IFSEC had been telling us the 2018 event was going to be different. On email, in advertising, or in the news, they were telling us change was going to come.
And they weren’t lying. There was a clear shift from purely physical-based security to an integrated event; incorporating the latest in cyber defence technologies and showcasing how digital and physical security can be intertwined.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise as the organisers had said the event would shift to a holistic view of security. However, it’s one thing to be told that and another to see it.
But one thing hadn’t changed and that was the overriding message that security must be at the forefront of design and integrated with other fields and business departments.
We hear this a lot (for good reason, because it’s imperative we take an integrated approach) and while I don’t doubt it has sunk in with delegates by now, the message doesn’t seem to be making it much further than that.
But it’s important we continue to hear it until something does change.
Overall, it was an excellent event but there were three key take-outs for me:
Security silos are old-hat
For years we have managed to protect our buildings, infrastructure and people with a mixture of security solutions that were sometimes independently intelligent, innovative or well designed, but rarely have those been part of what I’d describe as a holistic, intelligent security system.
Currently, security solutions are developed in silos built as proprietary software packages or physical devices. This means it is impossible to create an integrated solution. In addition, most general security solutions rely on email or web reporting that alarms an individual to police potential threats.
Of course, this could be sufficient in some circumstances, but the reliance on an individual in a singular team or department, without any communication to other relevant personnel is laden with risk.
However, integration of IT, HR and physical security measures that share information and raises red flags based on the assumed threat level would enable rapid and intelligent responses to potential security breaches.
As Jasvir Gills, CEO of AlertEnterprise, Inc, said: “You can never be safe if you put three locks on one door and leave the other doors wide open”.
A multi-disciplinary approach
Security is a design issue that must be incorporated at the initial concept design phase. Traditionally, aesthetics have dominated the overall building design with architects’ concern for the working environment being compromised by security provision and the security expert worrying about the lack of security provision at the concept phase.
A simple solution that RWS implements is to have a security expert engaged during the concept phase and working closely with the design team to ensure security is woven into the fabric of the building. This ensures all teams involved will achieve the common goal of keeping tenants, workers and visitors safe.
Safety should be considered in every decision, especially the architectural materials chosen, as this will underpin all subsequent safety and security systems.
Designing for security also has additional benefits, such as mitigating risks of damage to servers and other data centres, helping to prevent the potential loss of critical functions.
Good security doesn’t need to mean poor aesthetics. In fact, some of the best integrated security solutions are those that aren’t obvious on street level. Security products should reflect good design in any case. Just because it’s a functional CCTV doesn’t mean it has to be ugly.
Converged Security Centre
Finally, at the exhibition, IFSEC presented the first Converged Security Centre. This brought together physical and cyber information in real time and gave security experts the opportunity to see what can be achieved in their own security environments.
It identified the increasingly complex and large-scale risks and showed how cross-functional security teams using intelligent software technologies and modern physical security products can mitigate these risks.
Clearly, integrated security solutions are the new standard to reach for. The technology and materials to make this a reality already exist and the expertise to design, manage and implement these security solutions are also available.
The challenge is to act on the messages we keep hearing at security events and ensure an integrated approach to security actually takes place on an every day basis across the globe.
If you’d like to know more about integrated security solutions for your building, speak to the RWS team via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01733 351136.