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5 key points for your end-to-end event security checklist

March 8, 2024 — Insight

event security management

In-person live events came back with a bang after a pandemic-enforced hiatus — and it looks like this trend is here to stay.

Live Nation recorded its ‘biggest quarter ever’ in Q3 2023, and with 92% of fans reportedly planning to go to the same amount of shows in the next year (if not more), we can expect this momentum to continue within the live entertainment industry. Sports events have also experienced a surge, with so-called ‘funflation’ driving up ticket prices by a massive 25% to account for demand, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, though this is great news for organisers, the demand for bigger and better events puts more pressure on security teams to ensure operations run smoothly. So, what’s the solution?

Fortunately, modern technology is making it easier than ever to manage this complex process. With both physical and digital measures in place, organisers can deter criminals and oversee crowds to help a show go as planned — and, most importantly, make people feel safe.

With this in mind, here are five key considerations event organisers need to account for when developing event security management plans in 2024…

1. Conduct a thorough risk assessment

Before designing a plan to ensure security for events, event organisers must first understand the threats they face.

Failure to do so has already led to several high-profile disasters over the years — including the recent 2021 Astroworld festival in Texas, where 10 people were crushed to death and over 300 injured due to poor safety operating procedures and a lack of trained staff on-site.

Risk assessments are a key part of preventing such tragedies. This process involves gathering as much intelligence as possible on attendees and performers and assessing the venue for human and non-human security challenges — from terrorist threats to weather disruption.

Of course, the hazards an event may be exposed to will vary depending on the context; a political rally will attract a much different crowd and require different security considerations than a music concert, for example. But no matter what type of show is being put on, security teams must gauge who or what might present a significant vulnerability.

Additionally, risk assessments should cover network architectures to ensure the venue has the fixed and wireless capacity to deal with an influx of user traffic. Event organisers often overlook this consideration, but it’s crucial to maintaining communications and surveillance for attendees and site teams.

Mitigating weak spots might involve network segmentation to improve overall performance, reliability and security. However, the top consideration should be network optimisation for video traffic to ensure security teams can always access uninterrupted video streams from every corner of the event.

2. Consider infrastructure weak spots

Understanding the physical space where an event takes place is crucial — whether it’s a street parade, a festival or a stadium show.

To start with, event managers need a thorough overview of all perimeters, entry and exit points and high-traffic areas to design an appropriate event security management plan that places trained staff, checkpoints and CCTV in the right places to mitigate and respond to an emergency.

Identifying known and potential weaknesses ahead of time is crucial here — enabling organisers to make the necessary accommodations to reduce the risk of disruption, injury and criminal activity before, during and after their event.

For example, by implementing redeployable CCTV cameras that work over reliable wireless networks, organisers can control and mitigate security infrastructure weak spots and support a smooth, safe flow of people in and around the venue.

3. Assess cyber security threats

These days, it isn’t just physical security for events that organisers need to worry about. High-profile events are also a significant target for cyber criminals due to geopolitical tensions and developments within the cyber threat landscape.

Take the successful cyber attack during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as an example. This incident took out internet access to telecasts, grounded broadcasters’ drones, shut down the Pyeongchang website and prevented spectators from attending the ceremony until the issue was resolved.

Large-scale events typically rely on a backbone of overt and covert IT infrastructure and, therefore, require a dedicated cyber security framework. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre recommends a three-step approach

  1. Discovery phase — identifying the cyber security decisions that need to be made, who should make them and how they can make informed choices.
  2. Risk management process — learning what technologies and systems are critical to an event, who might attack them and how.
  3. Cyber incident response planning — ensuring all relevant staff understand cyber threats, the mechanisms in place to deal with an incident and how to report the attack.

It’s also crucial to ensure all security hardware and software tools have end-to-end encryption and network defences to deter hackers. For example, video surveillance cameras and the analytics technology that powers them must have built-in cyber security protections to prevent criminals from gaining unauthorised access to change settings, erase footage or otherwise exploit the system.

4. Put an incident response plan in place

No matter how thorough event security management plans are, there are some things that no one can see coming.

There’s always an unpredictable human element to contend with. And in high-pressure environments, panic can quickly lead to disaster — especially as fan behaviour worsens and malicious actors find creative new ways to bypass security measures.

Still, by being prepared for the worst, security teams can ensure they contain and respond to an incident quickly and efficiently — helping to de-escalate crises and protect eventgoers, participants and assets from further harm and disruption.

Early intervention is crucial to ensuring the safety and enjoyment of customers. The key to this is empowering teams with the tools, policies and training to connect with relevant emergency services and central security hubs in real-time — supporting a more coordinated and appropriate response to mitigate safety risks and get the show back on track.

5. Upgrade video surveillance systems

Event security is an intricate performance with several moving parts. From admission management to parking control, it’s a dance that requires having eyes in all places at once to ensure a positive, safe experience for guests, staff and performers.

As a result, CCTV has long been the cornerstone of event security — helping facilitate efficient emergency responses, support effective resource allocation and aid investigations of theft or other crimes. So, why not take these capabilities further with a more modern surveillance solution?

Thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), event organisers can now harness sophisticated technology solutions to gain new insights and achieve better situational awareness.

With real-time video streams and AI-powered footage analysis, security teams can maintain visibility of all vulnerable areas simultaneously — picking out people of interest from crowds using advanced facial recognition and identifying suspicious or unruly behaviour before an incident can get out of hand.

Armed with this intelligence, organisers can prevent nightmarish logistical problems and keep track of every corner of their event space.

The result? More streamlined, well-organised shows where staff, performers and attendees can enjoy themselves safe in the knowledge that there’s always someone — or something — looking out for them.

We’ve developed our tried-and-tested video surveillance solutions to deliver reliable real-time insights when and where they’re needed most. Discover why our video and analytics systems are the first choice for event security applications today…