Security Pros Shouldn’t Wait Until It’s Too Late to Address Cybersecurity

Integrators have shown themselves to be reluctant to embrace and educate themselves on cyber-related issues. That could be costly.

SECURITY PROFESSIONALS are always bemoaning the fact that end users and especially homeowners tend to wait until crime, violence, fire or another malady befalls them before investing in or upgrading their electronic or networked security systems. While that seems to be endemic of human nature, it is particularly unfortunate in the case of security – when a reactionary as opposed to preemptive approach can result in great losses of life, limb or loot. Those prospects and customers often fail to face how real and omnipresent those threats are until it’s too late. Guess what? Your business and the products and services it sells may be in the same boat when it comes to cybersecurity.

For too long most in the physical security world have turned a deaf ear and blind eye to cybersecurity, believing it was the domain of Silicon Valley, software developers and IT engineers. This even as electronic security devices and systems – due to numerous connectivity, functionality, convenience and scalability advantages – became IP-enabled and migrated onto computer networks. The age of physical-logical security convergence had arrived, yet in many cases security integrators were reluctant to fully embrace and educate themselves in IT – let alone cybersecurity.

However, today’s ubiquity of networked security solutions, combined with the proliferation of the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile and wireless devices – along with hack attacks reaching epidemic proportions and breaches becoming commonplace – have made cybersecurity impossible to ignore. Or so it would seem.

When Security Sales & Integration assumed a leadership role by partnering with the PSA Security Network on the industry’s first Cybersecurity Congress for physical security integrators last year and I sat on the first Cybersecurity Council, many (including most manufacturers) questioned the relevancy and relationship between cyber and electronic devices. That shortsightedness was disheartening. But, oh what a difference a year makes in today’s technologically accelerated times. I would hazard to say that now most manufacturers are busily hardening their offerings, and integrators are acknowledging if not actively undertaking cyber-secure initiatives.

A significant factor in opening minds and receptivity has been the realization that it is not about physical security integrators becoming cybersecurity experts or offering cyber-related products and services, although they can. It is primarily about awareness, basic understanding and familiarity with terminology, adopting proven best practices and minimizing liability exposure. And for a security dealer or integrator, it requires working from the inside out. Just as flight attendants tell you if cabin pressure is lost to first get the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others, so too it goes for cybersecurity. In other words: Get your own people and systems squared away first, and from that solid foundation extend outwardly in accordance with your organization’s comfort level.

Read Next: Global Cybersecurity Market Worth $75B in 2015, Report Says

With a topic as complex and ominous as cybersecurity, it helps to break it up into bitesize pieces that eventually make the larger concepts more relatable and easily digested. It’s even more palatable if conveyed by those who have walked in your shoes and possess intimate familiarity and expertise in both the physical and cyber realms. To that end, SSI has labored to present to you this month the trade’s first dedicated Cybersecurity Issue, the contents of which will be featured periodically on I am confident you will find much value within these pages regardless of where you rate on the cyber-secure knowledge continuum.

Speaking of rating, SSI‘s Physical-Logical Security Assessment (to be featured online later this month) is the industry’s only original research of its kind. Having now been conducted a second time, we have quantifiable evidence of progress being made as well as substantial challenges that remain.

Regarding the latter, one study respondent commented, “I believe only a select few physical security integrators are prepared to sell into the cybersecurity arena. Caution should prevail.” Caution is indeed prudent; however, aversion or avoidance is not an option. And remember, even with subject matter as techy as cyber, brainwaves (education, training, policies/practices) will always trump binary.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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