What is Response Time and Why Does it Matter?

Every command center is unique. Even within a single security environment, different systems, including hardware, software, and processes can make for a series of complexities between buildings and areas. But what is the one thing that is universal to every security command center? The need to provide a quick, effective response for the best possible security outcomes.

Because of the unpredictable nature of security events, you can’t always plan for every possible situation. In order to ensure they your operation is responding effectively to critical events, you need to take advantage of all the data, metrics, and analysis at your disposal. There are a wide array of metrics to consider, including dispatch time, assets lost, injuries, and others that are critical for any successful monitoring operation, and may seem to be more important.

The single most important metric
Despite the importance of all these data points, no single metric is more important than response time. Simply defined, response time is “the elapsed time between an inquiry on a system and the response to that inquiry.” In the context of command center operations, response time is simply the time it takes from an event being raised to operator action.

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Improving response time has a ripple effect on other critical metrics. Logically speaking, a quick response means there’s less time for a negative outcome to occur. The closer you get to achieving a “real time” response, the better chance you have of a positive outcome.

For example, let’s consider a simple unauthorized after-hours building access incident. If it takes the operator 4 minutes to respond to an alarm, it will take longer to identify where the intruder actually is, which in turn means it takes longer for a dispatched guard to find the intruder.

In this same example, if the operator responds within 30 seconds, the dispatching officer is likely to find them quickly because the person has had less time to get far from the point of entry. This can be the difference between intercepting the person in under 5 minutes versus taking 15-20 minutes to find them. A lot can happen in 15 minutes!

Empowering your team
In order to improve your response time, your operators need to be empowered to do so. If information is disjointed and processes are unclear, your operators simply won’t be able to dispatch the appropriate response. Consult with your technology and operations teams to identify bottlenecks that are negatively impacting you’re  operators ability to quickly respond to events. Develop clear, direct and enforceable action plans that define exactly what to do in a given situation, and ensure you can measure the impact of these changes.

Most importantly, ensure that everything your operators need to act in a critical situation is stored in one central view. If you need help developing a plan to reduce your response time and improve your security outcomes, reach out to the experts.  

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