How Preparedness Helps Weather a Cyber Storm

Just as in a cyberattack, extreme weather waylays standard modes of operation and leaves destruction and potentially chaos in its wake.

PSA was one of the electronic security industry’s first organizations to recognize the enormous impact of cyberattacks to networked systems, and to take action to elevate the awareness and inspire proactivity among both integrators and equipment manufacturers. It was slow to take hold but the industry has caught up to the point where it is now taking cyber very seriously.

That was evident at this year’s PSA TEC event, held March 11-14 in Denver. In fact, Mother Nature even stepped in to deliver a metaphorically powerful demonstration of cyber risk exposure.

A blizzard of historic proportions hammered the region in the middle of PSA TEC week. The violent snowstorm essentially shut down activities throughout the area and particularly wreaked havoc for all means of travel, with some 1,400 flights canceled. Anyone looking for a vivid example of how a network breach can turn an organization, and often other entities and individuals associated with it, upside down need look no further than this blizzard.

Just as in a cyberattack, extreme weather waylays standard modes of operation and leaves destruction and potentially chaos in its wake. While myriad elements are involved, in a nutshell the key is to be properly prepared for both the incident and its aftermath. In this case, the city of Denver and surrounding towns demonstrated how critical such measures and tactics are when a massive storm strikes. Consequently, the ultimate toll on people’s lives and well-being as well as the impact on public and private organizations was minimal.

Like natural disasters, cyberattacks are inevitable, and so the takeaway for security integrators and their suppliers is to take all possible steps to mitigate the ill effects of a breach. That mentality was emphasized during the TEC panel discussion, “PSA Cybersecurity Committee: Overview ― Cyber Risk Is Business Risk,” one of several cybersecurity-related sessions offered during TEC.

“You need key personnel from throughout an organization to be ready to leap into action when a breach occurs,” said SilversJacobson Managing Partner Paul Jacobson. “Cyber policies as well as incident response plans that incorporate proven best practices are imperative,” added McGriff Insurance Services Vice President Wayne Dean.

“Be aware of industries with strict cyber policies like healthcare, where not being in compliance can bring hefty fines,” offered INSUREtrust Professional Line Broker Hannah Hoeflinger. IDmachines Founder and CEO Salvatore D’Agostino was a bit more blunt, stating, “If you’re not prepared, you’re screwed. Be sure to properly vet your suppliers. Should a breach occur, don’t panic and maintain transparency.”

The cybersecurity topic bridged the other most prominent topic at PSC TEC: security integrators transitioning from being strictly project-based businesses to incorporating services that generate recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and a steadier cash flow. To that end, PSA officially launched its new Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) program at TEC that includes several strategic partners aligned to help integrators get started with managed access control, video surveillance and cybersecurity offerings.

To spearhead the latter, Panda Security and eSentire have come onboard among the new program’s charter vendors. Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360 is a next-generation cybersecurity solution that offers preventative, detection and remediation capabilities. eSentire is said to be the largest pure-play managed detection and response (MDR) service provider, helping organizations safeguard against constantly evolving cyberattacks that technology alone cannot prevent.

PSA President and CEO Bill Bozeman, a member of the SSI Industry Hall of Fame and the publication’s Editorial Advisory Board, stated at TEC that member response to the MSSP initiative was overwhelming and exceeded his expectations. Indeed, sessions like “PSA Managed Services Committee: A Roadmap of Transition ―Building a Managed Services Business” were standing-room only.

“This is a paradigm shift that means departing from old habits and models. A key is being crystal clear with customers as to what pain points of theirs you can alleviate,” said Ollivier Corp. President & CEO Louis Boulgarides. “The convergence of security integrators working with IT has already happened, and now it is about being more collaborative. Be sure to thoroughly vet your products for both MSSP capabilities and being cyber secure.”

“You need to designate a champion or managed services leader within your organization. And you have to retrain both your salespeople and technicians, and properly plan and execute your marketing,” said Engineered Security Vice President of Engineering and CTO Ken Whelan.

“Give customers options as it will make them feel more comfortable with managed services, as well as help define their appetite. Cybersecurity will become a natural extension of the access and video offering,” added PSLA Security Vice President Gary Hoffner.

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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