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Tackling The Challenge Of The Growing Cybersecurity Gap
Tackling The Challenge Of The Growing Cybersecurity Gap

The SolarWinds cyberattack of 2020 was cited by security experts as “one of the potentially largest penetrations of Western governments” since the Cold War. This attack put cybersecurity front and center on people’s minds again. Hacking communication protocol The attack targeted the US government and reportedly compromised the treasury and commerce departments and Homeland Security. What’s interesting about the SolarWinds attack is that it was caused by the exploitation of a hacker who injected a backdoor communications protocol.  This means that months ahead of the attack, hackers broke into SolarWinds systems and added malicious code into the company’s software development system. Later on, updates being pushed out included the malicious code, creating a backdoor communication for the hackers to use. Once a body is hacked, access can be gained to many. An explosion of network devices What has made the threat of cyberattacks much more prominent these days has been IT's growth in the last 20 years, notably cheaper and cheaper IoT devices. This has led to an explosion of network devices. IT spending has never really matched the pace of hardware and software growth Compounding this issue is that IT spending has never really matched the pace of hardware and software growth. Inevitably, leading to vulnerabilities, limited IT resources, and an increase in IoT devices get more attention from would-be hackers. Bridging the cybersecurity gap In the author’s view, this is the main reason why the cybersecurity gap is growing. This is because it inevitably boils down to counter-strike versus counter-strike. IT teams plug holes, and hackers find new ones, that is never going to stop. The companies must continue fighting cyber threats by developing new ways of protecting through in-house testing, security best practice sources, and both market and customer leads. End-user awareness One of the key battlegrounds here is the education of end-users. This is an area where the battle is being won at present, in the author’s opinion. End-users awareness of cybersecurity is increasing. It is crucial to educate end-users on what IoT devices are available, how they are configured, how to enable it effectively, and critically, how to use it correctly and safely. Physical security network A valuable product that tackles cybersecurity is, of course, Razberi Monitor™, which is new to ComNet’s portfolio. Monitor™ is a software platform that provides a top-down view of the physical security network and ecosystem. Monitor™ is a software platform that provides a top-down view of the physical security network and ecosystem It monitors and manages all the system components for cybersecurity and system health, providing secure visibility into the availability, performance, and cyber posture of servers, storage, cameras, and networked security devices. Proactive maintenance By intelligently utilizing system properties and sensor data, Razberi’s award-winning cybersecurity software prevents problems while providing a centralized location for asset and alert management. Monitor™ enables proactive maintenance by offering problem resolutions before they become more significant problems. Identifying issues before they fail and become an outage is key to system availability and, moreover, is a considerable cost saving.

Physical Security And The Cloud: Why One Can’t Work Without The Other
Physical Security And The Cloud: Why One Can’t Work Without The Other

