ISC West Session Tackles How To Work with IT Managers

While physical security professionals continue to migrate tools to the IP network, a session at ISC West last week -- "IT Manager: Friend or Foe?" -- tackled how to work with IT personnel to make the transition easier.

Speakers for the session were Larry Chaffin, CEO and chairman of Pluto Networks, and Patrick Snow, director of cloud solutions at EMC.

Chaffin said, in his experience, that customers are hesitant to migrate physical security tools to the network for an interesting reason.

"It isn't that the customers don't want to do it," Chaffin said. "They just don't have the internal skills to do it."

But Chaffin discussed two ways to help convince IT personnel that putting video surveillance information on the network wouldn't be difficult.

"If VoIP is already on the network, it is not difficult to put video on the network," he said. "We've had to show customers at a remote office how easy it is to do it. Be the IT manager's friend and advisor while trying to do it. Show your expertise, IT guys really get it when you show it

to them."

Snow said that physical security professionals need to use language that IT managers understand when making the proposal to migrate to network surveillance.

For example, instead of recording parameters, IT thinks about bandwidth usage. Instead of retention time for video, talk about storage requirements. And access control for physical security is more aptly described as authorization and authentication on the IT side.

While physical security usually doesn't have a return on investment case, putting video on the network does have other advantages, Snow said.

"The best thing about putting video on the network is that other lines of business can access the stream," he said. "It's called data mining, and it can be used as an ROI case for your proposal. If you can do that, executives all the way up the chain of command will be your friend. That's what physical security people need to do."

But most importantly, Snow indicated that knowledge is key to help making the transition and working with IT.

"The best way to convince IT people is through education," Snow said. "Find a champion for your cause. If you have to find an executive champion, that's a great way to do it. Try to make friends with the IT manager and find out what motivates them to help you and run with that."

About the Author

Brent Dirks is senior editor for Security Today and Campus Security Today magazines.

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