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
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
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
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
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Security Today.
Jon Ecker is founder and president of Peace of Mind Technologies.