A Strategic Approach

A Strategic Approach

Scalable security is the way of networking an IT infrastructure

The security industry is under attack by buzzwords, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is one of a few leading the assault. If you work in security and deal in technology, you understand that the Internet of Things isn’t a trend, but a change in mindset from analog to IP-driven security. Within the last five years, every security technology— cameras, card readers, intercoms, alarms, locks—has become accessible through an IP address and available to the Internet in some way. The top requirement in today’s most successful integrators is more knowledge of networking and IT infrastructure and better technical skills of integrators in the field.

The way integrators are implementing installations and sustaining the clientprovider relationship has changed, too. Security-as-a-Service—another buzzword offender—is simply a change in the way integrators are adding value to and strengthening implemented systems.

Security integrators need to take note of the evolving philosophy behind today’s strategic, scalable security approach instead of getting lost in the terms we use to hype it up.

Pursue Synergy with IT Teams

Yesterday’s security integrators showed up to sites with multi-meters, crimpers, cutters, test monitors and other hand tools. An integrator’s most important tools today are network cable testers and laptops with network-analysis software.

After the heavy lifting of installing and wiring the actual devices, the implementing, programming and configuring of an entire system can be done remotely from an integrator’s command center by IT specialists. In the past, initial installation conversations from a client’s side involved a project manager from a construction company, building architects and facilities managers. But, today’s conversation is driven more and more by a client’s IT team.

Using the example of a site installation concerning the latest IP security cameras, an integrator’s strategic plan might develop like this:

  • Send project manager to site to work with the IT team and gain a complete understanding of the technology infrastructure.
  • Determine network arrangements for where cameras will live: on the client’s network or a parallel network?
  • Program cameras using an in-house technology unit, simulate mock network environment and integrate into a video management system.
  • Ensure all cameras are labeled with IP, ID, serial number and description for ease of installation and faster service support in the future.

Institutions want security solutions that take them into the future. They crave long-term value for their organization. The integrator who takes the strategic approach above cultivates an unrivaled depth of knowledge about an institution’s security system that enhances the relationship. Today’s integrator must be ready to not only be a security expert, but a trusted technology partner in an age where leveraging connectedness safely and effectively is everything.

Steer Toward Browserbased Systems

Enterprise businesses are in need of browser-based security environments. For a facility faced with the proposition of buying new servers due to operating system or software incompatibility, browser-based security systems eliminate server dependence to create anytime, anywhere access. Plus, implementing a browser-based platform eliminates technology downtime associated with server and software upgrades.

With a browser-based system through a network, security updates are made in the background without service disruption or onsite visits. Without a dependence on servers or architecture, members of the organization are able to see into their site from any device.

Because every client’s organizational dependencies are different, it’s important for integrators to command a comprehensive knowledge of various security technologies to satisfy specific configurations. For some clients, a completely browser-based, cloud-based system may be the right solution. Other clients may desire security information to never leave their network infrastructure, while a third client may want a web-based system installed on their own network. Whatever the desired setup combination, integrators need to be able to deliver.

The more involved with the network, the more complicated and the more advanced system features become. Educating the customer on how to effectively leverage implemented technologies is crucial for successful installations and long-term partnerships.

Turn Obstacles into Opportunities

Barriers to change come in the form of rigid, outdated security policies and cost concerns for exchanging old equipment for new technology. A less expensive, older security solution hinders organizations from being compatible with newer technologies as their needs change and the industry evolves. New technologies enable companies to scale within the next five years, while a refusal to embrace these technologies results in missed opportunities for organizations.

For institutions worried about their information infrastructure, it’s the responsibility of the integrator to work with them to enforce the right security measures to protect their data and advance their reputations. Working with an institution’s internal technology team is crucial, because it’s up to that team to poke holes in the technology layout and infrastructure design. The internal team is also responsible for detailing the levels of security necessary for adhering to the larger organization’s security policy.

The goal of the integrator is to help an institution lay the foundation for stronger security and a tighter security plan through constant education on the types of technology and ways to leverage the technology specifically for that site. The more an organization knows about itself, the more efficient its overall operations become.

Abandon Consumer-vendor Mentality

As the evolution of the integrator relates to the Internet of Things, there is a huge difference between what is taking place at the consumer level and what is taking place at the enterprise level. What might seem like a commodity at the consumer level is a fundamental shift in facility management at the enterprise level. Supporting connected devices at the enterprise level within a complex infrastructure is a huge endeavor, and requires an investment of resources between both the integrator and institution. The need for a strategic partnership—another overused buzzword— between integrator and institution is what will provide the most value to both parties.

With this new level of connectedness, instead of figuring out how to help organizations capture data, the job of the integrator becomes helping them use that data to improve operational efficiencies. Integrated security solutions allow organizations to be more productive and their employees to be more effective at their jobs.

In terms of Security-as-a-Service, this wealth of data captured by connected devices provides integrators with the opportunity to enhance a security solution through add-on services, including remote video monitoring, remote visitor management and remote system health maintenance. Integrators are able to remotely view a facility and take tabs on the health of the entire system.

Within the next twelve months, the industry will see greater automation through new technologies and added functionality. A system creating management efficiencies will become standard. The technology will manage and monitor itself, systematically generate reports based on oddities or incidents and send this data to key security personnel so they may proactively prevent risk and larger organizational setbacks.

The buzzwords I’ve mentioned above convey a sense of urgency for integrators and institutions to embrace change. But, a move away from conventional security has been taking place underneath us for a while now. It’s time for integrators to use this new connectedness to improve the strength of our mission: stronger security for healthier organizations.

 

This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Security Today.

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