The CIO/CSO Convergence Dynamic

by Dan Dunkel - President, New Era Associates

Published in Today's Systems Integrator - January, 2006

The new era of physical security and IT convergence offers an opportunity for common ground between security professionals at all management levels. This cooperation not only revolves around products and technologies, but the personal benefit of advancing career paths. While we tend to look at security from different viewpoints, we should realize that we do have mutual "executive" constituencies. Business is not just about solving problems, but also eliminating the embarrassment the exposure of that business problem causes. This concept applies to both external customers and individual career paths.

Security and IT executives must come together and agree that corporate security involves risk management and business continuance. The CEO and Board of Directors expect and deserve a coordinated working relationship between these critical groups. Within the two organizations risk needs to be clearly understood and communicated across the company, duplicate projects and costs must be eliminated, and security in general terms should be a bridge toward cooperation and mutual respect. If not, the organizational security policy, as well as individual career paths will suffer setbacks.

The security convergence trend is inevitable for several reasons. The IT Executive is becoming more powerful in corporate America. The business reality is that outside of the CEO, the CIO basically has a global view of all corporate operations. His/her department touches everyone's area from engineering to sales to personnel. This business background provides excellent preparation for a move into a CEO role. I expect we will see much more of this promotion path in the future. Moving forward all applications will be standards based and enterprise deployable, including physical security. Compliance and IT governance issues will dictate that strategy and vendors outside of this mandate will be excluded from large network opportunities. Physical security products are moving toward convergence as distribution channels and support requirements evolve to meet both new competitive challenges and business opportunities.

I suggest a good New Years resolution involves cooperation within your respective departments around security initiatives. Convergence is a major business trend and while disruptive in some respects, offers huge opportunities for companies and individuals positioned to benefit from it.

About the Author:
Dan Dunkel, president of New Era Associates, is a frequent presenter on the topic of systems integration and convergence before security, enterprise and executive groups. He is especially interested in helping the new breed of integrator succeed in the evolving network environment. Contact him at or visit