We are in an age of progress and development, in love with technology; the latest phone, app, tablet…………
The “Internet of Things” is constantly in the news, everything connected to everything, sending our personal information to who knows where, to be used by who knows who, for who knows what, all supposedly safe.
“Big data” to be mined to revolutionize our lives, everything from medicine to security, we are in the era of technology doing everything, faster, better, more accurately, we will be safer because of technology.
Except we won’t.
A very cursory look will reveal dozens of instances where sophisticated systems have failed, where cyber breaches have revealed our most intimate data to the world, where automated security systems have failed.
In security and safety, people matter more than technology ever will.
People are on the front line of our security systems, we rely on people to operate our sophisticated security systems, people to keep all that “big data” where it is supposed to be and ensure that it is only used for the intended purpose.
And people to recognize the threats to our safety and security. People who are properly trained, motivated, engaged, people who have our safety and best interests at heart.
Our challenge is that it is much easier to deal with technology than with people, you program technology and it does whatever you tell it to do (in theory), it does not argue, talk back, think, feel, it is easy.
People are difficult, fallible, they argue, they make mistakes, they get sick, they have family and friends that distract them, they are vulnerable to temptation under the right conditions.
But people also have your best interests at heart, they think, they react to challenges, they rise to meet the threat, they feel, they can anticipate consequences, they can break rules when it is prudent to do so, people are our best protection.
We are bad at “people”. A very substantial percentage of our workforce is not engaged, not motivated, not functioning at their best. We treat people (especially security people) badly.
One reason for this may be that we treat people the same as we treat technology, switch them on, they run for 12 hours, switch them off. Repeat tomorrow.
We can have the very best systems, machines, processes, procedures but if your people are broken everything else will be as well.
Fix the people and the problem is fixed. Simplistic but true. Treat your people as people not things, engage your people in designing solutions (they know more than you do about your operations and how it works or doesn’t) treat them as you want to be treated.
Let’s make the effort to recognize that people are the heart and soul of our security and safety systems, let’s train, equip, reward and include them as the most valuable security parner we have, and things will change, we will all be safer.
Please understand that everything your security people does, matters, and can make the difference between normal operations and disaster.
Let’s stop treating our machines and systems better than our people.
A version of this article was published in SAEPA News Delivery in October 2017