Risk | Threat/Hazard

Static vs. Live Data in Risk Assessment

By Daniel Young | June 23, 2023 | 3 min read
Live data

We live in an age of data. We’re constantly inundated with information — from official reports, our devices, the Internet, and our organizations. Some of that data is vitally important when you’re assessing the risk at your site. However, for some business owners, choosing the right data can be intimidating. This article will examine static and live data, as well as when to use each to enhance your security posture.

What is static data?

Static data is data that’s fixed. In other words, it doesn’t change once it has been gathered and published, except some can change after a longer period of time. Often, static data is stored in the format in which it was originally collected. Examples of static data include official reports, like crime statistics that are published monthly. Your past security budgets are static data, as are reports generated by human resources, or news reports about incidents that have already happened.

A good rule of thumb is that most static data is historical. It tells you what happened in the past, which can be useful when you’re planning for the future. However, historical data cannot tell you what is happening right now.

What’s live data?

Live data, also called dynamic data, continually changes after being recorded. The Internet and social media is a perfect example of live data: if there’s a crime happening in your area, and a bystander caught it on video, you can watch the crime as it happens and use that information to help secure your site.

Live data can tell you what’s happening right now with crime trends; whether gang violence is on the rise, how criminals are updating their tactics, and what targets are most likely to be attacked. The physical security industry is leaning more and more on dynamic data, using Global Security Operations Centers (GSOC) to monitor video feeds in real time, and relying on the information generated by smart devices to understand what’s happening on site right now. Physical security pros can also use crowdsourced reporting from employees at a site to report broken countermeasures, remediations and safety issues.

Which type of data is better?

The primary difference between live (dynamic) data vs. static data is that live data will be continuously updated to provide the most accurate information to your organization as possible. Imagine you only see the news once a month, versus seeing a live news update on a chemical release.

If a protest is happening near one of your sites, you want to know about that now, not later.

If there’s a high-speed chase in your area, you want to know about it now rather than when your employees try to leave for the day. If someone walks onto your site brandishing a gun, you want your analytics to flag that immediately so you can take action.

While static data plays a role in planning and understanding where your security organization has been, live data is critical to knowing where you are and what’s coming next.

Moving from static data to live data

Unfortunately, the physical security industry has been slow to accept change. We tend to rely on antiquated crime reporting that’s months or even years old. There is, however, an example of proactive security we can and should be following.

Our colleagues in the cybersecurity field are years ahead of us when it comes to using dynamic data to detect risk. They don’t have the luxury of waiting for static reports; the criminals they’re up against change tactics quickly. Cybersecurity professionals use data generated by devices, software and criminals themselves to track suspicious behavior and end attacks, sometimes as those attacks are in progress.

They have no choice; they must evolve or fail. Physical security needs to take that same approach.

What data are you using? Contact us to talk to an expert today.

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