Is Your VMS as Smart as Your Phone?
- By Ken LaMarca
- Jul 21, 2016
Is your software up to date? Years ago, that question was probably intended for your desktop computer, but today it could also refer to your laptop, tablet, smartphone and much, much more. Professional security systems are no different in terms of their dependence on software. Access control, identity management, video surveillance, communications and every other critical security and safety function in some way relies on software to operate properly and effectively.
Hackers and other cyber criminals are relentless in their attempts to breach networks and access sensitive data. Software vulnerabilities are a favorite target in this ongoing quest largely because of the rate of success in exploiting them – and hackers frequently share success stories online, which exacerbates the problem. A simple Google search will turn up websites dedicated to providing lengthy – and constantly growing – lists of known “loopholes”. Software providers are well aware of this risk, and are equally relentless in their efforts to close these “open doors” with security patches delivered in regular updates.
Which all leads to the question, are we actually keeping our software up to date?
Cybersecurity firms and researchers have confirmed the unfortunate reality that to a large extent, we are not. A recent study found that almost all of the network software vulnerabilities detected in the last year could have been prevented by software fixes and patches that were readily available before a breach occurred. More alarming, particularly considering the critical nature of security is that a good percentage of these fixes had been available for five years or more – but had simply not been installed.
From a security perspective, how are we doing at updating our solutions compared to other critical software? Sadly, the answer is that we are probably doing a much better job of keeping software up to date on our phones than for our critical security applications. A primary reason for this is the auto-update feature available on most smartphones and computers. In fact, the software that drives most smart devices automatically updates on a daily basis without the need for human action – or even awareness.
Video management systems (VMS) may offer the greatest potential to change this trend. Often serving as the hub of security applications, open-architecture VMS are capable of collecting, sorting and analyzing the growing amount of data generated by access control, video surveillance and other integrated security and non-security systems. Analysis generates intelligence that can help make people, property and assets safer and more secure.
With this in mind, it should be obvious that keeping VMS software up to date is critical in security. But no amount of updates can help if they are not installed. Fortunately, some VMS providers now include the same auto-update capabilities as our smartphones to ensure users are running the most current – and most secure – version. As an added bonus, some solutions offer auto-update in conjunction with other features designed to expedite system updates, deliver more efficient recording and help protect systems from cyberattacks.
By removing the need for human action or intervention in the software updating process, new VMS software with auto-update features helps ensure that users’ systems are always current and that any potential vulnerabilities are closed. Combined with flexible, intelligent device drivers, VMS delivers a range of benefits for users and integrators alike, not the least of which is peace of mind. As a result, today’s VMS can indeed be as smart – and as secure – as your phone.
Ken LaMarca is the the VP of Sales and Marketing for OnSSI.