Navigating cyber threats: safeguarding video management in the digital age

June 24, 2024
Through collaborating and leveraging our collective expertise, we can create a more secure future for video technology and protect our organizations and clients from the ever-present danger of cyber threats.

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital security, the breach of Verkada's surveillance system has sent shockwaves through the security industry, underlining the critical importance of robust cybersecurity measures for video technology solutions.

As technology decision-makers in the security sector, it is our responsibility to stay informed about potential threats and implement effective strategies to protect our video management software (VMS) platforms.

The incident serves as a wake-up call for the industry, emphasizing the need for a proactive and multi-layered approach to cybersecurity.

To effectively safeguard VMS platforms, security professionals must first understand the stages of a cyberattack and the corresponding countermeasures. The Cyber Kill Chain, a framework introduced by Lockheed Martin, breaks down a cyberattack into seven stages:

  1. Reconnaissance
  2. Weaponization
  3. Delivery
  4. Exploitation
  5. Installation
  6. Command and Control
  7. Actions on Objectives

By understanding these stages, organizations can anticipate an attacker's moves and implement defenses to prevent or mitigate the attack. This multi-tiered strategy should address all stages of the Cyber Kill Chain, including measures such as ensuring system invisibility to port scans, employing robust email security, regularly updating and patching systems, implementing advanced endpoint protection, monitoring network activity, and conducting regular system audits and data backups.

Protecting VMS platforms requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses penetration testing, the use of ethical hackers, and the implementation of containment strategies.

Penetration testing is a crucial step for every new release and update, allowing vendors to identify and address vulnerabilities promptly. Ethical hackers, or “good guys,” play a vital role in assessing systems and helping improve overall security. These professionals use their skills to identify weaknesses and provide recommendations for strengthening the system's defenses.

To mitigate the impact of a successful breach, software solutions must be secured at multiple layers, creating redundant security controls. This defense in depth strategy limits the damage to a specific segment and facilitates thorough auditing and post-mortem analysis, enabling administrators to understand the intricacies of the attack and devise preventive measures against similar future incidents.

By implementing multiple layers of security, organizations can create a more resilient system that can withstand and recover from potential breaches.

The Shared Responsibility of Cybersecurity

When it comes to cybersecurity responsibilities, it is essential to distinguish between on-premises and cloud solutions. On-premises solutions place the onus on the customer or their chosen reseller partner, requiring technical competency to ensure proper system configuration and installation.

Common vulnerabilities in on-premises solutions include outdated software, weak passwords, insecure network connections, and misconfigured or missing encryption. It is crucial for organizations with on-premises solutions to have a dedicated and knowledgeable IT team that can properly manage and maintain the security of their VMS platforms.

On the other hand, cloud-based solutions, such as Video Security as a Service (VSaaS) solutions, transfer most of the security responsibility to the vendor through the “Shared Responsibility Model.”

Under this model, the vendor is responsible for securing the underlying infrastructure, while the customer is responsible for managing access controls and ensuring proper configuration of their VMS platform.

When selecting a cloud solution, it is crucial to consider the vendor’s commitment to security, transparency and technical expertise. Organizations should thoroughly vet potential vendors and ensure that they have robust security measures in place, such as encryption, regular security audits and compliance with industry standards.

Regardless of the deployment model, all stakeholders must work together to ensure the highest level of cybersecurity.

This collaboration includes regular communication between vendors, customers, and partners, sharing of best practices and lessons learned, joint efforts in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, and continuous education and training for all involved parties.

By fostering a culture of shared responsibility and open communication, we can create a more resilient and secure environment for our video management software platforms.

Building Trust Through
Transparency and Disclosure

Openness and transparency regarding vulnerabilities are vital in building trust between vendors and customers.

Leading industry players foster strong customer trust through transparent security practices, acknowledging vulnerabilities, and detailing their security measures. This transparency enables customers to take proactive steps to mitigate risks and make informed decisions about their VMS platforms.

Responsible vulnerability disclosure is another key aspect of building trust in cybersecurity. Vendors should follow strict disclosure policies, have a well-defined vulnerability handling process, provide prompt software updates, and actively encourage the reporting of potential security vulnerabilities.

Protecting VMS platforms requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses penetration testing, the use of ethical hackers, and the implementation of containment strategies.

By empowering customers with accurate information, vendors enable them to effectively secure their systems and maintain a strong security posture.

In addition to vulnerability disclosure, vendors should also be transparent about their security practices, including data protection measures, encryption standards, compliance with industry regulations and standards, and third-party audits and certifications. By providing clear and comprehensive information about their security practices, vendors can demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity and build trust with their customers.

Transparency also extends to the communication of security incidents and breaches. In the event of a security incident, vendors should promptly notify affected customers and provide clear guidance on the steps they should take to mitigate any potential risks. This open communication helps to maintain trust and allows organizations to take swift action to protect their systems and data.

The Human Factor: Education and Awareness

While achieving a 100% secure system is challenging, education and training play a critical role in minimizing the human factor as a weak link in security.

Striking a balance between security and usability is crucial, as enhanced cybersecurity measures can sometimes be perceived as making the solution more complex. However, in this digital age, security for video technology is not a luxury, but a necessity.

To effectively address the human factor, organizations should prioritize regular cybersecurity awareness training for all employees, with specific training for those handling sensitive video data. This training should cover topics such as identifying and reporting potential security threats, best practices for password management, and safe browsing habits.

By providing employees with the knowledge and skills they need to maintain a secure environment, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of human error leading to a security breach.

In addition to training, organizations should also establish clear and concise security policies and procedures. These policies should outline the roles and responsibilities of each employee in maintaining the security of the VMS platform, as well as the steps to be taken in the event of a security incident.

Regular communication and reinforcement of these policies can help to create a culture of security awareness and responsibility within the organization.

As technology decision-makers, we must prioritize cybersecurity and implement robust strategies to protect our video management software platforms from evolving cyber threats. This includes being proactive, applying all recommended security patches, and ensuring our systems are up to date.

By staying vigilant and adapting to the ever-changing threat landscape, we can ensure the continued security and reliability of our VMS platforms.

Through collaborating and leveraging our collective expertise, we can create a more secure future for video technology and protect our organizations and clients from the ever-present danger of cyber threats. Together, we can navigate the complexities of cybersecurity and build a stronger, more resilient industry.

About the Author

Tim Palmquist | VP Americas, Milestone Systems

About the author: Tim Palmquist has more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry. This spawned perspectives that range across IT and include IP video from the early adopter days through today. He joined Milestone in 2007 and has supported and navigated the growth of Milestone through several sales, operations and leadership roles in the Americas region. He was promoted to Vice President, Americas, in 2012. Tim is passionate about driving the opportunities of the open platform business model, believing that customers are best served by the innovations of a partner community working in cooperation together.