Physical Security Comes of Age
The meteoric rise in digital commerce, connected devices and virtual workspaces has rightfully led to an intense focus on cybersecurity to protect company assets and employees. But cyber is only half of the security equation. After all, single sign-on cannot halt an intruder rummaging around in your data center.
While it grabs fewer headlines, physical security is growing increasingly sophisticated and gaining the attention of business and IT leaders. To wit, the practice of protecting people, property and physical assets has grown into a more than $30 billion industry. The mechanisms for securing physical spaces have rapidly evolved. We are no longer in the realm of the closed-circuit camera and the single security guard with a giant ring of keys around his belt. Instead, think Artificial Intelligence (AI), data-driven analytics, cloud-based video surveillance and the Internet of Things (IoT). This digital transformation means that physical security solutions represent additional nodes on your network that require proper scale, support and maintenance. It also means that they can be virtualized.
If You’re Not Invested in Physical Security Solutions, You Should Be
In its most recent “State of Protective Intelligence Report,” Ontic discovered that physical threats to businesses have risen at a historic rate. The report concluded the following:
“Accelerated by COVID-19 and an increasing volume of threats, corporate physical security and cybersecurity teams — often divided functions with physical security lagging in investing in and adopting modern tools and technologies — are rapidly coming together in terms of funding and the mindset that they must be inextricably connected to prevent devastating harm to their companies. A rash of cyber attacks shutting down critical industry supply chains and infrastructure is heightening concern and action within companies.”
When a business suffers a cyber attack, it can instantly lose credibility and damage trust with its customers and employees. Meanwhile, a high-profile physical attack at a corporate office strikes an even more tangible fear in the people your business depends on. Compounding the problem is the specter of a sizable hit to your bottom line that comes with damage to mission-critical systems and the sensitive data that depend on your physical infrastructure. In a time of ultra-competitive talent acquisition, a real or perceived lack of safety can torpedo hiring efforts as well.
What are the Key Physical Security Solutions?
Businesses across the industry spectrum rely on credentialed access to offices, parking garages, factory lines, and more. The technology that powers these access systems ranges from the simple to the complex and network-connected. As threats rise, security teams must ensure these systems are equipped with the latest restriction and compliance capabilities from best-in-class vendors. They also should lean on an integration partner that can get the most out of access control technology, such as real-time analytics pulling data through virtualized servers.
Access control data is a light-traffic, low-footprint asset that allows for simple virtualization.
Video Surveillance & Management
Video surveillance is much more complex and taxing on your network. Yet it is the most sought-after capability in the physical security arena. Companies are pointing cameras on far more than their building lobby these days; they are constantly monitoring data centers, factory floors, warehouse shelves, loading docks, you name it.
The information video systems collect has become highly actionable. Modern video management technology can leverage AI to get smarter about detecting potential facility vulnerabilities and preventing incidents before they happen. It can track the movement of humans or vehicles throughout a facility, while allowing security teams to run queries based on physical appearance or description. Better and more innovative cameras are being introduced to the market each year, ever increasing the volume of data and the bandwidth load on your network as they stream and record video 24/7.
This network flood of course causes a massive strain on internal IT.
Beware the IT Pitfalls
There are horror stories out there of entire networks collapsing because of too much video being thrown at them. Much preparation must be put into adopting a modern video surveillance system. Often, when a security team has not vetted its bandwidth capabilities with IT or received bad information from an integration partner, it enters a video project with a false sense of security.
A major shift in the physical security landscape has taken place as these systems are being asked to do more. Traditionally, security teams would evaluate and purchase systems with no IT involvement until post-sale. This is the classic hand-off to IT, which then is left with the responsibility of operationalizing and supporting the new tools. This was never a best practice, just the norm. Now, it’s a complete non-starter.
IT must be involved early and often in the process now that physical security is an endpoint on the network. Storage capacity and redundancy are critical success factors that the IT group needs to have eyes on from the beginning of a project. The last thing anyone wants is for an incident to take place, followed by someone going to retrieve the video recording… only to find out it’s not there.
Virtualization is the key to building out a system with fewer points of failure and bottlenecks on the network.
Why You Need an End-to-End Partner
We recently were on a call with a company in a highly regulated industry that is embarking on a strategic video surveillance effort. The company’s Cisco network was implemented by Presidio. This meeting contained just three people – the company’s Data Center Director, a Presidio Cisco Solutions Architect, and a Presidio Physical Security Architect. The Presidio team was able to quickly detail not only what the company would need in terms of video management, but also what switches, storage capacity and GPU requirements would be necessary.
The Director shared that having one cohesive team on the line discussing his needs for the network and the video surveillance systems was a huge value add because he didn’t need to track down multiple vendors and was confident in the accuracy of the information he received.
What he witnessed was the power of a true end-to-end physical security solution. Though security personnel are the ultimate end user, it’s now IT leaders like himself who must evaluate and procure the tools because of their network, storage, and infrastructure implications.
While many security vendors dabble in IT, Presidio is the only physical security provider that owns the entire scope – from implementing video and access control systems, to storing the data and virtualizing the environment, to fully owning the network. Our IT heritage and deep expertise in cloud-hosted, cloud-managed services set us apart and, most importantly, ensure customer success.
Blog Contributors: Don Goldenetz, Eric Adams, Luke LeaTrea and Mat Spears