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Security as an integral part of the corporate strategy

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Published in Features

As enterprises expand into developing markets and emerging countries or acquire existing businesses operating a variety of existing ‘legacy’ systems, they face new challenges in keeping their workplaces secure in unfamiliar territories.

Having disparate sites in different countries will necessitate compliance with local, national and international security legislation. Often vast distances between organizational headquarters and new locations unveil new logistical issues, particularly when coupled with the increased mobility of employees and the clear expectation of harmonized and uniformed access as they move between sites.

The need for overall transparency

Operating the resulting patchwork of fragmented security systems throughout different locations can make corporations more vulnerable, as well as resulting in unplanned costs. In many cases, wherever a security risk is identified within a unit or a site, the immediate need to provide protection will mean the installation of a ‘quick-fix’ solution to resolve the vulnerability – without due consideration of overall corporate security strategies or policies.

Fragmented, ‘silo-type’ systems also result in a lack of transparency between the various sites. Corporate security specialists may not be able to access required data and no real overview of the global security landscape exists. In many organizations, it will simply be impossible for system administrators to know which employees have access to what facility or, even worse, whether departing employees’ rights have been removed from all databases throughout the complete enterprise landscape. Transparency of employee access rights across all sites is a fundamental necessity, not only for the purpose of security and internal audits, but also to satisfy the demands of regional governance and often legislation.

Securing sites all around the world

To ensure global business continuity, corporations need to find a state-of-the-art approach to managing global security issues. Enterprise security can no longer be seen as a stand-alone discipline, but rather an integral part of an overall corporate strategy engaging in a more proactive approach. It is essential that corporations establish an enterprise-wide security strategy at the earliest opportunity, applicable across all locations, ensuring a responsible and security-conscious culture.

A number of integrated, enterprise-level security solutions are available today to support global organizations. These flexible technologies are designed for local, national and globally dispersed organizations supporting enterprise-wide mitigation of risk, exposure and the costs associated with security-related business interruptions. By integrating access control, video surveillance and intrusion detection solutions, these platforms ensure efficient risk management, provide centralized system management resulting in cost transparency and efficient use of resources. Once in place they offer global support with consistent and common standards, optimizing an organization’s security landscape. Most importantly, they are future-proof solutions exhibiting reduced and quantifiable total cost of ownership (TCO).

Implementation of enterprise security solutions typically starts with a comprehensive analysis of business risks and vulnerabilities. Inventory is taken of the overall security landscape identifying, assessing and characterizing possible concerns. Mapping of critical business processes is documented and specific threats assessed. The proposed solutions then prioritize and implement risk mitigation measures, with metrics for monitoring the results and continually enhancing the measures accordingly. Such a program enables the entire organization to have a concentrated focus on its core business responsibly, consistently and profitably.

Enterprise security solutions support organizations in complying with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Interoperability between various security systems creates efficiencies by streamlining the reporting and management of individual technologies resulting in the reduction of internal costs. Automation capabilities help off-load day to day burdens put on system operators by automating processes and providing a more efficient utilization of resources.

Proof of concept: Creating a uniform security culture

As an experienced partner in enterprise-level security solutions, Siemens was recently tasked with developing a centralized access solution for a global software company. Like many enterprise landscapes, the customer’s sites had a variety of legacy security systems in place with different experts managing single products and installations, all of which were increasing operational costs. Starting with the customer’s headquarters as the initial point of implementation, global processes were defined for simple deployment to other locations spanning the globe. This enterprise-wide solution resulted in a complete optimization of resources through centralized system management and a uniform security culture.

One globally valid corporate card was created integrating physical access control, cashless payment, desktop log-in, as well as flexible time and attendance management functionality. The customer now enjoys the benefit of a strategic focus with a single point of contact, global pricing and service support with the implementation of clear corporate security standards. With Siemens as its service partner for facilities around the globe, overheads for local system administrators together with maintenance costs are reduced, while enabling swift and uniformed reaction times to any arising issue.

A reliable partner with a worldwide presence

Siemens is ideally positioned to conceive, design, build, maintain, monitor, and even operate integrated security solutions and services for global corporations. The company specializes in supporting organizations in the creation of an overall security approach which is planned and individually customized for global enterprises. Siemens has the expertise to offer seamless integration and a unified management platform with a variety of automated processes facilitating a coordinated response across all sites. Siemens also offers a range of service offerings to balance risks, internal competence and budget constraints, providing enterprises with the flexibility to tailor services specifically to meet site-specific needs.

As a strategic supplier Siemens has an in-depth understanding of the operational challenges pertinent to enterprises with a global footprint. The company supplies comprehensive, modular security solutions suitable for single sites, local branches or dispersed networked facilities around the world, across different continents and time zones. Well equipped for global implementation because of scalability and networkability, these solutions are effective in controlling access to defined areas. They can be seamlessly integrated into existing network infrastructures and extended to include features such as time processing, ID creation, visitor management and much more due to their open architecture.

In today’s agile business environment, CSOs of globally present corporations need to ensure that solutions are in place to protect personnel, intellectual assets and infrastructure without impeding day to day business activities. In doing so, it is possible to identify and mitigate potential incidents which might threaten the resilience and continued operation of their organizations. With a truly global presence, Siemens can be relied upon as a competent partner in enterprise security solutions working closely with its clients from the outset.

Megan Miller, Market Manager Corporate Security, Siemens Enterprise Security