Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

Author Bio ▼

James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
January 29, 2020

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The value of security operation centres in transportation

Alan Stoddard, Vice President and General Manager, Situational Intelligence Solutions at Verint, offers his insight into why security operation centres (SOC), should be implemented for any organisation involved in the transportation sector.

When people are traveling – whether it’s a short trip to work or a vacation across the country – they are fortunate to have a wide variety of options to choose from. On a larger scale, these transportation methods also play a critical role in day-to-day activities that underpin economic and social stability. The effective transport of goods and products across state and country lines is paramount to facilitating a thriving global economy — one that relies on these items to reach their destinations in a safe and efficient manner.

It is therefore critical that these intricate and interconnected transportation systems leverage the appropriate technology to protect citizens and prevent disruption. Individuals, equipment, and cargo must be secured and protected at every step of the way and doing so depends on highly complex and often sprawling landscapes. The pathways used for travel, like roads or railways, for example, need to be monitored constantly to ensure they are clear and running smoothly. Hubs, such as a train station or airport, must oversee a variety of operations, from technical maintenance to passenger transport, to retail. A ferry terminal’s perimeter detection must incorporate water elements, while a train station has to ensure that the railways leading toward or away from the station aren’t tampered with or obstructed.


All forms of transportation need to have the right systems in place to protect what matters most: travelers, employees, and assets. The transportation industry also faces an inherent risk of terrorism and other threats and vulnerabilities, whether they are internal or external, intentional or accidental. IT system integrity, as well as environmental and structural factors are always top of mind. While the exact requirements may vary, all of these environments demand a comprehensive and intelligent security solution that can bring together various elements and associate events to improve situational intelligence.

To achieve this goal, transportation entities can leverage systems such as video surveillance and management, advanced analytics, a unifying command and control platform, and next generation mobile technologies.

VMS and analytics

A sophisticated, video-centric security strategy that integrates a variety of security controls and video management software (VMS) can be crucial in detecting and mitigating security concerns.  Analytics engines that have access to metadata layers across security platforms and devices can catch precipitating factors for key incidents, making an organisation’s security posture more proactive. The ability to correlate events across different security and IT infrastructures and then geographically locate vulnerabilities is crucial in providing a quick and effective event response. With intricate and often multi-tiered environments, a VMS in the transportation sector needs to have clear and efficient ways of communicating geographic information, such as through representing alarm and system information on a visual map of the premises.

In addition to security threats, transportation networks face logistical concerns every day, with items that need to be appropriately monitored and addressed in order to keep operations running smoothly. An advanced VMS can be instrumental in the investigation of equipment breakdown to diagnose operational problems or monitor device health, and a properly set up command center will be poised to act quickly on these matters.

The unified command and control centre

An intelligent security operations centre (ISOC) has three key functions: aggregating data, accurately analysing it and acting upon it. The more data is associated in meaningful ways, the more informed a course of action can be during a security incident or suspicious event. The best way to increase intelligence and improve situational awareness is to connect data from different systems. An abnormal motion sensor alert could mean a variety of things, but when that incident is paired with video system data and access control information, it illustrates a more complete picture of the event in progress.

A command centre gathers and connects data points, but it is the operator that uses it to make a decision. It takes an intelligent system to present and define the right types and amounts of data so that an operator can make the best decision, instead of being under-informed or distracted with unnecessary information.

The link between intelligence and action

The next step to ensuring the ultimate level of protection is connecting the intelligence that’s gathered and analysed in a SOC with response teams. Organisations require comprehensive emergency dispatch solutions that enable situational awareness, faster and more efficient emergency response, and enhanced communications. Operators also require the ability to connect and interact with data points, while also managing the event response.

By leveraging next-generation mobile technologies within an intelligent SOC, security teams can share relevant and real-time security information with first responders and other resources, making for a safer and more efficient action plan during security incidents. Combining situational awareness and mobile dispatch allows the user to oversee an entire situation and direct the full spectrum of the organisation’s response. This element can also include citizen engagement, helping to convey status updates and facilitate bi-directional information flow for optimised collaborations.

The complete picture

The tactics of utilising technology and considering how all the pieces of an application work synchronously is applicable in more environments than transportation. A key lesson to note is that transportation networks are a prime example of many security technologies in high-stress and continually changing threat landscapes. These applications exemplify how organisations need to utilise and monitor a variety of technologies to support the end goals of safety and business continuity. Ultimately, all organisations are tasked with protecting the employees, patrons, and merchandise in their charge.

The technologies primed to revolutionise transportation security

Technology provides a valuable tool in helping security leaders identify threats and be more proactive in the effort to increase safety. Here are some of the top solutions primed to enhance situational intelligence in this area.

Video-based command and control: The heart of any unified security command center is an enterprise-grade video management platform. Modern offerings incorporate rich functionality including GIS maps, sophisticated event management and investigation engines, and extensive integrations to security sub-systems. Basing your SOC operations on video data enables intelligent, data-driven security management and response while simplifying operations and reducing costs.

Mobile dispatch: Emergency communications platforms unify disparate command center technologies and security staff by fusing critical data inputs from emergency calls, on-scene responder activity and even citizen-captured videos to drive pinpoint response and enhance situational awareness. Organisations can oversee a situation and direct the full spectrum of the field response. Situational awareness and command and control is transformed to an optimised level and is intelligence driven.

Situational awareness solutions: An intelligent security operations platform provides a single view of security efforts to drive incident management, workflow, and dispatch throughout global operations. Operators gain greater insight into what’s happening around them and drive faster and more efficient response to incidents when they occur, reducing any negative impact on businesses, citizens and visitors. The ability to streamlined information sharing with partnering agencies, businesses and citizens is also highly beneficial.

You can find out all about security in the transport sector at The Transport Security Show, taking place on 21 May, at IFSEC International.

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