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...

Manufacturers, and to some extent integrators, fear the commoditization that open standards and interoperability will bring. Most don't stop to think that their current success is due in large part to the commoditization that has already occurred in IT. If the network cards of the early 1990s had remained proprietary and kept their $500 price tag, we wouldn't have IP-based video or IP-based anything. Today's security systems require a commoditized IT world.

Commoditization is what has made the IT explosion possible. Millions of people could take advantage of and build with what only hundreds or thousands could before. IT service providers no longer make money selling network cards. They sell information systems. And neither the customers nor the service providers would ever desire to turn back the clock.

Why wouldn't commoditization in the security industry result in a security explosion? History says it would. History also says that commoditization, based upon open standards and interoperability, is the inevitable next step for the security industry.

Customer demand for interoperability between brands will keep building. If it is not satisfied from within the traditional security industry as we know it, it would only be a small step for a few companies outside the industry or for the single largest security customer, the government to work to produce open standards, as is already happening with smart cards.

Shaping the Security Industry It is inevitable that the security industry will evolve and expand. Will the shape of that expansion come from within the security industry as we know it, or from without? If the changes are likely to have any impact on you, give some serious thought to your part in it. Whether by casting a vote, raising a voice, or leading an initiative do something.

Ray Bernard, PSP is the principal consultant for Ray Bernard Consulting Services (RBCS), providing high-security consulting. For information about Ray Bernard and RBCS go to www.go-rbcs.com or call 949-831-6788.