Physical security industry comes together to tackle cyber threats

Jan. 12, 2018
New conference from SIA, PSA and ISC Events aims to move past just scaring people about the risks

Cybersecurity is the top-of-mind issue in the security industry today. From manufacturers, systems integrators to end-users, it is the one topic that everyone seems to have on their mind as each strives to ensure that video surveillance, access control and other systems are not compromised or used as entry points into larger corporate networks. Those concerns are only reinforced by the multitude of vulnerabilities that have been discovered and reported in various products in recent years as well as the various high-profile attacks, such as the Mirai botnet, which leveraged thousands of unsecured IP cameras to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. 

But beyond just recognizing the fact that the threat exists, some say the industry is woefully lacking in its ability to provide actionable information that security professionals can use immediately to mitigate potential risks. To address this, PSA Security Network, the Security Industry Association (SIA) and ISC Security Events have come together to launch “Cyber: Secured Forum,” a new cybersecurity event focused on integrated systems. The two-day event, which will take place on June 4-6 in Denver, Colorado, will provide attendees with in-depth educational content on cybersecurity trends and best practices related to the deployment of physical security and other integrated systems.

According to Bill Bozeman, President and CEO of PSA Security Network, many of the current cyber tracks at various industry events are somewhat redundant in terms of the content that is presented and tend to focus on malicious acts that have already happened or may happen.

“No one seems to take it past how terrible things have been or how bad it could get. Of course, we’re going to mention the threats and I’m sure Target is going to come up again, as will Equifax, but we’re taking it past that and we have processes, programs  and procedures for what you actually need to do,” Bozeman says. “We’re not here just to scare everybody. And that’s what I’ve found in our industry is everyone gets scared and says: ‘Well, what do we do? What services do we have? We don’t know. Should we try and help our end-users protect themselves? Yeah, we should but we don’t know how and this conference didn’t tell us how.’ That is what this event is about, it goes way past just scaring people.”

After coming together to create a special SIA membership category for PSA members a few years back, SIA CEO Don Erickson says that the two organizations have discussed how they could collaboratively address what they view as the biggest threats facing the industry with cybersecurity topping that list and that there were natural synergies between them as well as ISC Security Events that provided a pathway to launch this event.

“All three organizations have a history of developing very collaborative and compelling content and it just made sense to bring all of us together with our various strengths and reach around this top priority,” Erickson says.

“This really is a critical industry initiative and coming together for the Cyber: Secured Forum is going to bring our ecosystems even closer together,” Will Wise, Group Vice President of the Security Portfolio at Reed Exhibitions, adds.

For smaller integrators who aren’t able to invest heavily internally in tackling cyber threats, Bozeman says the event can educate them about the various products, services and partners available to help them take their cybersecurity capabilities to the next level. For those with deeper pockets, Bozeman says the summit will show them the higher level services and partners that are out there.

“From what I’ve seen, that separates what we’re trying to do at our event from what’s traditionally been offered. But to be clear, we’re not delusional; we’re not encouraging our systems integrators to quit doing security systems integration and become cybersecurity professionals at all. We’re just encouraging all of them to do something.”

While integrator education is a big focus of the summit, Erickson says it is really for all industry stakeholders, including manufacturers, the legal and insurance communities, investors, consultants, and A&E firms. “It is meant to be practical learning for each of them. My hope is that for the manufacturers attending, they’re going to learn best practices from each other – through the networking, discussion and Q&A,” he says. 

“There is always going to be competitive pressures and urgencies when it comes to this kind of topic but that’s healthy,” Wise adds. “At a huge forum like ISC, we want to have a very open forum with debate and that good competitive pressure to step up your game.”

In addition, Erickson says the summit will not be a “one and done” collaboration between the three organizations and that they intend to provide these same type of integrated educational opportunities throughout the year both online and through various other events.

“It starts with Cyber: Secured Forum in Denver and that is going to support and provide content and collaborate with ISC West and ISC East and that will feed content into Securing New Ground, the SIA Government Summit, webinars, etc.,” Erickson says. “The Cyber: Secured Forum is an event by the three organizations but it is one piece of an integrated learning experience throughout the year and that is something that has been lacking in the industry, in my opinion.”

Despite the threats posed by hackers and some of the well-documented incidents that have already taken place in which security devices have been compromised, Bozeman says “cavalier” attitudes about cyber risks are still very much prevalent in the industry and he hopes that through events like this and other continuing education opportunities that that will begin to change.   

“We’re providing something that’s extremely important and very much underserved,” Bozeman says. “In my view, it’s the best shot we have at getting not just the integrators, but the integrators and the manufacturers to step up really before it’s too late.

For more information about the event or to register, visit

About the Author: 

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of and a veteran security journalist. You can reach him at [email protected].