At Cyber:Secured Forum, Cyber and Physical Security Professionals Tackle Integration Challenges

One topic seemed to dominate this year’s conference: the ongoing challenges of integrating physical security technologies with cybersecurity products

The agenda for this year’s Cyber:Secured Forum, held from July 29-31 in Dallas, Texas, was expansive. Attendees listened to top leaders from the cyber and physical security industries break down everything from the motivations of hackers to the latest trends in enterprise technology.

But there was one topic that seemed to be on the minds of nearly every conference-goer: the ongoing challenges of integrating physical security technologies with cybersecurity products in an era of constant attacks on corporations and government agencies. As one session description put it: “Connectivity has opened up a Pandora’s box of opportunity and challenges for the physical security industry.”

Vince Ricco, a business development advisory system engineer in the IoTSS global division at Dell Technologies, has seen that Pandora's box open up in real time. Having worked in the technology industry for decades, Ricco has seen major shifts in how the physical security sector approaches integration and cybersecurity.

“When you take video surveillance specifically, it was designed to emulate its predecessor analog technologies,” Ricco told Security Today on the last day of the conference. “That’s really what led to some of the [cyber] vulnerabilities.”

He added that manufacturers and other members of the industry had to overcome this “very analog mentality” and start finding ways to secure devices that were being integrated into video management systems.

“What complicates it for physical security is everybody has their space,” Ricco said, listing edge technology, light sensors, and video cameras as examples. “If I harden something at the edge, how does that now operate with the center of the universe: the video management system? That’s where we had to learn how to collaborate across the ecosystem.”

In the future, Ricco anticipates that more companies will take it a step further and adopt open APIs, which allow security integrators to change how applications communicate and interact with each other. Through open APIs, Ricco said, developers can offer a “single pane glass” for the end-user: a way for their video management system, camera manufacturer and audio sensor programs to work together securely and seamlessly.

“The more that there are some open APIs, that can allow all the individual components to have their value-add technologies,” he added. “They don’t have to open up and put things out in the public domain, but it does allow secure communications between them. And I do see that happening today.”

Overall, as medium and large enterprises look for security solutions with cloud technology, Ricco would like to see providers deploy their products in processes that work within companies’ existing cybersecurity practices rather than forcing those institutions to change their ways.

“I’ve been in technology for quite a while, and the one thing I always hated about technology was when I had to change the way I lived and do things to accommodate the technology,” Ricco said. “They have their cybersecurity practices in place, right? And to have to shift and change that to accommodate a service provider? Not the way to go.”

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