Data breaches the biggest concern of integrators?

Sept. 30, 2014
Highlights from Monday’s ASIS panel ran the gamut from technology and markets to legal and training issues

A vendor panel led by consultant W. Douglas Fitzgerald highlighted the emerging new breed of integrator, with the ability to address both small and large-scale projects. Among the many topics discussed by Honeywell’s Gordon Hope, Tyco Integrated Security’s Jay Hauhn and Axis Communications’ Fredrik Nilsson were business risk, standards and interconnectivity, the role of consultants, integrator credentialing and education, growth markets, and staying ahead of the technology curve at ASIS on Monday.

But perhaps the most interesting topic was the one that wrapped up the panel — the recent high-profile retail data breaches, and how they will eventually affect the integrator community. “This is probably the biggest concern you should have right now,” Hauhn said before going into the details of the Target breach, which, in short, happened because of an HVAC tech’s network password was hacked. “If integrators are buying professional services from vendors, they are responsible for that company. The contracts you are going to get from end-users are going to become really strict around data breaches – they will require unlimited liability. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are going to be.”

“It’s worse than what he’s saying,” Hope chimed in. “It is the number-one challenge for the integrators in this room.”

Added Nilsson: “They will start to push contracts that will immediately take you out of business should something happen.”

Here’s a quick overview of some of the more interesting statements that came out of the panel:

On standards:

“Our industry has multiple standards for the same thing, and it’s definitely true in video,” Hauhn said.  “ONVIF stifles innovation somewhat. If video companies create a new feature, it is very difficult to incorporate into the standard. There are sometimes three or four SDKs for one line...we have a lot of work to do.”

On business risk:

“I’m amazed by the number of integrators who don’t use half of the security features available to them,” Nilsson said.

On the role of consultants:

“Consultants have a huge role to play because of the long upgrade cycles,” Nilsson said. “A consultant is very valuable, but it’s a very difficult profession.”

On working with end-users:

“As you know, a lot of your customers are walking the show floor, looking at bleeding-edge technology that might not be quite ready for prime time,” Hauhn said. “When they ask for it, that moves a lot of risk to the integrator installing it. It is safer to not be the first one in the door. If you get too bleeding edge, you will be in trouble, and the customer will not always be happy.”

On the biggest growth markets:

“Think about LTE networks as a connected enabler for anything you want to do,” Hope said. “Vendors will start feeding this industry with solutions that are dying to be integrated.”

“Truly integrated systems, with every aspect being fully integrated – from video, to access, HVAC and building management – is very underserved, with very few systems truly integrated,” Nilsson said. “If you provide that, you will be absolutely unique in that area.”

On convergence:

We are coming to the point where IT security is becoming more aware that physical security is out there,” Nilsson said. “In 2009, less than half were involved in physical security – now 90 percent are involved. Who makes the ultimate decision? Ninety percent of IT managers say they make the decision; and physical managers all say they make the decision.”

“Over the last five years, our tech support calls are predominantly tough IT-related questions,” Hope said. “Integrators are the glue holding together physical security and IT. You will help the physical and IT sides come together and create a cohesive solution – and it will win you tons of business.”

Paul Rothman is Editor in Chief of Security Dealer & Integrator (SD&I) magazine ( Come pick up a free copy of the latest SD&I at ASIS Booth #3118.

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at