Regardless of age, size or industry, businesses today are facing a rapidly evolving risk landscape that challenges all types of security operations. From the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather events to geopolitical tensions and the rise in cyber-physical risks, security leaders and teams are being asked to take on more than just their core traditional physical security responsibilities.
As such, smaller security teams, which frequently have fewer resources, may find it increasingly difficult to protect their organization and its assets. While a larger and more mature team may have more manpower, tools and specialized roles to tackle high-impact events and emerging risks, a security team of two to three often has limited capacity to identify, manage and address risks.
Imagine you’re a security leader of a team of three, who oversees a retail brand that has dozens—if not hundreds—of locations. When a risk incident occurs, be it a string of thefts, or an extreme weather event, it might be nearly impossible for you to respond as fast and effectively as you could have if you had had more resources.
Here is where advanced technology tools like Dataminr Pulse, our real-time alerting solution, prove vital to enabling small security functions to better protect their people and assets. Pulse can be a force multiplier in helping teams do much more with less. With over 250,000 public data sources, our artificial intelligence (AI) platform processes billions of units of information daily to detect early indicators of risk that are often difficult to manually search for and identify—particularly when your security team has very few members. Think of it as an additional automated set of eyes that helps increase your threat visibility.
Let’s go back to the retail example. During the November 2021 smash-and-grab robberies at several retail stores across California, Dataminr notified customers to every instance, ensuring they had immediate situational awareness and could swiftly restrict access to their stores. Security leaders and loss prevention managers used this real-time information to monitor the events as they occurred and unfolded, and lock down their assets in close proximity. The real-time information we provided also leveraged data from local eyewitnesses and verified reporters to help security teams escalate awareness and inform company executives.
Without that real-time data, it might have been challenging for even a large security team to have control of the situation due to the sudden and random nature of the smash-and-grab crimes. In order for security leaders—regardless of their operational size—to mitigate the risk impact, deploy effective responses and maintain business continuity, it’s crucial that they have the right information at the right time.
Even when there’s not an active risk, businesses now face an unprecedented security challenge: they need to protect a workforce that’s more dispersed than ever before. While employees used to be based at specific offices, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to adopt a remote or hybrid work model. Their employees and data are now located in various cities across the country or even the globe.
It usually takes a well-staffed security team to manage these geographically distributed employees. With Pulse real-time alerts’ wide range of coverage and personalization capabilities, which allow you to tailor alerts to your business needs, your team of three can still protect employees in an extremely streamlined and cost-effective manner with the existing manpower.
However, we at Dataminr understand that small security teams might find it challenging to operationalize and act on real-time alerts, especially in high-stress situations. This is where Pulse’s geovisualization and collaboration workflow capabilities can make it easier for them.
Through geovisualization, your team can use rich visual data to quickly determine when risks are occurring near your personnel, facilities, assets and supply chain—and seamlessly visualize your organization's footprint to better assess the full scope of potential business disruptions. With this visual context, teams can take action faster and more proactively.
In addition, Pulse makes it simple to collaborate and manage your response to an incident, event or threat so you can move quickly from discovery to decision-making. When an incident occurs, you can activate customizable operational playbooks—which consist of predetermined actions that can be delegated to team members—to easily enable instant coordination and communication.
Identifying and mitigating risk can be expensive, and without a recent, costly internal case study to point to, security leaders and teams can face an uphill battle in making a business case for more resources. It's not a unique problem for small security teams. However, it’s clear that with an expanding and changing threat landscape, small teams are often overstretched.
They don’t have enough capacity to find and sift through the massive pool of information that can give them the earliest signals of an emerging risk. And we know that can lead to dire consequences for a business and its assets if threats are not detected or responded to in time.
If you’re the head of a small security team, it’s important to remember that, when equipped with the right technology and tools, you can better help your company preserve its bottom line. When speaking to senior leadership, you should be able to demonstrate the value of real-time information.
For example, it helps you quickly identify and mitigate potential risks and disruptions before they occur or soon thereafter—allowing you to maintain business continuity and strengthen resilience when confronted with an extreme weather event or social unrest near or in the areas in which you operate. It can also enable you to do more with less and improve efficiency by automating key parts of your security process.
Read more: Determine ROI of Real-time Information
Ultimately, all security leaders have a common goal: to safeguard their people and assets. When armed with real-time information, even the smallest of security teams can strengthen their security posture and achieve that shared goal.
Organizations on a maturity trajectory and with plans to expand their security team or build a security operations center (SOC) should consider incorporating real-time alerting solutions into their workflows. This helps to optimize information gathering and processing, which gives the SOC team more time to spend on mitigating risk, rather than searching for it.
But you certainly don’t need a SOC to reap the full benefits of real-time data. The value of the data is universal and can be utilized by all security leaders and teams, no matter what their operational model or size is—small and nascent, large and established, centralized or decentralized. Every security professional wants to know about critical information first. Their worst-case scenario is to get a call from an executive about an event they didn’t know about. With real-time information, even with limited resources, you can stay ahead of emerging risks and seek the optimal course of action quickly and efficiently.
Learn more about Dataminr Pulse and how the real-time information it provides helps security teams of all sizes detect and act on the earliest indications of high-impact events, threats and other business critical information so they can respond with speed and confidence.
Ed Monan is Regional Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Dataminr. He previously supported government clients as a defense contractor. Ed studied political science and international relations at Boston College and Georgetown University.