Editor's Note: Reversal of Fortune

Feb. 11, 2015
We’ve been trying to “talk the talk” with IT Departments for a while — now they are speaking the language of security

I have preached the gospel of the inclusion of IT Departments in all things security for a few years, and security executives, dealers and integrators are taking note. Firms all over our industry are attempting to attract the best and brightest minds in the IT world, attempting to open their eyes to the very possibility of a fruitful career in the security industry.

Finally, in a trend that is sure to pour gas on the burgeoning flame of the true convergence of physical and IT security, the reverse seems to be taking hold. That’s right — IT Departments are starting to take physical security as seriously as cybersecurity (well, nearly), as the fight for network bandwidth for security technology has finally begin to change the IT community’s prevailing attitude toward our industry.

“It has been interesting to observe a significant shift in the way of thinking of IT professionals over the last three or four years,” writes Vince Ricco, reporting on a recent survey of 150 IT professionals commissioned by Axis Communications and performed by Enterprise Strategy Group. “In 2010, when IP video was just beginning to overtake analog, the reaction of many IT departments was ‘not on my backbone.’

“We saw that position soften over the next few years as network hardware began supporting greater bandwidth (Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit and up) and greater network traffic control through Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs), Enhanced Quality of Service (QoS) and Access Control List (ACLs),” he continues. “The ability to make evermore granular traffic decisions helped to reduce concerns that adding IP video on to the existing network infrastructures would overwhelm resources.”

It has been clear for some time that IT will have to play some role in providing the infrastructure support for physical security systems. In fact, there probably aren’t too many integrators who have sat down in front of a commercial client without having IT present —and with an often dominant position— at “the table.”

According to the study, 71 percent of respondents stated that their organization currently uses video surveillance technology for which IT provides support. Storage backup was probably the most significant commitment made by IT as, depending on the video output settings and the large number of connected IP cameras, the sheer volume of video storage can be daunting.

IT professionals surveyed also recognized and support the use of video analytics — especially for business intelligence, as 80 percent of respondents use it.

Other significant findings include:

  • 40 percent of respondents currently supporting IP surveillance cameras were using some form of cloud-based storage.
  • 60 percent have been managing their organization’s video surveillance infrastructure for at least three years; with 37 percent having done so for more than four years.
  • Only 9% of IT respondent professionals tasked with video surveillance management report experiencing no hardships, technology-related or otherwise.

“Some concerns still remain within the IT world regarding their ability to ensure the cybersecurity of video on the common backbone,” Ricco writes. “This seems to be the last of the general IT push-backs against widespread support of this application on the network. In response, IP video vendors are working hard from a technology and education perspective to dispel this concern.”

More and more IT departments are taking over complete ownership of the surveillance video systems. “K-12 school districts are a good example because in this arena a large percentage of IT departments are already taking over responsibility for assets and support,” Ricco writes. “On college campuses, for instance, where safety and security departments are already well-versed in IP video systems, are tech savvy and have very clearly-defined solutions and associated components, the collaborative partnerships with their IT counterparts are well established.”

The bottom line is simple, and it has become a common mantra around forward-thinking, proactive integrators: IT knowledge is just as important as knowledge in access control, video surveillance or any other security technology.

“Physical security is stronger with IT support and IT is stronger when physical security can show them how IP camera technologies can seamlessly mesh with IT best practices,” Ricco concludes.

Read the full article and access the full survey at www.securityinfowatch.com/12037275.

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of SD&I magazine (www.secdealer.com).

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 www.securitybusinessmag.com.