Hot Seat: Elite Interactive Solutions CTO Jonathan Kozak Talks Cybersecurity in the Central Station, More
Kozak provides updates on Elite Interactive’s alarm reduction success, further insights and a vision for the future.
Elite Monitoring won the PDQ (Police Dispatch Quality) Award in 2020. The company continues to move forward with zero false alarms to law enforcement and taking advantage of new technologies.
Jonathan Kozak, the “brains” behind the company’s strategy, joins the conversation to provide updates, further insights and a vision for the future.
What do you do at Elite Interactive Solutions?
KOZAK: I manage our corporate network infrastructure as well as being primarily responsible for our industry-specific R&D department. In other words, I oversee which technologies we use, and how they fit in to our operations. You’ll never solve things just by installing equipment. The tech does not equal success. We’re daily reevaluating and reinventing.
What does Elite do when it comes to cybersecurity in the central station?
From the start, cybersecurity was at the top of our list. How could we claim specialization in crime prevention while unable to take responsibility in this crucial area? While there needs to be some trust for technicians to do their job, we must also be as protective as possible. Aside from the normal approval processes, we use privileged access management, a digital backend system that logs into the administrative account of the onsite server for the user.
It changes the password and keeps it secret. Our technicians jump through many hoops to log into the client’s site. At that point, they are presented with the login page of that remote server where they click a button that injects the encrypted password on their behalf. They never get a chance to see the password to copy it. That’s one of many examples of steps we take beyond just setting strong passwords off of default.
Elite won the PDQ Award in 2020. How did that reflect the central station’s work?
In 96% of real events, we are able to diffuse the situation without contacting law enforcement. The other 4% is, every single time we do call the police, there’s going to be a detainment or an arrest. Everything we do is to perfect central station operations. The most important goal is not to miss an event. From there, it’s all about efficiency.
Our operators feel good about what they’re doing. They show up ready to provide the best security and support, eager to catch a bad guy. Because of all these efficiencies, we get arrests very frequently. We use two-way audio to talk down to persons onsite and warn them, escort them off, ensure they don’t do any damage, and we can issue a formal lawful trespass.
When do you call law enforcement?
If an individual is ignoring our orders to leave or tampering with things, then we call law enforcement. They might ignore us if they are suffering a mental episode or are high on drugs, or they are very intent on doing something to the property or persons. Our operators are ready to flow with the escalations or de-escalations. We stay on the line with law enforcement and guide them through the situation providing information such as where the individual is, whether there are weapons, etc.
What do you see as monitoring’s future?
The future of this industry is amazing. We’re finally bringing real security to clients. It is more than just installing a camera and recording 24/7 to watch the theft later. Being there live and present is a true security solution. As systems keep getting smarter and working in concert, both on the edge and in the Cloud, we’re going to be able to offer more services. For instance, a pending medical incident such as somebody showing signs of an imminent stroke. Those sorts of things are possible with behavioral analytics. Body language will trigger an inspection by live operators. That’s going to save lives and save money as well.
What are the benefits of the Cloud?
Everything needs to be centralized under Cloud control from the edge devices, firmware, user account control, and the VMS to the central station. That future is very important and provides the foundation to support the variety of feature sets like the types of detections and services I described earlier. Everything is always accessible, smarter, up to date and more secure because it’s in a centralized system. With everything decentralized, any one weakest link is the backdoor.
It is essential to ensure that it all fits together in an enterprise scalable fashion. We’re not just taking a piece that has one component and plugging it in. We need to make sure that it can be managed on an enterprise scale.
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