Best Practices Are the Best Way

As an Irish kid growing up in the melting pot of New Jersey, I commonly heard the popular Jewish expression, “Oy vey!” (actually from the Yiddish language).

It was used to convey seemingly anything from the absolute delight in the birth of a bouncing red-cheeked newborn to a parental lament to an unexpectedly poor report card from the protégé. However, in general it connoted a sense of being overwhelmed, and it looks like the phrase is particularly suited for the security industry’s reaction to the changes now buffeting the businesses of dealers and integrators.

The joy or disappointment stems from the industry’s renaissance — from what it   used to be into what it’s becoming. And oy vey, are dealers and integrators ever struggling with that. Many of the dealer and integrator questions come down to the need to understand what information technology (IT) can contribute to a security program.

The Convergence Conundrum

The user receives a directive that senior management is interested in installing a converged security system. The top floor may have read an article, listened to the CTO or CIO over lunch, or read the security manager’s monthly report that suggested the idea and its benefits. The security manager calls the preferred integrator to discuss the issue, and calls the IT manager into the meeting since this is a far bigger idea than yesterday’s relatively vanilla projects that the user and integrator could figure out themselves.

There’s more cameras, new software, newer access control equipment, an operating protocol with IT, new response protocols, and a thousand additional issues to cope with across the whole enterprise.

When the user calls the preferred integrator, what guarantee is there that the user is going to get all the right answers, especially while discussing the new security idea with the IT manager? We don’t even have open software like the IT industry!

Hang on everyone; here’s an idea. Why don’t we reduce this can of worms to a “Best Practices” program? If we can design response protocols, why can’t we make system design and operating protocols so the industry can approach the convergence question with some sense of standardization and confidence that everything will work to everyone’s satisfaction?

We can always upgrade it later, but let’s start the first one now. We’ll call this a new professional best practices approach to convergence that everyone will train on to reduce disputes and satisfy users. In the world of protocols, shouldn’t we poll everyone in the industry to see if they want this kind of program? After all, IT-trained security companies that can handle convergence today may feel they have a competitive advantage over the ones that are behind in IT.

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