The biggest stories of 2012

A look back at the events and business moves that grabbed headlines

Organizations bombarded by cyber attacks

It seems that every year, data breaches and other intrusions by hackers become bigger and more prolific. This year was no exception. In September, the websites of some of the largest banks in the country including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, were shut down due to coordinated Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. While these attacks only targeted the public-facing side of these websites and no customer data was taken, they highlight the ever increasing threats that banks, as well as other organizations face from cyberspace. According to the results of a recent study sponsored by HP, the average annualized cost of cybercrime incurred by a benchmark sample of U.S. companies was $8.9 million.  "From what I see, people don’t have clue when a breach occurred or if they have a breach, the level of analysis and due diligence isn’t really there," said IT security expert Kevin Beaver. "You cannot secure what you don’t acknowledge. I see so many organizations that have no real grasp of what’s really taking place in their environments and I suspect, based on what we see and hear in the media, the problem is a lot worse with security incidents that go undetected and unreported."

Tyco separates into independent companies

More than a year after its board of directors agreed to split the firm, Tyco was officially separated into three independently traded public companies in early October.  These companies include flow controls business Pentair Ltd., ADT, and the new Tyco, which is comprised of Tyco Security Products (American Dynamics, Bentel Security, CEM, Software House, DSC, Kantech, Visonic, Elpas, Sur-Gard and C24), Tyco Integrated Security (formerly known as ADT Business Solutions), SimplexGrinnell, Ansul, Scott Safety, and Chemguard. “When you look at the value that was unleashed here, the business models are different, trade differently within the market and now have been setup with their own capital structure with the currency that enables them  to be able to grow in their markets,” said Tyco CEO George Oliver.

Flir buys Lorex

Thermal imaging solutions provider Flir recently agreed to acquire Canada-based Lorex, a maker of surveillance cameras for the small business and consumer market. While the deal may have initially seemed odd on the surface – a manufacturer of high-end thermal cameras buying a company that makes traditional security cameras for the do-it-yourself market – the company said that acquisition is part of a larger goal to bring thermal imaging to the market at large.   "It plays into our strategy of not where we are today, but where we are headed," said Andy Teich, president of Flir’s commercial systems division. "We’ve told our investors for some time and have been executing along the lines of a continual reduction of the costs of thermal imaging technologies with the ultimate goal of providing thermal imaging technology to a very broad base of users at very low cost."

Superstorm Sandy’s wide-reaching industry impact

In late October, Hurricane Sandy, which would later merge with a winter storm to become “Superstorm Sandy,” slammed the Northeast coast of the U.S., killing more than 100 people and causing billions of dollars in property damage. The storm’s impact on the security industry was also vast, causing the rescheduling of ISC East, which was scheduled to take place in New York City that same week, and also putting the redundancies of central stations based in region to the test. The lives of many who work in the industry were also disrupted by the storm. "Unfortunately, (Sandy) affected us in a pretty significant way," Steve Gorski, general manager for the Americas at Mobotix, which has an office on Wall Street, said at the time. "Basically, we lost power and the whole area is flooded."

Ingersoll Rand announces spin-off of security business