Do you remember when people held up lighters at concerts? Those lighters have long been replaced with cell phones to capture moments and live stream events to social media. Other viewers spend half an event tweeting about the #keynote speaker rather than watching what’s happening in front of them.
Social media is everywhere. Visual and text-based information from events around the world reaches social media faster than other public platforms, like the news. Access to this information is transforming how event security professionals approach their jobs. Social media tools have become a key part of event security workflows—here are a few benefits of using social media data to help security professionals protect events against potential threats.
Adapt and React Quickly
Effective security teams are trained to react and adapt quickly and effectively to unravelling situations. This means ensuring events have enough eyes on the ground. When hundreds of people post public content at an event, they essentially become extra sets of eyes documenting their surroundings. Access to these extra eyes on the ground gives security teams a better opportunity for spotting potential threats.
Social media alerting tools, such as Echosec, allow security personnel to quickly collect and parse out relevant information pouring in over the course of an event. This means that, from the comfort of their screen, a single analyst can discover potential threats that on-the-ground personnel might be blind to. They can then quickly direct all hands-on-deck to wherever they are needed most.
Gain Proactive Situational Awareness
What do these situations look like?
Imagine that your security team is at an outdoor festival with about 10,000 attendees. Now imagine any of the following scenarios:
- A fight breaks out in the middle of a crowd where security personnel are not close by
- There’s an unattended bag in the middle of the festival grounds
- A high-value item from a festival sponsor is on display
While none of these situations necessarily indicate a major security threat yet, there’s still potential for them to escalate. If a security analyst finds a clip of the fight on Echosec, they can alert their team to deescalate the situation before it gets worse. If they notice a suspicious package or bag in images posted by festival attendees, they can send in personnel to investigate whether or not it’s dangerous. They can also view social media activity around physical assets to monitor opportunities for property damage.
In each of these situations, social media data helps proactively mitigate security risks. Without a monitoring tool in place, it’s likely that security teams wouldn’t notice or react to these threats until they have already escalated.
Locate Potential Threats Accurately
One of the first steps in setting up event security is establishing a ground perimeter. This is also possible to set up with online data.
Geofencing is a way of creating a virtual perimeter around an event space. It allows security personnel to discover content originating from a specific area, utilizing geolocation tags on public attendee posts.
Once established, security teams can monitor the area for specific keywords and images that indicate potential safety risks. Teams are notified as soon as relevant content is published. This creates a location-based data feed filtered for content that actually matters to security personnel. Geofencing essentially streamlines the process of finding where threats are located so teams can react quickly. It’s important to note that geofencing only displays geotagged posts, so It's best to run keyword only searches as well. This increases visibility into posts with no location data.
Event security is an ever-evolving task that requires detailed observations and reactions in a small time frame. Using available tools to discover actionable data can make the difference between a high or low-risk scenario. Social media is a valuable source of information for security teams tasked with protecting people and assets. A single analyst and social discovery software is all a security team needs to take their on-the-ground strategy to the next level.
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