Looking for Buy-In From the Top

Oct. 27, 2008

We’ve just completed our fourth Security Convergence track in conjunction with SecureWorld Expo, and we’re setting up shop at the Meydenbauer Center in Seattle for number five on October 19–20 (see the complete program agenda at www.secureworldexpo.com). As I talk with security practitioners from around the country at these events, what intrigues me most about the convergence emergence is the buy-in from the bottom and lack therein from the top. We are finally seeing physical and IT security brothers joining hands to demand cooperation and integrated solutions, but they’re running into push back in the boardroom.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Chris Hogan, senior manager of special security operations at DaimlerChrysler in Detroit, has managed to reach his C-Level ceiling and punch through. “For many companies, convergence has been a two-dimensional look at a three-dimensional problem,” he said on a convergence panel in Dearborn, MI. “Convergence is not a matter of if anymore, but a matter of when. It is a win-win for all concerned ... Our company understands this and has embraced the process.”

Unfortunately, during an invitation-only peer roundtable in Detroit, other security professionals painted an altogether different picture. Because of the closed-door policy of the roundtable, I cannot use the participants’ names or the names of their companies. But their frustrations seemed universal.

“We have locations in more than 40 countries, so convergence of security function is a huge issue for us. With hundreds of sites around the world, one of our most crucial projects is badging for our employees, vendors and visitors. We need a high-end solution that can tie into the network and be accessible to all remote locations,” said one director of global IT operations for a Fortune 100 company. “We’ve started the convergence process twice. But then we are blindsided by budget constraints, lack of resources or just plain lack of interest.”

This global IT director has been relentless in keeping the convergence process alive at his company. His IT group has already initiated a new database and information directory assignment in conjunction with the corporate security directory, but he is seeing the wall rising once more. “The IT and physical security groups agree that converging functionality and networks is so important we are all willing to go out on a limb to get it done. But you can only go out so far before it breaks.”

Events like those presented by ST&D will certainly further these discussions. I encourage all of you on the convergence train to join me and our vendor sponsors, Bosch Security Systems, HID and Ipix Corporation, in Seattle on October 19–20 and in Dallas on December 14–15 for wall-to-wall security convergence solutions. If you are interested in attending, e-mail me at steve.lasky@cygnussecurity.com. You will receive a special rate as an ST&D reader! See you at the crossroads!

If you have any questions or comments for Steve Lasky regarding this issue or any other, please e-mail him at steve.lasky@cygnussecurity.com.

Courtesy of (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)
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