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Farhad Tajali, Ed.D. is a Regional Manager of Security Operations at Netflix Inc., and a Reserve Deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Fraud & Cyber Crimes Bureau. Farhad recently acquired his Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education and completed his dissertation project on “Utilizing Data Analytics in the Field of Physical Security: An Exploratory Study.” To read the full study, please use the links below:

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utilization of data analytics by security professionals in the security field. Farhad’s hypothesis based on his experience in the physical security field and scholarly sources was that security professionals lack effective utilization of data for process improvement, risk mitigation and to inform their decision making. The study confirmed this hypothesis. The evaluation was completed using Clark and Estes’s (2008) Gap Analysis Framework and explored knowledge, motivation and organizational influences (KMO) impacting security professionals’ utilization of data analytics.

The study used an explanatory sequential mixed methods using surveys and interviews of security professionals. Survey data was obtained from over 250 security professionals from the United States and 43 other countries globally. Additionally, data from seven security professionals were obtained through interviews. Farhad used his network of security professionals as well ASIS Connects community of global security professional to recruit participants for this study.

Findings and Results

This study found security professionals’ lack of effective utilization of data analytics stems from inadequate data analytical skills, motivation to engage in collection and analysis of data, and resources. When asked to identify barriers in utilization of data, security professionals reported knowledge and resources as the two main barriers in their profession. Additionally, 94% of security professionals who currently do not perform any form of data analysis reported they would utilize data analytics if they knew more about how to use them effectively. Below are key findings from this study:

  • Security professionals’ foundational knowledge of data analytics (declarative knowledge), and ability to reflect on use of data (metacognition) were identified as assets while knowledge of data analysis process (procedural knowledge) such as collection and analysis of data was identified as a need.
  • Security professionals lacked confidence (self-efficacy) in their ability to utilize data analytics, while showed high utility value for utilizing data.
  • Finally, organizational and leadership support was perceived adequate among security professionals, while resources to support the utilization of data analytics in the workplace appeared as a need.


The recommendation for this study includes:

  1. Development of security professionals’ data analytical skills,
  2. Enhance security professionals’ motivation to engage in collection and analysis of security data, and
  3. Provision of adequate renounces to support security professionals in their data analytical journey

The implementation of the recommendations is outlined in Chapter five of the study and will enable security professionals to effectively utilize data analytics and proactively protect their organizations. The main goal of this study was to shed light on a critical skill gap in the field of physical security.