Looking to 2016: Security Pros Dish on Most Pressing Issues

SSI asked eight security professionals for their industry predictions for the upcoming year.

As part of SSI‘s Annual Industry Forecast (featured in the January edition), some 25 industry experts and analysts (not all are featured in each post) from dealers and integrators to consultants and manufacturers were asked to predict what they expect to see take place in the new year. In a series of online exclusives, questions are featured individually to get a broad cross-section of how the respondents collectively see a give forecast topic.

What are the MOST PRESSING ISSUES you expect to remain unresolved in 2016?

John Nemerofsky, Managing Consultant, Integrated Security & Communications: Over the past year, we’ve seen many news stories about hackers gaining access to computer networks belonging to retailers, health-care agencies and the government. Significant data about millions of individuals was jeopardized. But we can’t feel smug ― many of the devices we produce and install also are being hacked. We must hope the industry takes this challenge seriously and moves quickly whenever the integrity of our equipment and our customers’ operations are threatened. The long-anticipated migration from analog to IP-based video will continue for the next few years, due largely to the recent development of HD analog cameras. These units are available at virtually the same price point as standard definition cameras and use existing cabling. That will keep many lower-end market users choosing analog technology. However, HD analog will soon eliminate standard definition video. Meantime, IP video remains the go-to choice for enterprise installations.
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Pam Petrow, President & CEO, Vector Security: Big Data and analytics continue to get a lot of attention in the media but are not where they need to be to provide effective end-user information. We have the ability to capture data that when properly mashed against other data points, could be very helpful to our customers and other entities. Until we can clearly articulate the benefits, gain authorization for the data collection and write the analytics to deliver benefits to end users, this issue will remain unresolved. Also, the role of standards to our industry is an issue that has become challenging in recent years. As new entrants are bringing products to market without adhering to traditional industry standards, they are able to be more nimble and responsive to customer demand and feedback. We are now facing competitors who don’t even refer to the standards playbook as part of their process. How the industry manufacturers and dealers/integrators deal with this new paradigm could impact our ability to remain competitive and relevant to the consumer. Do we work with the NRTLs to create faster processes and more frequent cycles that address the pace of technology or do we seek other options that will allow faster introduction of new products and services? This is a challenge that I don’t see being resolved quickly.
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Ian Johnston, CTO, Digital Watchdog: True integration will remain elusive. Customers are not yet given the solution that they love, just the solution that they are given. Software languishes as an atrophied mess, with the larger corporations unwilling to invest in rewriting their infrastructure to reflect modern abilities. Cybersecurity and penetration testing will also go unresolved. IT departments are walling in the security software solutions, not unlike an abscess that needs to be contained. The security department head CSOs are simply out of their element when dealing and managing these risks. On the other side of the spectrum, IT department heads have no clue as to how to deal with real physical security threats. Together, they spend an astonishing amount of money and the corporations typically get the worst of all worlds. The TSA is a glowing example of just how bad this can be; highly expensive security theater that only hassles those who are attempting to play by the rules.
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Jeff Kessler, Managing Director, Imperial Capital: A warning for the entire security industry:  On Nov. 9, 2014, an Illinois resident filed a class action lawsuit against The ADT Corp. and ADT LLC, collectively “ADT,” alleging that ADT’s wireless security equipment was unencrypted and could be hacked. According to court documents, the class-action complaint against ADT, alleging that ADT’s wireless home security equipment and monitoring services were “easily intercepted and interfered with by unauthorized third parties, and that ADT’s customers are far less secure than ADT led them to believe.” We are not here to pick on ADT, which spends an enormous amount of human and financial capital on improving the network security of its systems – it is a regular discussion of ours. But, what is bad for ADT is generally bad for the industry, residential and commercial. We believe the industry, from integrators to sensor manufacturers, must make all reasonable to attempts to encrypt its signaling and otherwise adapt its equipment to potential hacking attacks, publicly announce what moves the can, and demonstrate that the industry is doing what it can to protect its subscribers. Hack attacks against networked residential and commercial premises security systems are inevitable. Mitigating the potential financial and trust damage from successful hack attacks is a lot easier if security companies can demonstrate “best efforts” in using their own and third party IT security solutions, and making sure their clients know this in advance.

About the Author

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Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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