Question from ASIS 2007: What should a security dealer’s IT strategy be?

In Security Dealer magazine, one topic we try to cover often is the whole “convergence†issue as it relates to dealers/integrators needing to become educated about IP networks in order to provide cutting-edge physical security solutions now and into the future. With this topic in mind, I’ve been asking some people at the ASIS show what their thoughts are regarding how a security dealer/integrator should approach the increasingly important topic of learning information technology (specifically IP networks).

I’ve received some varying responses, but the common thread seemed to be that dealers/integrators of different sizes will likely have different strategies. From a practical standpoint, there isn’t a cookie-cutter strategy that can be used by every dealer/integrator company of every shape and size regarding a strategy of handling IT-intensive projects. If you’re a large dealer/integrator, then it likely makes sense to bring the IT knowledge in-house and do the projects on your own. If you’re a small dealer/integrator, then perhaps the thing to do is partner with another company or hire a consultant.

In today’s world of constant media coverage, it can become a little too easy to over-hype or exaggerate a problem or trend—and that’s certainly something I try to avoid. But on the other hand, a journalist does want to appropriately identify important trends and, if a problem is foreseen, sound the warning. There’s a fine line between providing a service to your readers and unnecessarily fear-mongering (or perhaps “nagging†is a better term) them into making a change.

When it comes to security dealers and integrators, what do you see as some various strategies that could be used in order to avoid losing out on an increasing number of physical security installs where IP networks are involved? Do you think dealers/integrators should have a “sense of urgency†when it comes to learning IP?