Adapting to Complex Demands

Adapting to Complex Demands

Business security is expanding and there are increasingly more connections to secure

The true promise of the Internet of Things in the physical security space is that connected, network-enabled products will simplify both life and work, make companies more profitable, and provide better solutions than could be achieved through non-IoT products. The truth is that technologies enabling the IoT space—such as mobile, cloud and automated devices—are simply the first step. The integration of these technologies into buildings is currently in demand for the built environment. As the growth of the IoT continues, it is critical not only to understand the current landscape, but also to be prepared for what the near and long-term future holds for IoT in terms of security.

For all door openings that require physical security or electronic access control, this means identifying key considerations for both physical and digital security as the industry moves forward with IoT solutions.

The Value of Data

The head of a new technology service startup recently likened the value of data to that of a new natural resource. In truth, he isn’t far off. The data being gained from new technologies and the IoT space is incredibly valuable. It can be leveraged in many different ways by building managers to operate their facility more efficiently and sustainably. Connected devices produce data that measure their performance in real time, enabling quick adjustments to improve efficiency or preventative maintenance if a device failure appears likely. This data can be leveraged in many different ways, and that requires consideration of how we can best protect it.

Manufacturers must clearly communicate to customers how this data can be used. It is critical integrators and end users ensure they are partnering with manufacturers that have their best interests in mind—using the data to improve their business.

Making Data Work

In a best-case scenario, the data a building or business creates will be utilized by the same entity to improve safety and save money on operations. To achieve that goal, we need to figure out what data is valuable not only to security solutions, but to other systems in the building. The interoperability of access control with other building systems is critical for a long-term solution using autonomy.

Autonomy goes beyond the setting of schedules for when doors lock or unlock. It requires the doors to lock or unlock based on a number of triggers and scenarios, to communicate with other systems that this is an acceptable entry or not, and to expect the other systems to respond with intelligence.

For example, the late-night access of a door might be completely appropriate for someone who is putting in long hours. If that is the case, the door might want to confirm the identity with other security systems, let the lighting and heating system know which user has entered the building, and provide an audit trail for IT or HR departments.

If it’s not an acceptable entry, a number of other systems need to be alerted—including an emergency response system and potentially the full lockdown of vulnerable areas.

The Cross-Pollination of Markets

Further adding to the complexity of this new world is that commercial and residential spaces—long segmented in the security industry— are about to work more closely together thanks in large part to IoT. What we’re seeing the beginning stages of right now is the sharing of core competencies, best practices and expectations in the space.

Residential installations have really led the way in IoT with a focus on creating more comfortable, more attractive spaces through automation. Whether in lighting control, thermostats, voice control, or home security, the residential user has been a real leader in setting the standard for what is of value in terms of connected devices.

That expectation created in the residential space is now going to cross over to business. There will soon be—or already is—demand for more user-friendly, simplistic control of office spaces. Integrators and building owners alike need to be prepared to meet this demand with the solutions that are available. In any upgrade undertaken, they need to ensure they are future-proofing a building as much as possible for further integrations of IoT systems.

For physical security solutions that means considering what credentials will be used in the coming years, how work forces may change with shifting work schedules, and ensuring access control systems are in sync across an entire building or campus.

Digital Security for the Physical Security

Further, the business sector will provide a benefit to the residential space as it continues to seek out an industry standard for what digital security goes into protecting physical security products.

For physical security solutions such as doors and openings, we must ensure that digital components are impervious to attacks. There have been reports of IoT products in the residential realm that have fallen victim to takeover attacks where an intruder can utilize the device for nefarious means such as DDoS (distributed denial of service). There is also constant concern over cameras or other connected devices within homes being compromised.

For business, we must ensure IoT devices are rock solid in their digital security. Any intrusion is magnified in a business environment, meaning manufacturers must be certain they stand by their product’s digital security. Similarly, integrators and facility owners must be sure they are working with manufacturers and solutions they can trust.

What Does This Mean for You?

There is complexity and excitement to the IoT space in terms of security for business, healthcare, education, multi-family housing and other large-scale enterprises. To capitalize on this space, it is important to both become an expert and to partner with those who will help you overcome any challenges.

Partnerships are key in all security integrations and finding a collaborative partner invested in your success is no different when it comes to IoT. Whether you are a building owner, security manager, integrator or other security professional, engage with manufacturers and ask questions about the ideas mentioned above.

Understand what the plan is with any data being generated. Explain the new demands or needs you are seeing from end users. Ensure that digital security is being implemented on any component connecting to a network. A manufacturer that is committed to your continued success will help make the complexity of these situations much simpler.

The Internet of Things is exciting. It will very soon create autonomous buildings that will make our lives at home and work much better, but the path to getting there is to understand the complexities, ensure interoperability, and provide robust security and transparency along the way.

This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Security Today.

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