Face Forward and Watch Your Back

For the foreseeable future, the need for security products and services will continue to increase. However, new industry expansion is not likely to mirror the expansion of past years. Security needs drive the industry's growth, but four critical factors...


The department was overburdened by the need to keep so many servers online and up to date with the latest software patches. "One hardworking IT administrator can take care of 100 boxes, and we had three times that many," said Ken Lang, STS video program manager.

"One morning, IT informed us that about a third of our [DVR] servers were infected," said Lang. "That was our wake-up call to abandon the silo' support model, where we purchased and self-managed equipment, and instead to work closely with IT to deploy standard server equipment for CCTV."

Cisco selected IBM Global Service Delivery (the world's largest information technology services and consulting provider) as the implementation arm for the new solution.

The benefits of Cisco's migration to CCTV over IP include the following.

Video storage requirements were lowered by 60 percent, representing $500,000 in savings. The new system reduces storage volume requirements because it has the intelligence to store video only if motion is detected.

Operational risks were mitigated by expediting maintenance and repair. "When a proprietary box broke, we had to dispatch local security integrator technicians, who often were unfamiliar with our site requirements, to come on site and work with in-house video system technicians," said Deon Chatterton, program manager for the STS group. "Remediation might take five days or longer. Now we have a two-hour response and 24-hour turnaround for repair."

Maintenance costs were reduced by 20 percent because Cisco IT has economies of scale and spends less time monitoring and maintaining servers.

System security was increased. "Now that we're standards-based, the system is much more secure," said Chatterton. "Network protection and virus definitions are implemented as soon as available instead of when we get to it." Cisco IT has contracted through IBM to provide remote security-related updates. The system has paid for itself more than once by enabling the Safety and Security department to apprehend people who had stolen equipment and then recover the stolen property.

IT Projects for Biometrics and ID Systems
A visit to the Web sites of smart card makers reveals that their marketing efforts are mainly oriented towards IT departments. For example, the current home page of the ActivCard Web site states, "ActivCard is a leading global provider of strong multi-factor authentication, password management, and trusted digital identities with market-designed solutions for Governments, Enterprises, and Financial Institutions"

ID badging systems have traditionally been in the province of physical security. Within recent years, however, they have increasingly become IT projects. Biometric security for PCs and networks, including fingerprint scanners built into keyboards, means that there will be far more biometric security devices employed for logical security than for physical security.

BAS Companies Move In
It's not just the IT sector that is bringing new competition for physical security projects. The #1 company on Security Distributing and Marketing magazine's list of 2004 Top System Integrators is Siemens Building Technologies a building controls company for which security systems projects account for less than 20 percent of total company revenue.

Two major security companies, GE Security and Bosch Security Systems, have released products designed to facilitate integration of HVAC, lighting, fire alarm and security systems. They are Facility Commander from GE and System 3T Building Management Solution from Bosch. The integration for both is based upon OLE for Process Control (OPC), a well known standard in industrial automation and building controls. OPC is a series of standards specifications available from the OPC Foundation. Architect and engineering firms increasingly require product specifications compliant with OPC, and since security systems are part of building controls, it makes sense to support OPC integration capability.

Financial Sector Interest
John E. Mack III, co-founder and CEO of USBX Inc. and former CEO of Protection One (one of the largest monitored security services in North America), said in a May 2004 interview with SecurityStockWatch.com, "The convergence of digital technology with security systems has spurred capital investing in security equipment. Security systems with digital technology can yield heightened productivity because things like video surveillance can be done much more effectively today."