It’s happened: you had a major failure of one (or all) parts of your physical security system. Maybe it’s something relatively minor (like the CEO not being able to get access to their office), or something truly catastrophic that is in the news and has dramatically impacted the reputation of your company (and your team). What you should do (after taking a deep breath) to regain and rebuild not just the protection offered by physical security, but the trust and belief that this will never happen again? Here’s a few “best practices” that will start to repair the damage done.
Every security integrator faces this issue. Your customers purchase new physical security systems and devices in order to benefit from the security and risk-reduction features they offer. Once deployed, however, these devices can actually increase risk and liability if they stop operating properly without the user becoming aware of the disruption. The risk compounds when you consider that new IoT (Internet of Things) enabled devices are being introduced to the market and added to users’ networks at an accelerating rate.
To sense the scale and magnitude of changes happening in physical security it helps to put numbers to what is happening across the industry. There is no doubt that the last 5 years have brought a lot of changes to the industry – but can you put data to those changes and trends? To be able to do so is useful for multiple reasons.
Everybody is talking about it, and more and more people are using it. From self-driving cars to predictive analysis and everything in between, artificial intelligence, or AI, is the next big thing in technology (including physical security). 85% of Americans already use AI in some way, from smart devices to complex intelligence for business operations. AI can detect and react much faster than human eyes and hands, and manage complex technology easily, relying on highly sophisticated software to ensure constant and repeatable success. Most importantly, problems or issues that may get missed or overlooked by humans can be reacted to and prevented from becoming serious. In physical security, what might be easily overlooked can quickly become life safety critical.
Physical Security competes with other industries for talent, and there is (right now) a giant opportunity for the industry to be a career magnet for people at the forefront of technology and innovation. To be deeply involved in IoT, cyber-security, machine learning, and cool-as-could-be drone technology and robotics is a giant draw for the best new talent. And those are exactly the leading-edge needs facing the physical security industry.
ISC West (International Security Conference & Exhibition) is the largest security industry trade show in the United States, where security professionals can meet and mingle with over 30,000 of their peers to discover technology innovations and network with other professionals. Over 1000 exhibitors and brands are slated to attend the 2018 conference, taking place in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo Center from April 10-13. ISC West sees attendance from both physical and IT security professionals in many disciplines—dealers and integrators, architects and engineers, and end users from a wide variety of industries. Integrators in particular should be excited to experience the opportunities to improve their business by attending ISC West.
There are ideas and concepts that you come across that you realize immediately were not developed for your particular endeavor, but nonetheless are very appropriate. As physical security is becoming more oriented around industrial IoT, Big Data, machine learning, and other areas of data science there are some useful ideas for physical security professionals to consider. One of these is “data gravity”; the nature of large amounts of data to draw in applications and processes that take advantage of the presence of that data. If you’re running an IP-based physical security system, you may have already noticed that whether it’s a PSIM (physical security information management), Viakoo for automated system verification, or numerous advanced video analytics applications, there are now a lot more applications being drawn towards the data present in IP-based physical security systems.
As with most things in life that develop at a rapid pace, the Internet of Things (IoT) may have early adoption issues but ultimately will function smoothly over time. Both the personal and enterprise benefits of living in a fully connected world where everything has some connection to a network will ensure that IoT adoption continues to expand. The current issues around cyber secure and functionality of systems are being addressed, paving the way for future IoT growth. But with today’s reality no CSO or CISO wants to be responsible for IT and/or physical security operations when they don’t have control of what’s connected to the network; they don’t know which security systems were offline or not working; and can’t easily determine which devices were impacted by downtime, data breaches, or compliance issues. No one wants to be that person.
As time marches on in physical security, sometimes there are clear markers along the way that fundamental changes have happened. We are all aware that IP-based physical security has taken hold, and the nature of managing and maintaining physical security networks has changed along with it. Is there a line we can draw in the last couple years to say “this is when it all really changed”? I would argue that 2017 is when a distinct change happened organizationally, specifically on how IT is sharing more responsibilities than ever before regarding physical security.
In many organizations, security is still considered an independent issue that is restricted to the security department, and decisions made by the security team are mostly of interest to the board only in relation to their costs or if a significant breach occurs. As physical security continues to take a more central and company-wide role in compliance, brand reputation, and cyber-security, it has consequently become an area your board is likely to want to have more information on – and sometimes will want that information on a moment’s notice.