From the editor's desk: Convergence is real

Issue 7 2023 News & Events


Andrew Seldon, Editor

SMART Security Solutions has been talking about convergence for a long time; in other words, the intersection and even integration between the physical and information security worlds. Before writing this column, I hosted a virtual round table looking at trends for 2024 in the security industry and was pleasantly surprised.

I purposely invited people from both the physical and information security worlds to the round table to get an idea of what both sides of the industry experienced this year and what they expect for the coming year. The full review of the discussion will be printed in the final issue of the year and highlights some interesting considerations, especially for the physical security industry.

While the information and physical security worlds are still separate (in terms of the companies invited), it was clear that the two worlds are closer than ever. A control room, for example, may be focused on monitoring video feeds and/or alarms, although most are moving to include other IoT devices as well. Still, the data they collect needs to be protected as much as the control room infrastructure itself, which requires skills and in-depth knowledge of cybersecurity issues. It is not simply installing a firewall and some antivirus, but preparing for any cyberattack - ransomware can take down a control room as quickly as any other IT installation.

At the same time, security operations centres (SOCs) are control rooms that monitor data and information security issues for clients, providing a mixture of cloud and on-premises software and services. However, these SOCs are now being forced to include more IoT devices under their protection services.

In the cyber world, a camera or access control reader is simply an IoT device connected to the network. Sadly, many of these devices are not installed with cybersecurity in mind and thereby offer an easy way for cyber attackers to get onto the company’s network and do whatever nefarious deeds they have in mind.

The other side of the coin that which we have also mentioned before - that of buying on price. You can get cheap facial recognition readers, for example, but how reliable are they, and how do they protect sensitive data? A question must also be raised about the physical installation; if an attacker can fiddle with the system, override it or connect to the network, it is a risk (because who protects their access control readers, even with just a password?).

Then there is the question of AI, which is simultaneously over-hyped and under-estimated. SMART Security Solutions will cover the complete discussion in the next issue (and, of course, online).

In my editor’s note in the next issue, I will also provide more information on how our rebranding from Hi-Tech Security Solutions to SMART Security Solutions will take the next leap into the future in 2024.

What are your thoughts about the security industry, physical, cyber and converged for 2024? Send your thoughts to andrew@technews.co.za.


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