Security watch lists exist for good reasons, whether to keep track of people suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations or to track known sex offenders, felons or substance abusers. Despite their usefulness, however, many lists fail for three reasons, according to Chriss Knisley, President of Haystax Technology, in a piece for American City & County magazine.
- They frequently fail to capture the potential risk in any actionable way.
- They often lack dynamic or streaming analytics to recalibrate potential risk in immediate response to new information.
- Because of the first two, they are often difficult to effectively integrate within decision processes.
In his piece Knisley examines how watch lists often provide little more than flags for potential threats, with no insight into the level of threat, capability to execute or potential targets and consequences. Rather, they are typically binary: either you’re on the list or you’re not. It’s time to rely more heavily on dynamic risk calculations based on all the available information in order to make watch lists more effective, Knisley says.
“By maintaining the lists in systems designed to integrate with other systems and provide mobile interfaces to front-line staff, we will be able to move watch lists from a favored means of retrospective finger pointing to a useful tool for real-time intervention and agile response. This new era of streaming data analytics will enable us to stop just making lists and start understanding real-time risk.”
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