verint

Moving From Legacy to Innovation

How Verint has moved from traditional VMS to integrated cyber intelligence

As every security professional knows well, the sector is changing rapidly thanks to emerging developments in artificial intelligence and the migration from traditional systems to integrated cyber and physical security operations.

But what does it really take to move from a business focused on legacy security solutions to one based on the latest technology and cyber trends? Over the past three years, Verint has ventured to find out.

Alan Stoddard, who serves as the vice president and general manager for Verint’s situational intelligence solutions business unit, has overseen a large portion of the company’s shift in strategy. Since 2016, when Verint decided to merge its situational intelligence unit with its cyber intelligence division, the company has completely changed how it approaches comprehensive security solutions.

“We really took a new look at security and started to realize— with trends in technology and the industry, and the threat environment— that physical and cyber security were really two sides of the same coin,” Stoddard told Security Today last fall. “They were both threats that security officers needed to protect against, and whether people were breaking into the vaults to steal a million dollars or doing it online, the result was the same.”

The fundamental change in the company’s approach to its role as a security provider led Verint to shift from what Stoddard calls a “legacy video management-based business” to one that is focused on “actionable intelligence” in the physical and cyber areas.

That change has also been reflected in Verint’s business model. In December, the company announced its decision to separate Verint into two independent, publicly traded companies: one consisting of its customer engagement business, and one that consists of its cyber intelligence business. Verint CEO Dan Bodner said in a statement that the change should be complete by Jan. 31, 2021. Still, Verint’s mission remains the same: to provide organizations with complete situational awareness so that they can more quickly and accurately respond to their threat environment. This is easier said than done, according to Stoddard.

He noted the challenges posed by integrating cyber and physical security solutions are “huge,” in large part due to how clients have traditionally separated cyber employees and their physical security counterparts. The issues are less technological than structural, and providers are still in the early days of the transition, Stoddard said.

“While we believe that [integration] is inevitable, I think the marketplace is spread out along the spectrum, with some of them starting to move in that direction and some of them certainly not,” Stoddard said. “What that means, essentially, is that the responsibilities of those organizations? — functionally who’s got which jobs, whether they’re combined into a single decision entity, a single function, a single presence—varies quite a bit in the marketplace.”

Verint’s strategy is also built on a growing desire to process the enormous amount of data provided by the Internet of Things in one comprehensive system. The security industry is moving from a world of individual subsystems—covering everything from access control, video surveillance and gunshot detection—to one where all of those analytics from those systems can be processed at the same time, Stoddard said.

“Each of the systems lived in a silo,” Stoddard said. “What we’re really seeing now is a world where … we’d like to be able to look at that data across all those different domains and use artificial intelligence and machine learning to start to analyze things that may be happening across those domains to provide actionable intelligence to the operator.”

To accomplish this goal, Verint acquired NowForce in November 2018 to provide better dispatch services and respond to customers. Through the enhanced security operations center provided by NowForce, customers can not only “ingest” data about their facilities but have a better understanding of how they should respond, Stoddard said.

“I refer to it as 360 degrees of command, control and response,” he said. “It’s not enough to be the first. You have to actually respond to the situation.”

Though Verint has greatly enhanced its situational awareness offerings, the company is always looking for new ways to expand its analytical services. The company sees a big upside to this sector as opposed to its traditional VMS business, Stoddard said.

“We see the whole concept of situational awareness as really emerging,” Stoddard said. “By leveraging the intelligence and treating all these different systems not as silos, but as data inputs to an analytical engine, we can start to really bring a much higher level of intelligence to the organization.”

This article originally appeared in the January / February 2020 issue of Security Today.

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