5 Ways to Ingratiate IT Into Your Security Business

Here are tips to help installing security contractors foster a good foundation for a sustainable relationship with IT departments.

Let’s say you are working closely with the security director of a medium-sized business to design an access control solution that gives them a higher level of security and functionality. Even better, the solution doesn’t just offer physical security, but also allows them to implement cybersecurity measures as well – a component the security director wants to add within the next three years.

But there’s a hitch: Your solution comes to a screeching halt when the security director brings IT into the discussion. Their external IT consultant isn’t familiar with your security recommendation and doesn’t believe it’s compatible with the company’s IT infrastructure.

If you can relate to this scenario, you’re not alone. With electronic access control growing significantly in the marketplace – some sources indicate it topped $3.5 billion globally in 2014 – integrators are crossing paths with IT more frequently now as IT managers become increasingly involved in physical security decisions. To help ensure a successful collaboration, there are five easy steps to prepare for and accomplish.

RELATED: Integrators Identify 10 Critical Cybersecurity Challenges

How to Make You & IT Work

With demands on bandwidth and internal networks, it makes good business sense to involve IT. These interactions become complicated, however, when they happen as an afterthought, as is the case in the above scenario.

“On many projects now, integrators are realizing the need for closer working relationships with IT, whether it’s an in-house staff or an external consultant,” says Erik Larsen, national integrator account manager at Allegion.

And it’s a trend that’s likely to continue.

In his June 2014 Between Us Pros commentary, SSI Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher Scott Goldfine noted that security system integrators are shifting from being strictly focused on hardware and electronics to more services, software and networks – a shift he believes will only accelerate.

A focus group at ISC West last year revealed much of the same. Participants reported seeing more security purchases being rolled up into IT because the hard-ware solutions need to access the network. With stresses on bandwidth and networking for access control and video storage, decisions can no longer be made in isolation from IT. So what can integrators do to make the involvement of IT work for them instead of against them?

1. Start early. Installing security contractors can ensure the best success when an organization’s security and IT leaders are involved from the beginning. They must set the tone for working together and developing a solution jointly.

“When security understands the IT infrastructure – and, how, for example, the addition of locks or cameras impacts the network – and, on the other side, when IT understands the liability and reputation risks of not having the proper security solution in place, that’s when they can move forward implementing the right solution,” Larsen says.

Integrators who advocate for that level of interaction and involvement are more likely to avoid the pitfalls that can hamper the integration process. IT can provide a unique perspective that others may not consider. IT’s operational insights might initially seem like they are encumbering the progression of the project. But their suggestions may set you on a course that gets you where you want to go sooner and with greater results.

2. Speak their language. This will result in a greater level of respect on both sides of the fence. Your collaborations will be much more fruitful and you will have far easier time getting exactly what you need from the IT department.

“The key to success is being able to demonstrate to IT that you can speak their language at a basic level and that you know about the system being utilized,” says Matt Seymore, sales manager with M3T Corp., a provider of security consulting and solution design services. “This shows them you’re there to help them avoid problems, not create them.”

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