4 Apr 2019

Editor Introduction

When security topics become a part of current events, it is usually in a negative light. Security generally only becomes news when it fails, sometimes in a dramatic, high profile and tragic way. However, security failures can also shed light on lessons learned and opportunities to improve. Working toward better security can translate into the purchase of more goods and equipment supplied by our market. For additional insights into the intersection of security and current events, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Good news or bad news? How do news reports and/or current events influence the general public’s opinion of physical security?

Joe Oliveri Johnson Controls, Inc.

Unfortunate events, like active shooter situations, have certainly heightened the public’s concern for increased safety and security. However, these events have also fueled facility managers and owners to proactively plan for unexpected emergencies by connecting active shooter technologies with their security systems. We’ve seen an increased interest from public, high-trafficked spaces – such as campuses, stadiums and commercial buildings – as the constant flux of people in each area offers more vulnerabilities to be exploited. Active shooter technology can be seamlessly integrated with existing security technology to provide valuable insights and increase the response rate in the wake of an emergency. To mitigate risk and demonstrate a commitment to safety, more facilities are acknowledging the importance of this technology integration as a crucial component in their overall security strategy.

Ross Wilks Vanderbilt Industries

Considering the threat posed by terrorism, crime and violence, security has never been more important. Installers of security solutions have a unique opportunity to ensure that people, property and assets are protected in the best ways possible. Although cybersecurity continues to grab attention in the media, businesses are reporting far more physical breaches in security at their premises. Installers and integrators are in a perfect position to address these issues and profit from promoting the benefits of security and access control to businesses of all sizes, in a variety of vertical sectors. We live and work in an increasingly connected world, and the IP revolution has had a dramatic effect on the physical security equipment industry. This represents a massive opportunity for installers and integrators to operate at the cutting edge of the intelligent buildings market and lead the way in specifying solutions that operate over the IT network.

In the United Kingdom, there has been anxiety expressed by some media and the public about the UK having among the highest numbers of CCTV cameras per capita. However, this has become good news since the use of this network in tracking criminals and terrorist suspects (such as the 7/7 attacks perpetrators), which gives people a tangible reassurance that the systems are doing their job. The recent drone incidents at Gatwick Airport have been bad news, however, raising the perception that there is little joined-up thinking between Government, the Military and Civilian bodies on the deployment of new counter measures and protection of places of Critical National Infrastructure. Ironically, the security technology was available, there just wasn’t the recognition that the drone could present such a threat. We security professionals need to highlight the positives and show mitigation is taken seriously when there are issues.

Physical security systems protect not only the physical assets of an organization, but their intellectual property and electronic data assets as well. For every industry – both regulated and unregulated – the general understanding and awareness of security matters at all levels of responsibility has an enormous impact on an organization’s security posture. While almost everyone in every organization has a role to play, very few are security experts. Thus, responsible publication of actual security incidents does have some positive effect because it can raise awareness of the need for intelligent, appropriate safeguards, and for the confirmation that implemented systems are working as expected. Once there is a general awareness of physical security risks, and the closely related cyber security risks, senior leadership is in a position to set the right balance between security and convenience for the organization, allocate the necessary resources, and reinforce the importance of the task over time.

Editor Summary

News reports can help to draw attention to the security needs of organizations, especially among stakeholders who are not usually focused on security, such as CEOs. News reports – even negative ones – also highlight the need for better security. It’s impossible for any reasonable amount of security to address every risk. But realities of the world, often reflected in current events and news reports, remind all of us the need for continued vigilance.