Data analytics offer exciting new possibilities for security operations centers

I recently met with the CEOs and executive teams of some leading video and security operations center software providers and some interesting patterns developed.  These companies are serious about developing solutions that incorporate pure data analytics into their products.  This is exciting for the solution providers and offers great potential for companies.  Strong data analysis can provide predictive information to support proactive decision-making, improving security effectiveness, increasing the value delivered to the overall business, and offering enhanced business insights.  When data analysis tools are robust, imagination and forethought become the only limits on the added value delivered.

Successful programs will

  • Capture raw data
  • Understand the context of the problem
  • Understand which data and analysis will provide a leading indicators and which provide trailing indicators
  • Understand the results which will bring value
  • Have a process and procedure in place so that personnel can interpret and act upon the information
  • Incorporate appropriate training and drills for operators
  • Analyze the data in a timely and reliable manner

End users must not underestimate the dedication and effort required to make these powerful systems a success, however.  They are not for everyone.  It’s like buying a high-performance sportscar.  If you don’t learn how to drive and practice at high performance, you are just an amateur in an overpriced coupe that might get you killed in a crisis.

The key in all of these developments is a focus on information utility and enhancing operator effectiveness.  Companies (both the systems providers and the end-users) must match expectations with investment.  

  • Are these systems focused on streamlining day-to-day processes and decisions to a point where operators never develop the critical thinking skills to adapt to unforeseen situations?
  • Are there training programs to overcome this limitation?


Ensuring operators have the tools and mental agility to adapt to unforeseen and emergency situations often proves crucial during emergencies.  When over-automation prevents the development of these skills, a bad situation can quickly turn into a catastrophic one.  Striking a balance between efficiency and adaptability falls squarely on the shoulders of end user management.

To overcome this challenge manufacturers need to develop robust systems and educate end users on the benefits and potential pitfalls of undervaluing their personnel.  Organizations that embrace the potential value from exploiting analyzed data as part of their solutions must not forget that systems can break, personnel skills require practice to stay refined, and skilled personnel are still the best resource for interpreting the analyzed results and putting that information into the proper business mission use.