Human beings have a long-standing relationship with privacy and security. For centuries, we’ve locked our doors, held close our most precious possessions, and been wary of the threats posed by thieves. As time has gone on, our relationship with security has become more complicated as we’ve now got much more to be protective of. As technological advancements in security have got smarter and stronger, so have those looking to compromise it. Cybersecurity Cybersecurity, however, is still incredibly new to humans when we look at the long relationship that we have with security in general. As much as we understand the basics, such as keeping our passwords secure and storing data in safe places, our understanding of cybersecurity as a whole is complicated and so is our understanding of the threats that it protects against. However, the relationship between physical security and cybersecurity is often interlinked. Business leaders may find themselves weighing up the different risks to the physical security of their business. As a result, they implement CCTV into the office space, and alarms are placed on doors to help repel intruders. Importance of cybersecurity But what happens when the data that is collected from such security devices is also at risk of being stolen, and you don’t have to break through the front door of an office to get it? The answer is that your physical security can lose its power to keep your business safe if your cybersecurity is weak. As a result, cybersecurity is incredibly important to empower your physical security. We’ve seen the risks posed by cybersecurity hacks in recent news. Video security company Verkada recently suffered a security breach as malicious attackers obtained access to the contents of many of its live camera feeds, and a recent report by the UK government says two in five UK firms experienced cyberattacks in 2020. Cloud computing – The solution Cloud stores information in data centres located anywhere in the world, and is maintained by a third party Cloud computing offers a solution. The cloud stores your information in data centres located anywhere in the world and is maintained by a third party, such as Claranet. As the data sits on hosted servers, it’s easily accessible while not being at risk of being stolen through your physical device. Here’s why cloud computing can help to ensure that your physical security and the data it holds aren’t compromised. Cloud anxiety It’s completely normal to speculate whether your data is safe when it’s stored within a cloud infrastructure. As we are effectively outsourcing our security by storing our important files on servers we have no control over - and, in some cases, limited understanding of - it’s natural to worry about how vulnerable this is to cyber-attacks. The reality is, the data that you save on the cloud is likely to be a lot safer than that which you store on your device. Cyber hackers can try and trick you into clicking on links that deploy malware or pose as a help desk trying to fix your machine. As a result, they can access your device and if this is where you’re storing important security data, then it is vulnerable. Cloud service providers Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software in the personal computer Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software that is likely in place on your personal computer. Hyperscalers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Service (AWS) are able to hire countless more security experts than any individual company - save the corporate behemoth - could afford. These major platform owners have culpability for thousands of customers on their cloud and are constantly working to enhance the security of their platforms. The security provided by cloud service providers such as Claranet is an extension of these capabilities. Cloud resistance Cloud servers are located in remote locations that workers don’t have access to. They are also encrypted, which is the process of converting information or data into code to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, cloud infrastructure providers like ourselves look to regularly update your security to protect against viruses and malware, leaving you free to get on with your work without any niggling worries about your data being at risk from hackers. Data centres Cloud providers provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and AI Additionally, cloud providers are also able to provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and artificial intelligence, as well as data redundancy, where the same piece of data is held within several separate data centres. This is effectively super-strong backup and recovery, meaning that if a server goes down, you can access your files from a backup server. Empowering physical security with cybersecurity By storing the data gathered by your physical security in the cloud, you're not just significantly reducing the risk of cyber-attacks, but also protecting it from physical threats such as damage in the event of a fire or flood. Rather than viewing your physical and cybersecurity as two different entities, treat them as part of one system: if one is compromised, the other is also at risk. They should work in tandem to keep your whole organization secure.

Making School Safety A Priority With Smart Technology
Making School Safety A Priority With Smart Technology

With pupils in the UK set to go back to school on 8 March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students, and school communities.  The first lockdown and closure of schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fired a “warning shot” for education facilities managers, forcing head-teachers to re-examine school safety standards. Now that a third lockdown is here and schools have been shut down for a second time, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before children return to the school environment. And with the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, schools can’t afford to be “late to class” when it comes to health and safety. Preventing the spread of disease Some schools in the US have been using smart technologies for a while to measure utility consumption and efficiency, streamline maintenance and enhance general school safety. These technologies are playing a significant role in keeping school buildings healthy and preventing the spread of disease. Let’s take a look at how smart technology can help schools to become safer, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-effective.   Thermal detection cameras  Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks.  Safer water  As the coronavirus continues to sweep through the world’s population, healthcare providers should also be on heightened alert for Legionnaires’ disease, another potential cause of pneumonia with similar symptoms. Legionella is a potentially deadly bacteria that can infect a school’s water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a school's duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating.  Particularly as schools reopen and previously stagnant plumbing and cooling systems return to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months. Traces of Legionella were recently found at a Worcestershire school. The school was forced to remain shut while treatment and testing took place. Automated flushing and temperature testing Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters The Health and Safety Executive advises, “If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease… If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.” Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking for automated water temperature monitoring systems. This smart system with automated flushing and temperature testing reports and records water temperature data in real-time. Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters.  Cleaner air  Advisers say that improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include: Increasing outdoor air ventilation Filtering indoor air Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters  Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as:  Humidity Temperature Indoor air quality The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants The technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective.  While these solutions may be key to the reopening of schools in the era of COVID-19, they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness, and security in general; which have been needed in school systems for a long time.

