The Big Risks of Using Generic Software for Public Safety

If you’re looking at the options for training and learning management software applications for your public service agency, you may be asking:

“What will the agency’s computing needs be next year? In five years? Or 10 years?”

In a quickly changing world, it’s difficult to anticipate all changes over the next six months, let alone five or ten years. Yet you dive into research to discover there are many possible solutions, from generic to those that are geared for your industry.

While there is an endless spectrum of software and associated platforms to choose from, public safety training, learning, and management demand tailored digital solutions. How better to meet an organization’s needs than with tools designed just for them?

The concept is simple. Public safety agencies are particularly reliant on specialized, industry-specific equipment. Digital tools are no different. And it’s as important to support those behind the scenes, as it is to ensure that those who show up first on the scene are trained and ready to do the job in front of them—whatever that may be.

Where the mass market falls short

Let’s consider all the industry-specific components that go into a public safety basic training program, whether that is law enforcement, fire, emergency medical, corrections, military, or emergency management.

Not designed for your equipment and training

All public safety learners, from those in small communities to those at the federal level, experience rigorous training—using specialized tools and technologies an average person may never touch. An accountant will never need to hold a Glock 22 in a professional capacity. And a sales associate will never use a Halligan bar to breach an inward-swinging door to a home with flames lapping out the windows.

This means public safety professionals will need to undergo more varied and specialized training (particularly with dangerous tools) that would never be addressed in a standard training management system (TMS).

Configuration is limited

Non-specific products designed for a generalized mass market will inevitably fall short on some aspect. When they do, you will need to either settle for less or find a work around.

Even if the generics are in some ways configurable, they were not designed for your agency. The same is true for a TMS or learning management system (LMS). An LMS built for general purposes will never meet the industry-specific demands that public safety professionals need and deserve. The amount of time, effort, and resources needed to adjust the system to meet your needs is often prohibitive—if it’s even possible.

Data security

Generic software is often vulnerable when not designed for high-risk industries.  While data security is important for all software customers—especially those operating on the cloud—it is a top concern in the public safety sphere where agencies are often the target of cyberattacks.

Software systems for public safety need to be able to partition data, set stringent permissions, and prevent external cyberattacks such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection attacks, and cross-site request forgery.

Often, the rigorous security requirements of public safety customers are not a priority for companies who also serve other industries, which is why achieving standards such as FedRAMP authorization are nearly unheard of in the generic software space.

Why does industry-made matter?

An industry-built TMS handles the entire process of training, whether it happens in a classroom, in the field, or online. It tracks certifications, including their issue dates and expirations. And it can be customized to meet the specific needs of your organization. For example, consider inventory. Do you know how many firearms you have? What kind? Where are they stored? What about laptops? Are any checked out—to whom, and for how long? An incomplete inventory record is risky, both to your organization and for any possible audits. Moreover, an accurate inventory is about meeting the highest level of professional accountability. We all want that.

Same story everywhere

Tailor-made solutions just make sense, and the benefits are endless. While not all benefits may be immediately evident, it’s time to define your needs and discover more (better) options.

Generic tools can’t manage industry-specific challenges. The expertise and robust solutions you need demand a targeted design. When it comes to public safety, there should be no compromise.

That’s why Envisage Technologies has devoted itself to serving the public safety sector. With features designed specifically for public safety, military, and government agencies, the Acadis Readiness Suite is already designed for your needs. And with FedRAMP authorization, you can know that we take security seriously. See why high-liability agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol trust Acadis.

Posted on Oct 15, 2020