Susan Brady : Discuss the trends in convergence and the benefits it offers as far as operational efficiencies, cost savings and improved security.
Michael Godfrey, CTO at Visual Defence: There are a number of trends within the security convergence space, each of which contributes to operational efficiencies, cost savings and improved security.
Obviously, foremost among them is technology convergence . The ability to integrate IP technologies with existing analog components—for instance, adding IP cameras to an existing installation of analog cameras and having them work as one system—provides customers with a cost-effective transition to digital infrastructure.
There has also been an increase in the demand for vendor convergence , an open architecture approach that allows customers the freedom and flexibility to choose vendors with the best-of-breed solution to meet their particular needs and/or tie one or more vendors into a single converged security solution.
The growing prevalence of systems convergence is another trend to note. Systems convergence is a comprehensive approach to security management that gives customers the ability to customize a solution that will provide a single point of management (one GUI) for a limitless number of subsystems including video, access control, fire alarm, and building management.
Another trend with significant cost-savings implications is applications and tenant convergence , a far-reaching enterprise solution that gives customers faster return-on-investment by using existing security assets for multiple applications like security, marketing and operations. Tenant convergence is the ability of multiple tenants to access a single system. For example, a retail store may use existing security cameras for marketing purposes to count the number of people who stop at a display.
One of the largest benefits of convergence is the en hanced ability to handle risk mitigation and control: provide operators all relevant risk information within a central system, creating fast, intelligent event response by reducing the risk and time associated with gathering and interpreting data from individual systems.
David Ting, CTO and co-founder, Imprivata: Increasingly, corporations are asking how to leverage all their security resources in order to protect their corporate assets – personnel, physical property, intellectual property, data and brand assets. Well-publicized data breaches where customer information was lost—and all of the resulting bad publicity and impact on the brand—are causing the CIO, CSO or CRO of an organization to reexamine how best to control and track access to IT assets.
Convergence offers a way for real-time information from the physical access system to be used in the decision to grant or deny a user access to either the network or to remote access. The ability to obtain the location and status of a cardholder's badge allows the IT system to add location awareness and employee status to the network access policy. This in turn allows an IT administrator, for example, to ensure that someone logging onto the computer network is actually in the building or in some cases within a specific work area such as the server room. Checking the cardholder's badge status allows the IT system to deny a user from logging onto the network or gaining access through the remote access VPN port once physical access privileges are revoked. This instant lockout ensures that all IT resources used by an employee can be quickly secured on termination of employment. Convergence of logical and physical events also allows for the creation of a single access report for all cardholders that records the timeline for all IT access from the physical access event of badging into a building to the logical access event of logging onto a computer or launching an application. This type of report is invaluable for demonstrating compliance and for investigation of improper access.