One of the biggest benefits of understanding hostile planning is that it helps take much of the guesswork out of security solutions. As had been explained in previous articles, Attacks don’t simply come out of nowhere because attackers don’t spring out of thin air. Hostile actions are predicated on hostile planning, which includes hostile surveillance.
With this idea in mind, it seems quite odd that the enormous security camera sector – an industry that ironically contains the term “Surveillance Cameras” – knows so little about hostile surveillance, and about the large role the industry can play in combating it.
To be fair, security cameras do have many useful applications that go far beyond security, but what’s so surprising is that in the majority of properties, even some with quite serious security concerns, there appears to be a huge gap between what security camera systems can do to address hostile surveillance, and what they actually end up doing.
I keep encountering highly secured facilities with highly professional security teams – teams that know quite a bit about hostile surveillance, but that have to operate security camera systems that had been installed beforehand with absolutely no regard to hostile planning.
Just to make matters clear, security cameras by themselves cannot be relied upon to prevent criminal activity, much less hostile planning, but they still have some important roles to play. Even in cases where the only role that has been given to a security camera system is an after-the-fact one – helping to understand what happened and helping to compile evidence – what can be more important than understanding how an attack was planned, if the goal is to prevent the next one? How can you hope to record, let alone to understand, hostile surveillance if security cameras aren’t even pointed in the right direction to record any of it?
The field of security cameras has been advancing at an amazing rate, and anyone who’s had the privilege of attending a security convention in recent years (ASIS, ISC, etc) can attest to the staggering amount of highly advanced systems that are on the market. But even the most advanced system, connected to the highest quality cameras on the market, has very little preventative value if an installer doesn’t know where to point the cameras in the first place.
In much the same way, even the most advanced weapon system will be quite useless in the hands of someone who doesn’t know where to point it. No amount of megapixels, or storage capacity or AI analytics or programmable, multi-zoned, fully integrated IP capabilities can overcome the basic problem of not knowing where cameras should even be pointed.
Too often it seems that security camera technicians install cameras with about as much foresight and security understanding as that of electricians installing lighting systems. In point of fact, the word “coverage” is often used by both fields in order to unfortunately describe much the same thing – the simple blanketing of areas with either lighting or footage, or both. Actually, the word “coverage” should probably not even be used to describe what security cameras do, since unlike lighting, which emanates from the device and “covers” an area, footage goes the opposite direction – emanating from the area and flowing towards the camera.
And just to make sure that I don’t come across as some old fashioned security-type complaining about “toys and gadgets”, let me assure you that the opposite is the case. I have a great deal of respect for this important industry, and know very well, from years of experience, just how effective it can be when its true potential is properly utilized. In fact, HighCom Security Services (the company I work for) has an entire security systems department, and I often get to work closely with it.
My point here is not to denigrate this industry but rather to encourage it – from installers, technicians and security directors, through system designers, manufacturers and sales representatives, to upgrade the industry by learning about hostile planning, and to unleash the true capabilities of this important sector.
Learn more about this subject—and many others—in my master class on Hostile Activity Prevention. Utilizing Israeli know-how and delivered by me, Ami Toben, this online course teaches actionable, time-tested methods of prevention, detection and disruption of hostile attacks.