Security system maintenance done right part 2: a few more best practices

ICD's service engineers hard at work troubleshooting a security system issue
ICD's service engineers hard at work troubleshooting a security system issue

In our previous article on security system maintenance, we talked about effective problem management and how it can enhance a security maintenance service. In this article we share a few more best practices that can be adopted by security service providers, security end users and other security project stakeholders.


Remember that customer service is not about assigning blame; client and customer should work together to achieve the best possible resolution

When a security system malfunction occurs, it is always tempting for the end user to assume that it is entirely the fault and responsibility of the security service provider. But as we saw in the case studies from our previous piece on this topic, system issues are often due to factors beyond the security vendor’s control, such as the configuration of the client’s corporate network, the effect of the installation work done by the decoration vendor and other issues.


However, it would be equally wrong for the security vendor to abdicate all responsibility for solving the issue if the root cause is found elsewhere. Security issues are hardest to solve when multiple stakeholders try to shirk responsibility. Instead, responsibilities need to be clearly and carefully defined after a careful analysis of the problem. Then, the client, the customer and other stakeholders need to work together to find achieve the best possible resolution, supporting each other with whatever resources are necessary.


Keep written records of all actions taken at each step and share records with everyone involved

Security maintenance providers should make sure that detailed record of all actions is kept for each security troubleshooting or routine maintenance case, either as a set of formal documents or as an email record. These records should also be available to everyone potentially involved with security maintenance, including the upper management of the service provider, the end user and other vendors. For example, ICD makes all documents instantly accessible to clients on a global CRM software platform. Informal communications should also be summarized and shared with all parties wherever possible.


Doing this has multiple advantages. First, it allows all parties to receive immediate updates as progress is made. Written records can also be referred to in order to check who is accountable for performing a certain action. This makes it easier to define responsibilities and to measure progress against set goals.


Lastly, detailed document records are a valuable resource that can be referred to if end users wish to do a comprehensive system issue analysis in the future.


Deal with the root cause, but implement short term solutions as a temporary measure whenever possible

Temporary solutions should never be a replacement for long term solutions that deal with the root of the security system problem. However, short term solutions may be deployed until a more comprehensive countermeasure has been developed, especially for security issues, as security system down time can lead to serious disruptions to business operations.


Ensure that issues are escalated correctly

Knowing when and how to escalate an issue can make it much easier to solve security system problems effectively, particularly because security management protocols will often restrict authorization for certain actions to specific personnel, meaning that many issues will be outside your control. The key is to understand escalation etiquette and to ensure you get the correct people onboard. It is therefore important to bear the following points in mind:


1. Only escalate after all other options have been explored, or if key milestones are in danger of being missed.

2. Make sure you get your facts right; you will want to avoid crying wolf to your superiors.

3. Make sure roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and make sure the reasons for all actions are clearly explained to everyone involved.

4. Ensure that the decision to escalate is communicated to all stakeholders and that everyone is happy with this decision.

5. Send thank you notes to everyone that helps.

6. Document the entire escalation process.


Look to the future

Every security system troubleshooting case is an opportunity for improvement. After an issue has been solved, it is important to step back and ask: can anything be done better in the future? Have we taken every step to ensure that this won’t happen again?


At ICD, we believe that there is always a better way of doing something, which is why we constantly strive to improve every aspect of our security services. What is more, it is possible to achieve even greater success if engagement levels on security issues among end users and other security stakeholders are high.


If all parties are committed to finding opportunities for improvement, this can be the basis for a rich and highly successful cooperation.


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