In a previous article, we discussed the importance of big data and the ways security teams can harness the power of actionable data to identify and assess Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Let’s take a step back and talk about KPIs and why they’re so incredibly critical.
Wait, What are Key Performance Indicators, Anyway?
KPIs are quantifiable and measurable values that reflect progress toward a specific goal or objective. Specifically, in our industry, a KPI is a type of measurement that helps physical security professionals and security teams to better understand their overall performance.
The ASIS Foundation, an organization that invests in elevating security practice through research and scholarships, sheds some light on KPIs in their 2014 report, “Persuading Senior Management with Effective, Evaluated, Security Metrics.” They defined KPIs as “a type of metric; KPIs are established by identifying the desired performance level and assessing the progress, or lack thereof, toward that level. Examples of KPIs include employee and customer satisfaction surveys, the number of shipped goods that arrive at their destination intact, and the number of information security events that occur within a year.”
Furthermore, think of your KPIs as a constellation of data-driven, high-tech North Stars, guiding and helping your team (and your client) to a better understanding of whether or not your security strategies are working.
Key Performance Indicators are:
- Clearly communicated to your team
- Clearly communicated with your client
- Critical (key) in achieving (performance) your goal
- Objective evidence of progress toward the desired result
- A comparison that measures performance change over time
Key Performance Indicators can track:
- Resource allocation
How Are KPIs for the Security Industry Different from Other Industries?
KPIs in the security industry, as with other sectors, offer valuable insights based on numbers, not intuition or gut instinct. While they help drive managerial decisions, security KPIs may differ from those used in other sectors.
For example, there are instances where time-limited and finite KPIs tracking human resources, equipment usage, and productivity are used to demonstrate achievement. However, time-limited KPIs don’t necessarily always tell the full security story.
In the physical security business, operational goals can also be focused on positive or negative trends over extended periods time. In particular, many security professionals look for tactical and strategic data that helps them identify patterns and trends. Consequently, giving them the ability to anticipate potential security breaches and strengthen identified weaknesses in their systems.
When security can identify potential weak points, gaps, or perimeter weaknesses using KPIs, these issues can be addressed with data-driven solutions. As a result of working together, KPIs and visual dashboards streamline decision-making processes and optimize security protocols.
How Many Key Performance Indicators are Too Many KPIs?
It’s a given that KPIs can drive solid decision-making. However, it pays to focus on the performance indicators that are the most relevant to your goals. Tracking too many KPIs can lead to confusion and can overwhelm analysts and decision-makers.
As you develop KPIs, ask yourself and your team why it’s important. In other words, why do you care about a particular indicator? Why is it key? Then, limit yourself to those that are SMART: simple, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-sensitive (whenever possible).
Examples of Key Performance Indicators Commonly Used by SecureVizual Clients
SecureVizual’s easy-to-read dashboard reporting makes it simple for end-users to evaluate metrics and assess KPIs. Specifically, our KPIs evaluate the effectiveness and quality of security services and systems. In addition to our standard KPIs, we work with our clients to deliver custom metrics and KPIs to fit their needs. For example here are a few KPIs that our clients frequently use to drive decisions and improve security systems:
- Entry use
- Access control
- Time and attendance
- Real estate efficiency
- Alarm response details
- Visitors, associates, and contractor information
- Site conditions reporting
- Equipment status
- Labor Optimization
For more information about how to make big data actionable data, contact SecureVizual today!