Latest VideoIQ news

AMAG Introduces Symmetry CompleteView 4.5 VMS And PowerProtect NVRs
AMAG Introduces Symmetry CompleteView 4.5 VMS And PowerProtect NVRs

AMAG Technology announces the release of Symmetry CompleteView Video Management System version 4.5 and four new Symmetry PowerProtect NVRs. Earlier this year AMAG announced a deepened partnership with Salient Systems, Inc. where AMAG now offers Salient’s CompleteView VMS, PowerProtect NVRs and TouchView Mobile App video solutions as part of the Symmetry product line. This is the first software upgrade and NVR addition since the initial announcement in March. Symmetry CompleteView 4.5 “Symmetry CompleteView 4.5 delivers advanced capabilities such as dynamic video management tools to support and streamline complex enterprise deployments, yet remains affordable to provide a powerful standalone system for any size organization,” said AMAG Technology, Senior Product Manager-Video, Jim Murray. Symmetry CompleteView VMS 4.5 includes a suite of software tools called Dynamic Video Management. Designed to increase efficiency and enhance the end user’s experience, the suite offers: Dynamic Resolution Scaling - DRS sizes the video stream to match the display size of the viewing client, (monitor, tablet or phone) reducing bandwidth consumption. Dynamic Video Decoding - DVD saves CPU usage by controlling server processing for camera streams based on live viewing or server motion detection settings. Dynamic Frame Throttling - DFT allows the server to monitor camera video queues balancing load and latency without affecting recorded video. Symmetry CompleteView 4.5 also offers a new Web Client that is HTTP/HTTPS capable with native H.264 live and playback support with enhanced viewing features for the ultra-fast display of video feeds. Users can view multiple cameras simultaneously from multiple Symmetry PowerProtect NVRs located throughout the globe via a single web client video matrix. The Web Client also provides cross browser support, including: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari; increasing access to the video management software from virtually anywhere on any device. It will also support multiple languages including: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Symmetry TouchView Mobile App Symmetry TouchView Mobile app’s new cross platform capability allows users to create configurations in the app and transfer them to the Web Client for use, providing flexible configuration compatibility. Users can export the web client configuration, which could contain saved video server connections, camera layouts, and video matrix window setup and quickly import it into a mobile iOS or Android mobile device. When you combine Dynamic Resolution Scaling with Symmetry TouchView Mobile apps, Symmetry CompleteView delivers the fastest call up of megapixel resolution video over remote internet connections in the industry today. Symmetry CompleteView 4.5 Also Supports: Http/Https capability Fisheye cameras and dewarping feature set Mac devices, including Safari browser Camera based motion detection with Symmetry, Arecont, Axis, Bosch, HikVision, Samsung, Sightlogix and VideoIQ (Avigilon) New Symmetry PowerProtect NVRs Introducing the new Symmetry PowerMicro NVR with ultra-compact chassis. The Symmetry PowerMicro NVR is powered by an Intel Core i3 series CPU with 4GB memory and a 1TB hard drive. It is the smallest form factor in the Symmetry PowerProtect platform line, and is designed to address space constrained deployments. It is perfect for desktop use, mounting under a counter or securing to a video monitor. Symmetry PowerPro-R, Symmetry Power Plus, and Symmetry PowerUltra NVRs, all two unit rack mounts, offer faster performance and more storage capacity at a reduced cost. Each NVR contains 40% - 47% higher storage capacity with up to 66TB of RAID 5 video storage. Quad NICs allow users to isolate office networks from IP camera networks for added security, setup dual NICs in tandem to boost transfer speed or set up multiple IP camera networks. Also, the Symmetry PowerPro-R’s chassis size was decreased from a 4 unit to 2 unit rack mount, increasing efficiency in installation and real-estate. AMAG Technology, a G4S company, delivers access control and video management solutions to companies of all industries and sizes. G4S provides a wide array of products and services to solve any security need.

