CSM has dramatically improved visibility and control over its security operations with the adoption of employee scheduling and workforce management software SmartTask.

Following a period of rapid expansion, the company needed to replace existing paper-based systems, so that it could better monitor and coordinate a team of around 100 security guards that work across Scotland. This has enabled CSM to improve service delivery, enhance duty of care and support business development while reducing its administrative burden by up to 35 hours a month.

Highly-Competitive marketplace

We have expanded our business to service over 200 sites on behalf of a diverse range of customers"

We have expanded our business to service over 200 sites on behalf of a diverse range of customers, so we recognized that we had outgrown many of our existing manual systems,” explains Martin Heneaghan, Managing Director of CSM Facilities Management.

We not only needed a software solution that would automate and streamline these processes but also help us differentiate our offering within what is a highly-competitive marketplace. SmartTask is helping us transform our operation by delivering on these demands and offering huge opportunities moving forward.” Since the adoption of SmartTask, security staff now book on/off shifts and submit check calls via an automated telephone system using secure PIN codes. This is helping the company to capture precise time and attendance data to monitor the status of all frontline employees as they start, finish and complete work.

Scannable NFC checkpoint tags

CSM is planning to roll-out the SmartTask app so that staff can use a smartphone quickly confirm attendance along with a GPS timestamp. The company is also using scannable NFC checkpoint tags for a number of contracts for patrol monitoring and proof of attendance for supervisors.

Work schedules have been communicated to staff either verbally or via text

The intelligent rostering tool is enabling CSM’s central operations team to increase the speed and efficiency of workforce scheduling. As a result, the company quickly creates highly accurate rosters that automatically factor in holidays, available working hours and personal staff preferences. Work schedules have been communicated to staff either verbally or via text, but with the roll-out of the SmartTask app, staff members will soon be able to receive and confirm their individual schedules using a smartphone.

Enhance performance monitoring

Jack White, Operations Manager of CSM Facilities Management, commented: “By automating many of our manual, paper-based processes we have been able to massively streamline the management of our security teams, saving both time and money. It has also proven to be invaluable for internal reporting and customer communication because of its ability to electronically capture accurate operational data while minimizing the risk of human error.”

The advanced reporting functionality has allowed CSM to enhance performance monitoring

The advanced reporting functionality has allowed CSM to enhance performance monitoring, both internally and for customers. A range of reports are automatically generated on a weekly, and monthly basis, so critical data can be shared with the finance, HR and senior management teams. Meanwhile, a web portal has been launched and already set-up for a number of customers so that they can view real-time and historical performance data for their cleaning or security operation.

Coordinating security requirements

CSM is also using SmartTask’s 24/7 virtual control room service to monitor missed shifts, check-calls, and any operational alerts. This has replaced an in-house control room and out-of-hours monitoring solution that was costly and difficult to manage. The managed service is providing the company with complete peace of mind that staffs are safe day or night while ensuring that customers are receiving the highest levels of service.

SmartTask is having a dramatic impact on how our central operations team, based at our Glasgow headquarters, is able to coordinate security requirements. The software has given us added visibility and control while freeing up time so we can make best use of the insight provided to target service and efficiency improvements. Moving forward, controlled access will also be given to supervisors and operations managers with live monitoring and reports linked to their areas of responsibility,” adds White.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security
Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security

