Between Us Pros: Let’s Install a Real Sense of Security

Goldfine: One-size-fits-all security systems and DIYs fall short compared to professionally tailored intrusion detection systems.

When is some security worse than none? When it creates a false sense of security. There have been many court cases through the years where elements such as signage or dummy cameras were alleged to have established an environment of false security in which incidents involving someone being victimized by a criminal act took place. While it’s fine to play up the deterrence influence of electronic security systems, there had better be the equipment, system design, proper installation and ongoing maintenance behind them. Anything less is a disservice to those who procure and rely on those systems, as well as a black-eye and potential liability for those who provide them.

This raises a quandary the industry has faced for more than a quarter century now, that of the viability of one-size-fits-all systems. Often mass marketed to residential and small business customers, these minimalistic, cookie-cutter intrusion detection systems have helped push overall market penetration levels higher and fattened recurring revenue coffers – but at what ultimate cost? The collateral damage has included failures to deliver or perform as promised, more false alarms and associated law enforcement hostility, increases in negligence lawsuits, higher default rates and sullied reputations. Not a pretty picture.

The security industry has spent much of the past three decades learning from its folly, and thus repairing and cleaning up those issues considerably. In addition to becoming more cognizant of the potential negative consequences of certain practices and adjusting accordingly (e.g. vetting prospects and offering custom-tailored solutions), security dealers and monitoring providers benefited from major advances in technology and products that increased the likelihood of rendering reliable and reputable solutions.

Carelessly or improperly configured equipment that not only compromises its primary purpose but also possibly the entire network and its parent enterprise again conjures the notion that no security might be better than some. Let’s not forget to secure the security people!

Throwing a wrench into those works, however, has been the emergence of the do-it-yourself (DIY) craze ― currently taking those tech breakthroughs to a new logical (illogical?) conclusion. Some would say today, especially among security professionals, that the answer to my opening question about when no security is preferable to some is when it’s DIY. But geeks and hobbyists enjoy tinkering with the new toys and consumers (particularly budget-challenged and smartphone-tethered Millennials) like the idea of cutting out the dealers they perceive as middlemen. And sure some of the products offer intriguing capabilities, but they no more replace professionally installed systems than citizens brandishing weapons suffice for law enforcement.

A hybrid of sorts that’s a better but still imperfect option (holding much potential opportunity) is self-installed systems that are professionally monitored. I am very curious to see how the liabilities of future incident-driven lawsuits involving DIY and self-installed systems will play out.

RELATED: How Security Professionals Can Navigate and Grow in the Expanding Do-It-Yourself Security Market

There are similar legal gray areas and even higher stakes in the realm of cybersecurity, which has become increasingly relevant to physical security dealers/integrators as their devices/systems have become IP-based and moved onto end-users’ networks. Carelessly or improperly configured equipment that not only compromises its primary purpose but also possibly the entire network and its parent enterprise again conjures the notion that no security might be better than some. Let’s not forget to secure the security people!

So far the discussion has centered on intrusion detection, but access control and video surveillance are just as germane, especially within the specter of networked solutions. Today’s technology is causing some to forget what true access control and surveillance are all about.

Out of either laziness or ignorance there has been a dumbing down of deployments ― often aided and abetted by wireless technology ― in which only rudimentary designs are implemented. Doors and cameras are treated as isolated components rather than pieces of a larger integrated solution that is greater than the sum of its parts. Wireless is fantastic for unique applications or specific augmentations, but typically not as a comprehensive and optimal alternative. Leaning on it too heavily can also shortchange integrators both in terms of demonstrating their skills and leaving money on the table.

I urge you to invest the care and bring the value to make any security better than none. And here’s to a prosperous, safe and secure 2016!

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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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