Dan DunkelThink Like a CSO at ISC West

by Dan Dunkel - President, New Era Associates

Published in SDM

While the foundation principals behind “security” such as protection and defense are unwavering, our new era of globalization and the speed of new technology represent two mega-trends that are transforming our future. Our industry must accelerate the pace of deploying new security technologies over “intelligent” networks in response to a global crime epidemic. Smart integrators recognize this as a business opportunity and are attending trade shows to recruit new solution partners. Others use the recession as rationale to cut shows out of their budgets?

As physical security moves toward collaboration we open our eyes to new ways to address old problems. This is where a trade show like ISC West plays a huge role. By understanding that security solutions are migrating onto IT infrastructure, smart integrators align solution value with the buying criteria the IT group has been using for years when justifying purchases. The IT department adds value to the business by deploying secure and reliable services to increase employee productivity and thereby improve competitiveness. Budgets are tight; IT operates with minimum staffing levels and depends on key partners for support and services. However, if a physical security integrator promotes a product set that is proprietary, costly to maintain, and with limited value beyond installation services, they are relegated to a point solution player. This is bad positioning during a recession.

The corporate security “executive” clearly understands the financial need to avoid costly “proprietary silo” deployments if they want their careers to advance. This does not mean eliminating legacy security systems tomorrow, however, they create a strategy to integrate new “open” solutions into these environments. Failing to understand two critical needs, IT collaboration and total cost of ownership, becomes increasingly visible the higher security reaches up the organization. The smart security integrator will provide a security roadmap with this in mind. They seek out the latest innovations available in the industry and aligning solutions with security priorities. If you do not offer a “critical” solution requirement, you partner and/or buy a company.

Security is not only about physical barriers anymore (even these are becoming IP based) but its value is in creating information assets to be shared in real time. This requires deploying a trusted network, as in securing the storage and transfer of information. Consider a security environment that utilizes video surveillance as foundation architecture, yet tolerates DVR systems that operate maybe 60% of the time? This will not scale to meet the reliability requirements and TCO benchmarks within the IT group. In fact, the deployment has both issues working against it. This is a challenge for integrators (and manufacturers) on two levels: culturally and technically. I understand you have relationships with vendors and established business models, but this won’t get you to the enterprise level, where consulting services are your value add to the IT department, and the end game is collaborating to support the security group.

All security purchases will undergo more scrutiny in a down economy. Point products will be delayed in favor of strategic solutions that protect the business. Smart integrators will expand their security software and services atop a base infrastructure of intelligent networks and reliable storage solutions, which represent 2/3 of the IT budget. As you work more closely with IT words reliability, services, and cost of ownership will be second nature. The product life cycle will also be three years, not seven. Use ISC West to establish new partnerships and drive innovation. Remember two things; (1) the CSO must accelerate security solutions across the enterprise, and (2) the CSO must collaborate with their IT peers and will expect the same from their security integrator!