The Year In Mergers And Acquisitions: Top 10 Of 2014
The Year In Mergers And Acquisitions: Top 10 Of 2014

2014 was a year for eye-popping merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the security space. The big deals of the year included some of the largest names in the industry. One name is larger than any in the security market – Google, which made not one but two acquisitions this year that could impact the future security market. It was also the year that a smaller player in the video camera market (although a huge familiar brand overall) bought a large, open systems VMS company (to almost everyone’s surprise).  There was major activity on both sides of the Atlantic, impacting a wide range of industry sectors, from video to access control to home security. It was a year for acquisition and reinvention, for mergers and management refocus. And it was the year that Samsung stopped owning Samsung Techwin. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 M&A stories of 2014 … 1.       Canon Acquires Milestone When Canon, a fairly small player in the video surveillance market, announced plans for its European subsidiary to buy open systems company Milestone Systems, it sent shock waves through the market. Obviously Canon is signaling its intent to become a larger player in surveillance, but what does the move mean for the long-term viability of Milestone’s open systems approach? Can an open systems company be owned by a camera company and keep its business approach intact? Yes, according to the Milestone announcement: “Canon respects how we built our business with our partners and supports our strategy of providing open platform solutions.”  2.       Vanderbilt Acquires Siemens' Security Products Siemens’ Security Products is well known in Europe, including familiar and established brands such as Bewator and Cotag in access control and Alarmcom and Europlex in the intrusion alarm sector. But who is Vanderbilt Industries? It's a fairly new U.S. company created around the acquisition in 2012 of the Schlage Security Management Systems (SMS) access control product line from Ingersoll Rand. The Siemens acquisition makes them instantly a global player. The move expands the global reach of Vanderbilt’s parent company, ACRE Ltd., and greatly enhances its technology capabilities and product portfolio.  3.       Avigilon Acquires VideoIQ 2014 began with news that HD surveillance company Avigilon Corp. had agreed to buy video analytics company VideoIQ for cash consideration of $32 million. Avigilon moved quickly to incorporate VideoIQ's technology into its product line, highlighting video analytics (including the Rialto analytics appliances) along with other technologies at ISC West,  IFSEC and trade shows throughout the year. Avigilon is positioning its "adaptive" analytics as a way to simplify total system operation, delivering only the information an end user needs rather than a flood of video images. 2014 saw major activity on both sides of the Atlantic, impacting a wide range of industry sectors, from video to access control to home security  4.       HID Global Acquires Lumidigm HID Global is an undisputed worldwide leader in secure identity solutions, so it was big news when HID acquired a biometrics company in February. More accustomed to interfacing with biometrics technologies than owning them, HID’s acquisition of Lumidigm reflects a high level of confidence in the company’s  multispectral imaging technology, which uses multiple light spectrums and advanced polarisation techniques to extract unique fingerprint characteristics from both the surface and subsurface of the skin. The system can authenticate identities with a high degree of certainty (and even in non-ideal environments where fingers can get dirty or greasy.)  5.       Vicon and IQinVision Merge Vicon Industries and IQinVision announced a merger agreement in the spring to create a global provider of integrated solutions to the video security market. Vicon has long been known for designing and producing (mostly proprietary) video security and surveillance systems. IQinVision designs and produces high performance HD megapixel IP cameras. There are high hopes for the combined company, including continuing a camera line branded IQinVision and transitioning to an open systems approach with an emphasis on extracting business information from video streams.  6.       Anixter Acquires Tri-Ed It was a milestone for Anixter International, the largest acquisition in the global distributor’s 57-year history. When Anixter bought Tri-Ed for $420 million, the acquiring company emphasized the opportunity to accelerate implementation of IP video and access control by the new Tri-Ed customer base, previously more focused on analog. Tri-Ed, independent distributor of security and low-voltage technology products, sells 110,000 different products to 2,000 active dealers and integrators through 61 branches and two technical sales centers located throughout North America. Anixter is a global distributor of communications and security products, electrical and electronic wire and cable, fasteners and other small components.  7.       Google Acquires Nest Labs It makes headlines when Google does anything, and Google’s entry into the home systems market is no different. Therefore, everyone noticed when Google acquired Nest Labs, a designer and manufacturer of sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats and smoke detectors. Many observers saw the $3.2 billion transaction as providing a critical foothold into the home systems market. Announced in January and closed the following month, the acquisition set the stage for another acquisition that would serve as further evidence of Google’s intent to be a dominant player in the home systems market ...  The big deals of 2014 included some of the largest names in the industry  8.       Nest Labs Acquires Dropcam Google-owned Nest Labs, Inc announced that it had entered into an agreement to buy Dropcam for $555 million in cash, subject to adjustments. DropCam provides do-it-yourself IP video cameras for the home environment – and another foothold for Google.  9.       Kaba Holding Acquires Keyscan Emblematic of the continuing consolidation in the access control market was acquisition of Keyscan Inc., a Canadian provider of networked access control solutions, by Kaba Holding AG, based in Switzerland. The Keyscan brand presence will be maintained, operating as a separate division of Kaba’s ADS Americas Group.  10.   Hanhwa To Buy Largest Interest in Samsung Techwin When Samsung sells its interest in Samsung Techwin, it’s bound to be news, even as the company’s management insists everything is business as usual. It was just a stock transaction (they say), and Samsung Techwin (which was always separate from the larger Samsung Electronics) will continue on its successful course in the video surveillance market. Korean conglomerate Hanwha Holdings announced in late November its 32.4 percent ownership in the video surveillance company (as part of a larger sale of Samsung Techwin’s defense and chemical affiliates). What about the Samsung name? Management assures the market the valuable and well-known brand will remain intact. See the full coverage of 2014/2015 Review and Forecast articles here

