Adapting to Complex Demands
Business security is expanding and there are increasingly more connections to secure
- By Peter Boriskin
- May 01, 2018
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.