A Conversation with Chris Wooten

We recently sat down with Chris Wooten, president of NICE Security America, to talk about IT departments’ increasing involvement in deploying security systems and how that affects the movement toward open architecture.

Q. How is IT factoring into the deployment of security?

A. We’re seeing that security is now being run through an organization’s IT department. In response, about 24 months ago, we revisited the way we design and implement our products to make them more IT-friendly -- to address the needs of an IT manager -- so we could turn our products into IT-type solutions.

We spend a lot of time in enabling our products to have more of an IT-centric deployment. Some of the integrators we have come from a security background, rather than an IT background, so we have to help our integrators operate in this new world.

Q. What is NICE’s stance on the movement toward open architecture and component interchangeability in security systems?

A. We’re members of PSIA and ONVIF; we’re big proponents of standards. We have 14 or 15 engineers who focus wholly on writing new interfaces. That’s 14 or 15 people that we could invest in developing new solutions for customers that would bring them new value. We’re very interested in seeing this trend move forward.

We think that in a few years, ONVIF and PSIA standards will have addressed the video surveillance component. We see challenges, though, in the areas of systems being able to talk to one another.

Customers have deployed a number of subsystems to realize their security goals, but none of these systems talk to each other. So, one of the things we did last year is we introduced a new management platform that we call situation management. It’s an integration tool that allows different subsystems to talk to each other, so that if something happens, they can work together to alert the proper person to deal with the event.

It comes down to how we can improve response by making these systems be able to work together better.

Q. How is NICE handling the rise in security regulations -- CFATS, the Clery Act, NERC, etc.?

A. One of the aspects of a situation management platform is integrating these systems together to help our customers address the rise in different regulations. Whether it be a utility under NERC, or some type of manufacturing facility under CFATS, the government is requiring organizations to monitor and record how the people, the technology and the processes all interact with one another in pursuit of identifying, mitigating or solving an incident.

The situation management system captures when a sensor goes off, who responds to it, when they responded, what they actually did and what other systems were involved in the incident. The system issues a report that the organization can submit to the entities that are doing the regulating. This is not only for utilities -- we also do it for baking, manufacturing and seaports. We’re seeing a lot more regulation out there, and our customers are having trouble in being able to manage all of that out there. It is quite labor- intensive to be able to respond to these regulations.

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