Twitter has around 350 million active users a month, all eagerly posting 280-character “tweets” about the world around them. It’s a vast amount of data from all over the globe.

Security professionals have begun to appreciate the value of mining all that data for insights to help them protect people, assets and operations. One company leveraging the Twitterverse to provide real-time situational awareness to corporate security end users is Dataminr.Dataminr assembles this information flow into a useful timeline that summarizes the ongoing sequence of events

Algorithms For Actionable Security Signals

The New York-based technology company has developed algorithms that comb through the full Twitter dataset to provide actionable signals to security professionals around the world about security-related events as they unfold. For corporate security, early information about an unfolding event enables them to take action faster in order to secure their people, locations and business operations.

 “OMG! Just heard a loud bang on the quad,” a tweet might declare. Combined with location information gleaned from a cell phone, such a tweet could be the first indicator of an unfolding security incident.

As an event unfolds, hundreds of such tweets are likely to be posted from the surrounding areas, collectively offering a running narrative of developing events. Dataminr assembles this information flow into a useful timeline that summarises the ongoing sequence of events. Many times, tweets are the first information available from an incident even before the arrival of first responders.Dataminr’s information is provided in a variety of platforms, from a web-based dashboard to a mobile app or notification via email

Early notification allows security professionals to be more proactive,” says Dillon Twombly, SVP, Corporate Sales at Dataminr. “We have a broad range of users across Fortune 1000 companies, and also including country security managers, security operations centers, and executive protection.

"In retail, we provide information for security operations or loss prevention. Events sometimes have a potential to spin out of control, and we allow security professionals to react faster and get ahead of an event proactively.

Various Security Platforms

Dataminr’s information is provided in a variety of platforms, from a web-based dashboard to a mobile app or notification via email. The system can be integrated with a company’s workflow, and the software interfaces with various security platforms, such as physical security information management (PSIM) systems.

Dataminr’s information is provided in a variety of platforms, from a web-based dashboard to a mobile app or notification via email
Another corporate use for Dataminr is in public relations, where social media could be a source of misinformation or rumors about an issue or event

Dataminr addresses all regulatory and legal concerns, and it is GDPR-compliant. However, privacy is generally not a big concern because Twitter data is posted publicly, and Dataminr gleans information related to a specific event, not a specific Twitter user’s individual data.

Over the past couple of years, we have grown the security vertical,” says Twombly. “The market is receptive to the value of social media as a tool for users tasked with responding in a comprehensive way to a range of issues.The company’s services are useful across the full range of vertical markets in the security industry

Public Safety And Security

In addition to security and public safety applications, Dataminr also provides services to financial companies and even media outlets. In fact, the 9-year-old company started in finance, where stock or currency traders were able to leverage breaking news notifications to make decisions faster. In the media vertical, Dataminr provides information to 500 newsrooms globally.

Public safety and security uses have evolved, and Twombly currently spearheads the company’s work in corporate security, calling on his experience in the security world. Another corporate use for Dataminr is in public relations, where social media could be a source of misinformation or rumors about an issue or event.Customers can customize the kind of information they want to receive, and Dataminr algorithms use the full publicly available data set of Twitter

Tracking Twitter posts enables a company to get ahead of an evolving story and help to shape the narrative. Twombly says Dataminr has “deep and broad relationships” with corporate customers and delivers information that can possibly be used by multiple departments in an organization.

The company’s services are useful across the full range of vertical markets in the security industry, from transportation to major industrials to financial services to energy. In the education vertical, major universities are customers, as are local school districts.

Customers can customize the kind of information they want to receive, and Dataminr algorithms use the full publicly available data set of Twitter. Twombly says the company’s software is constantly evolving and being fine-tuned in response to changing needs. Dataminr is a “strategic partner” of the social media giant and works closely with them on product development, he adds.

Download PDF version

Author profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SecurityInformed.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SecurityInformed's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

In case you missed it

What Is The Value Of Remotely Monitoring A System's Health And Operation?
What Is The Value Of Remotely Monitoring A System's Health And Operation?

When is it too late to learn that a video camera isn’t working properly? As any security professional will tell you, it’s too late when you find that the system has failed to capture critical video. And yet, for many years, system administrators “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” And when they found out, it was too late, and the system failed to perform as intended. Fortunately, in today’s technology-driven networked environment, monitoring a system’s health is much easier, and a variety of systems can be deployed to ensure the integrity of a system’s operation. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can remote monitoring of a security system’s health and operation impact integrators and end users?

Importance Of Establishing Security Standards For K12 School Security
Importance Of Establishing Security Standards For K12 School Security

