated into the manned guarding role to streamline processes. We are already seeing the start of this as many officers are using handheld temperature checking devices to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We’ll also see temperature scanners installed into buildings to allow security guards to focus on other priorities. Those businesses that are open will need to continue to adapt to the changing regulations in the coming months. Christmas is a busy period that stretches the retail sector. Unpredictability results in heightened stress levels and makes it more difficult for people to reliably take in and recall information. Security officers are a key first point of contact both to enforce measures and reassure anxious staff and members of the public. Enforcing one-Way systems Security staff will need to keep members of the public safe and prevent disruption Some shops are enforcing one-way systems and limiting the number of customers allowed inside. Over Christmas, many more may choose to do so. Security officers will be responsible for ensuring these precautions are followed. With the heightened pressure of the festive period, it can be hard to predict how members of the public will respond to officers enforcing measures. Security staff will need to keep members of the public safe and prevent disruption. Doing so will require tact and empathy in dealing with customers. Within shops, too, officers will be tasked with ensuring social distancing and other measures are followed effectively. Doing so, they must work closely with clients to understand what protocols are in place and how to handle a breach. They must also be able to enact discretion. For example, clients may not take issue with protocols being broken momentarily or accidentally. Extensive government guidance There is extensive government guidance on the precautions that should be taken on various premises. They include the introduction of one-way systems and limiting building capacity. Measures such as one-way systems may be broken by those that don’t notice or don’t care. Officers must be able to judge what responses are appropriate while maintaining a calm and reassuring presence. The security officer role has long been moving toward a more front of house position as, for many visitors to a building, they are the first point of contact. The pandemic has accelerated this trend. Working on the frontline of the pandemic, officers have had to play a more multifaceted role than ever before. Officers still act as deterrents and manage security issues, but they must also use empathy and strong communication skills to inform and reassure customers and staff onsite. Adapting to new technology They will need to be able to learn quickly on the job and adapt to new technology and practices Being able to demonstrate this flexibility and to read a situation and react appropriately will be some of the skills most in demand in the industry in the future. Officers will need to build close working relationships with clients. In addition, many will have new roles, such as taking temperatures with handheld devices. They will need to be able to learn quickly on the job and adapt to new technology and practices. Technology, too, will be more important. If the global pandemic has driven any point home, it is that we cannot always see or sense threats. Data-Driven insights Temperature checks and occupancy sensors will be the norm in protecting from COVID, while security technology and data-driven insights will continue to grow in popularity. The security sector specializes in adapting to the unexpected and the threatening. It continues to demonstrate incredible value through the pandemic. While the coming months will undoubtedly be trying, the sector is adapting. Lessons have been learned from the pandemic that will affect business globally. Security specialists are taking these on and creating a stronger and more effective industry.
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