- Remote support: Given that local support for the security network may be limited, can the system provide enough information for an off-site resource to properly identify (or at least surround) the problem, enabling it to be addressed quickly?
- Network security: The system should promote overall network security by identifying rogue or wireless devices, hubs with unauthorized devices or bandwidth usage in excess of an anticipated maximum level.
- Cost: The system's cost of acquisition and support needs to be supportable within the security department's budget (or IT budget, if applicable).
- Usability: The user interface for the system should be somewhat intuitive or, at least, easily learned; and relevant to the application of physical security.
Although I have listed them at the end, cost and usability are high on my list, since you cannot use something you can't afford to purchase, and you won't use it if the interface is not correct. After that, decide what functionality is needed, what issues require immediate alarm and response and who has responsibility for providing that response.
Newer systems are evolving for our industry that promise to offer the right mix of characteristics. Such products not only offer the end-user greater network control and visibility, but the remote monitoring and diagnostic features of these systems present the system integrator with opportunities to better serve their customers and realize the revenue commensurate with that service.
Ray Coulombe is Principal Consultant for Gilwell Technology Services, providing product and market-related strategic assistance to early stage companies in the physical security and transportation markets. Ray can be reached at email@example.com or through LinkedIn.