Needed: Attention-grabbing Technology In An Emergency
Needed: Attention-grabbing Technology In An Emergency

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” So said Herbert A. Simon, American Political Scientist, Economist, Sociologist, Psychologist, and Professor. I heard that quote at the Avigilon presentation at IFSEC, repeated by Ian Povey, Avigilon’s director of product marketing and product management. He used the quote to support the need for more (accurate) video analytics. In other words, without analytics, there is so much video information that the operator’s attention is lost within minutes, so an end user’s whole security stature breaks down. It certainly relates well to video analytics, but what a great quote for so many things in our modern world! Aren’t we all flooded every day with more information than we can ever process? In the security market, there are more cameras than ever, more alarms, more data points, more security threats, more, more, more.  No surprise therefore that we turn to companies like Avigilon to help us out. Their presentation at IFSEC told how they do just that. In addition to new video analytics capabilities (a consequence of their acquisition of Video IQ earlier this year), Avigilon also promoted the idea of an end-to-end system that can help security end users deal with the “wealth of information.” The fast-growing manufacturer touted new, closer integration between their new Access Control Manager (ACM) product, which they embraced (and then rebranded) with their acquisition in 2013 of Red Cloud Security. The browser-based system, available in Enterprise, Virtual or new Professional versions, now allows access control alarms to be associated with video and managed either within the ACM system or inside the Avigilon Control Center video software. How alarms are managed is completely configurable and customizable between the two systems. In addition to greater functionality, Steven Lewis, Avigilon’s ACM senior product manager, also offered an economic argument for use of an end-to-end solution from one manufacturer: “Since it’s all our products, we don’t charge extra to bring them together. Many manufacturers have a fee associated with connecting with another manufacturer’s system, whether it’s access to video or video to access. When you use our products, there isn’t any additional fee for integration. It’s even less expensive and works better than those other integrations are ever going to.” About functionality, he continues: “You can choose how you respond to events. The reality is we have hours and hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Something happens, what do I do? You need there to be a process that you know what to do. You don’t have to think. It pops up and tells you, it gives you the data, it gives you the instructions, and then you respond to that. When something happens, then people respond and they’re not trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do.” That’s a good way to get anyone’s attention.

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