As we approach National Safe Schools Week (October 21-27), it is appropriate for a conversation to begin regarding establishing standards for K12 school security. Currently no standards exist for assisting schools navigate the complexity of understanding what they need, how much it will cost and how they will secure their learning environments. Security Industry Experts The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) is one of the organizations at the forefront of establishing security standards for schools. In 2014, the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) formed PASS, which brought together a cross functional group of members including school officials, safe schools’ consultants, law enforcement and security industry experts to collaborate and develop a coordinated approach to protecting K-12 students and staff. School administrators are often contacted repeatedly by organizations with multiple safety and security products PASS has provided valuable insights regarding an ‘All Hazards’ approach to school safety and security. In fact, PASS suggests that school administrators are challenged with two decisions: Determining what they need to do How to prioritize Safe School Environment School administrators are experts in running schools and providing education. However, most are not security experts and do not understand the complexity of implementing a comprehensive physical security and safety program across their districts. Still, they are often contacted repeatedly by organizations with multiple safety and security products. School administrators are experts in running schools and providing education, but most are not security experts  Some of these organizations recognize their products are just pieces of a safe school environment puzzle and how they fit in, whereas others focus on specific applications and do not understand how their specific solutions may affect life safety codes and Americans with Disabilities Act law. (Note: Many ‘barricade devices’ fall into this latter category and actually introduce liability concerns with the unintended consequences of their use.)Schools incorporate evacuation drills as part of their emergency preparedness plans and practice on a regular basis Even for experts, the plethora of options and disparate systems required to integrate a safety and security approach at schools is daunting. The ongoing challenge is integrating access control, video, mass notification, and/or visitor management products into a single, effective, and appropriate system the owner can understand, utilize, and afford and that meet local codes and ADA laws. In the absence of standards, schools are likely to amass a collection of devices that do not constitute a comprehensive solution. Lack Of Consensus In years past, the our industry and commercial buildings adhered to legacy codes – like Building Officials and Code Administrators International Inc. (BOCA), Uniform Building Code (UBC), Southern Building Code Congress International Inc. (SBBCI), and International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) – which have traditionally been revised every three years, while local jurisdictions decided what versions to adopt and enforce. Currently, however, there is a move toward the International Building Code (IBC), which is published by the International Code Council (ICC) and includes standards and guidance for commercial buildings on doors, windows, and other openings. A risk assessment is the next step toward developing a comprehensive security plan, and begins with developing a trend analysis Still, despite this migration of codes from a patchwork of local decisions to global guidelines, there remains a lack of consensus around school security. The current fragmented approach causes confusion regarding how new schools are designed and how to retrofit existing school buildings, whose average age is 45+ years. Right Protection Equipment One can point to the fact that there hasn’t been one student lost in a school fire in over 50 years as testament to standards like NFPA 80 and NFPA 101 being referenced in model building codes. Additionally, schools incorporate evacuation drills as part of their emergency preparedness plans and practice on a regular basis. It’s not just having the right protection equipment in the building, it’s also having a procedural layer in place to make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in the event of fire. The stress of the actual event can limit ones’ ability to think clearly. Practice makes perfect. Why would we approach school security any differently? School security is a team effort, and it is important to understand all the areas security impacts and involves School security is a team effort. It is important to understand all the areas security impacts and involves. PASS suggests starting with a basic team consisting of: Security Director Local Law Enforcement School Administrator Integrator Door and Hardware Consultant IT Director Comprehensive Security Plan Quantifying and mitigating risk are the jobs of security professionals and school administratorsA risk assessment is the next step toward developing a comprehensive security plan. This often begins with conducting a trend analysis requiring the collection of data from a variety of public and private sources. The challenge is to pull these pieces into a usable and easily understood format that provides a guide for current and future risk concerns. Risk assessment and mitigation can never eliminate risk. Quantifying and mitigating risk are the jobs of security professionals and school administrators. Data from the following sources can help measure risk: Campus: Review incident report trends for at least the past 36 months. Area and city: Review crime data from local law enforcement for the surrounding neighborhood and city. Screening procedures: How is hiring conducted? Anonymous tip reporting systems: Enabling students, staff members, parents and the community to anonymously alert administrators to perceived and actual threats. Social media monitoring: such monitoring can provide important information that can be used to identify risks. Monitoring social media could help measure risk for school safety Delay Adversarial Behaviors These assessments can then be incorporated into the best practice approach of Layered Security. Layered security combines best practice components within each layer that effectively deter, detect and delay adversarial behaviors. Layered security works from the outside in. As one layer is bypassed, another layer provides an additional level of protection. The asset being protected is at the center of the layers – students, staff and authorized visitors. PASS defines five layers of Security:As one layer is bypassed, another layer provides an additional level of protection District Wide Property Perimeter Parking Lot Perimeter Building Perimeter Classroom/Interior Perimeter Appropriate Tier Target Each layer can be broken down into Tier levels with Tier 1 being basic and Tier 4 being the highest level of security. It is important to understand that the demographics of individual school buildings varies, even within the same district. Security experts will quickly point out that ‘if you’ve seen one school, you’ve seen one school’. The assessments will determine the appropriate Tier target. Figure 1 Each layer includes essential protective elements, or components, of security. Every layer does not necessarily include all seven of these common components, and a layer may include additional components unique to that particular layer. Safety And Security Components Policies & Procedures People (roles & training) Architectural Communication Access Control Video Surveillance Detection and Alarms Layered Security While components are not listed in a priority order, three components included in all layers are policies and procedures, the roles and training of people, and communication. These components often perform a function in every layer and every tier in each layer. Three tools come together in the PASS approach as outlined in the new 4th Edition of the PASS Guidelines (Figure 2) - the Layers are established and defined, a Checklist/Assessment breaks down each layer into tiered best practices which then tie into the guidelines where a narrative explains each best practice in more detail. Figure 2  Schools need not reinvent the wheel when it comes to school security planning. Following the best practices of Risk Assessments and Layered Security will ensure that every school building in a district will have a unique and comprehensive plan that is tailored to their individual needs.

What Is The Changing Role Of Training In The Security Industry?
What Is The Changing Role Of Training In The Security Industry?

Even the most advanced and sophisticated security systems are limited in their effectiveness by a factor that is common to all systems – the human factor. How effectively integrators install systems and how productively users interface with their systems both depend largely on how well individual people are trained. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the changing role of training in the security and video surveillance market?