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Elite Data Analysis For Security, Part I: Data Collection Tactics

By Dan Jodarski

Data Collection Tactics For Data Analysis At Your Agency’s Security OperationOrganizational security is a huge investment for your federal agency. 

In order to maximize your investment and ensure a complete understanding of your security environment, you need to employ robust data analysis tools and tactics. While we’ve covered the basics of data analysis in previous posts, it’s time to dive into elite-level strategies for airtight agency security. 

In this first post of a five-part series, we examine the underlying foundation of all elite data analysis strategies: sound data collection tactics. Without a first-class approach to data quality and collection, your security operation is blind to vulnerabilities and weaknesses within your agency. 

Here are four tactics to take your data collection efforts from basic to advanced for a stronger security operation:

Tactic #1: Start With What You Have 

In most defense or intelligence agencies, there’s already a lot of data collection going on, so start by leveraging your current data and sharing your existing data sets with other departments as appropriate (or getting them to share with you). 

Especially as you start out, don’t invest in expensive new software or technology to collect your data if you aren’t making full use of the data you already have on hand. For many security and defense agencies, they already have 80% of a needed solution built – all that’s required is bringing together the data analysis tools and information into a single place.

Tactic #2: Keep It Simple

Once you’ve organized and leveraged your existing data sets, you still might need to collect additional data for your agency security efforts. But before you sink your budget into costly data collection tools and applications, you should first focus on data sets that are non-invasive, easily accessible or inexpensive to purchase. 

Too many security data collection efforts recreate existing information or infringe on the limited time of security personnel. When you concentrate on data that’s simple and easy to collect, you have more time to detect and deter actual security threats. 

Tactic #3: Ensure Complete Compliance 

As a government agency, any time you collect personal data on your employees or the public, you need to post a System Of Records Notice (SORN) to ensure your data collection efforts are compliant. Since SORNs have a long approval process, be sure to submit yours as soon as possible so your security data collection efforts aren’t slowed down. 

Even after your SORN is posted and approved, you should continue to work with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to ensure your data collection is continually compliant via robust user agreements and conspicuous banners that make users aware of collected data. 

Tactic #4: Work Only With Vetted Advisors 

Conducting security data analysis at the elite level sometimes requires that you work with a consultant, contractor or professional advisor, but before you engage with an outside firm for help, make sure it’s a reliable and vetted partner.  

High-quality data is essential to identifying weak points in your agency security and allocating resources for the best return on your security investments. By utilizing these elite data collection tactics, you waste less time chasing down poor data and spend more time addressing actual security threats.  

Does your federal agency need to improve organizational security operations within a limited schedule and budget? Click below to download this e-book from Big Sky Associates and discover how to make process improvement efforts that are cost-effective for your budget. 
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