At an Oldsmar, Fla., water treatment facility on Feb. 5, an operator watched a computer screen as someone remotely accessed the system monitoring the water supply and increased the amount of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. The chemical, also known as lye, is used in small concentrations to control acidity in the water. In larger concentrations, the compound is poisonous – the same corrosive chemical used to eat away at clogged drains. The impact of cybersecurity attacks The incident is the latest example of how cybersecurity attacks can translate into real-world, physical security consequences – even deadly ones.Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. The computer system was set up to allow remote access only to authorized users. The source of the unauthorized access is unknown. However, the attacker was only in the system for 3 to 5 minutes, and an operator corrected the concentration back to 100 parts per million soon after. It would have taken a day or more for contaminated water to enter the system. In the end, the city’s water supply was not affected. There were other safeguards in place that would have prevented contaminated water from entering the city’s water supply, which serves around 15,000 residents. The remote access used for the attack was disabled pending an investigation by the FBI, Secret Service and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. On Feb. 2, a compilation of breached usernames and passwords, known as COMB for “Compilation of Many Breaches,” was leaked online. COMB contains 3.2 billion unique email/password pairs. It was later discovered that the breach included the credentials for the Oldsmar water plant. Water plant attacks feared for years Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that the attempt to poison the water supply should be treated as a “matter of national security.” “The incident at the Oldsmar water treatment plant is a reminder that our nation’s critical infrastructure is continually at risk; not only from nation-state attackers, but also from malicious actors with unknown motives and goals,” comments Mieng Lim, VP of Product Management at Digital Defense Inc., a provider of vulnerability management and threat assessment solutions.The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online “Our dependency on critical infrastructure – power grids, utilities, water supplies, communications, financial services, emergency services, etc. – on a daily basis emphasizes the need to ensure the systems are defended against any adversary,” Mieng Lim adds. “Proactive security measures are crucial to safeguard critical infrastructure systems when perimeter defenses have been compromised or circumvented. We have to get back to the basics – re-evaluate and rebuild security protections from the ground up.” "This event reinforces the increasing need to authenticate not only users, but the devices and machine identities that are authorized to connect to an organization's network,” adds Chris Hickman, Chief Security Officer at digital identity security vendor Keyfactor. “If your only line of protection is user authentication, it will be compromised. It's not necessarily about who connects to the system, but what that user can access once they're inside. "If the network could have authenticated the validity of the device connecting to the network, the connection would have failed because hackers rarely have possession of authorized devices. This and other cases of hijacked user credentials can be limited or mitigated if devices are issued strong, crypto-derived, unique credentials like a digital certificate. In this case, it looks like the network had trust in the user credential but not in the validity of the device itself. Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is what can happen when zero trust is your end state, not your beginning point." “The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online for the first time as part of digital transformation projects,” says Gareth Williams, Vice President - Secure Communications & Information Systems, Thales UK. “While the move towards greater automation and connected switches and control systems brings unprecedented opportunities, it is not without risk, as anything that is brought online immediately becomes a target to be hacked.” Operational technology to mitigate attacks Williams advises organizations to approach Operational Technology as its own entity and put in place procedures that mitigate against the impact of an attack that could ultimately cost lives. This means understanding what is connected, who has access to it and what else might be at risk should that system be compromised, he says. “Once that is established, they can secure access through protocols like access management and fail-safe systems.”  “The cyberattack against the water supply in Oldsmar should come as a wakeup call,” says Saryu Nayyar, CEO, Gurucul.  “Cybersecurity professionals have been talking about infrastructure vulnerabilities for years, detailing the potential for attacks like this, and this is a near perfect example of what we have been warning about,” she says.  Although this attack was not successful, there is little doubt a skilled attacker could execute a similar infrastructure attack with more destructive results, says Nayyar. Organizations tasked with operating and protecting critical public infrastructure must assume the worst and take more serious measures to protect their environments, she advises. Fortunately, there were backup systems in place in Oldsmar. What could have been a tragedy instead became a cautionary tale. Both physical security and cybersecurity professionals should pay attention.

What Are The Positive And Negative Effects Of COVID-19 To Security?
What Are The Positive And Negative Effects Of COVID-19 To Security?

The COVID-19 global pandemic had a life-changing impact on all of us in 2020, including a multi-faceted jolt on the physical security industry. With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see more clearly the exact nature and extent of that impact. And it’s not over yet: The pandemic will continue to be top-of-mind in 2021. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What have been the positive and negative effects of Covid-19 on the physical security industry in 2020? What impact will it have on 2021?

Expert Roundup: Healthy Buildings, Blockchain, AI, Skilled Workers, And More
Expert Roundup: Healthy Buildings, Blockchain, AI, Skilled Workers, And More

Our Expert Panel Roundtable is an opinionated group. However, for a variety of reasons, we are sometimes guilty of not publishing their musings in a timely manner. At the end of 2020, we came across several interesting comments among those that were previously unpublished. Following is a catch-all collection of those responses, addressing some of the most current and important issues in the security marketplace in 2021.