As a security provider, your most important job is keeping people safe — not keeping track of paper records.
Yet when an incident calls for the attention of an on-site security guard, the paperwork that usually follows can impact not only your bottom line and reputation, but also your ability to meet your mission.
Completing and filing paper forms such as incident reports takes a lot of time and money — more than most businesses are even aware of. In fact, as a 2011 study from Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) pointed out, businesses spend, on average, $20 an hour in labor to file a document.
Moreover, research suggests that security guards may be more prone than most workers to factors, including low job satisfaction, known to negatively impact job performance. Security guard users of SalaryExplorer.com, for example, reported lower satisfaction levels on 10 separate job criteria, such as workload, hours, and stress, than survey respondents in most other industries. Meanwhile, according to one overseas study, only 32 percent of security guards said they believe they have adequate equipment to do their jobs well, while 40 percent disagreed.
Yet paper forms cost you more than time and money. They’re also error-prone. In a high-pressure situation, it’s easy to miss details — not just what happened and when it happened, but whether police were alerted (and how quickly), who was involved, any witness statements, and more.
Even after paper forms are completed, issues such as bad handwriting and improper filing can hamper the transmission of accurate information. Want to analyze data and spot trends that can influence future resource allocation? Good luck sorting through hundreds or thousands of paper reports.
Advantages of mobile incident reporting
Mobile technology is more powerful than ever — so much so that a 2011 survey conducted by TechnoMetrica for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council found that about 50 percent of business owners who switched from paper to digital forms said they had more time to focus on growing business revenues.
Yet, most security companies are still using paper to manage incident reports and other critical business needs. That’s mostly due to the perceived challenge of making the switch to mobile reporting — though others have found the switch easier to make than many think, and worth the effort.
Given that fact, security managers who switch to mobile incident reporting will have an edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Here are six key advantages security managers can expect when they switch to a well-crafted mobile app:
Time, date, and location stamp automatically enabled. During a major incident, it’s easy for security guards, who are working to mitigate a situation, to fail to record particular details. This can lead to inaccurate reporting. An app such as Canvas’ Incident Report Mobile App takes care of this, automatically recording the date and time and using GPS to insert a Google map into the incident report.
Auto saving of the submission. There’s always a risk that paper incident reports will get lost between the time an incident occurs and the time reports are filed. With mobile incident reports, data is automatically saved to the cloud so you can retrieve it from any device.
Drawings and photos are easy to create, upload, and save. The more detail you can provide in a report, the better. Mobile incident report apps allow you to take snapshots of a scene, sketch details, and easily input witness and weapons information.
Reports can more easily be turned over to authorities when necessary. While most security providers have a filing system, data from the 2011 Coopers & Lybrand study indicates that as many as 7.5 percent of all documents get lost and 3 percent get misfiled. When data is mobile and backed up to the cloud, it’s easier to search, find and obtain when needed.
Every report is easy to read. When reports are hard to read because of a security guard’s sloppy handwriting, time and money is wasted — and incidents may not be properly investigated. A mobile incident report app makes information not only easier to access, with functions such as keyword searches and automatic cloud backups, but also easier to read.
Trends are easy to spot. Because a mobile app captures information that can be searched and aggregated, it’s possible to analyze data and better understand particular types of incidents, locations where incidents are common, or times of day/year when particular kinds of incidents spike.
The security business isn’t going to become any less stressful or intense. So your workers need tools that can help them perform their best.