Convergence… simple or complicated? It is as complicated as you make it says Jason Towse, Managing Director of Mitie’s Total Security Management business. He writes, “Our world has been converged for many years. From a company’s network allowing employees to connect their personal devices (BYOD), or smartphones, PCs and tablets facilitating mobile banking and paperless transactions for electronic approvals, our personal and business data is often intermingled.
“In the security industry it is a similar world, but new and different approaches are emerging. Our customers frequently employ experts from the world of traditional security (manned guarding), physical security and cyber security. But increasingly they are being forced to consult with more specialised security agencies, even though their worlds and challenges may seem significantly different.
“This is interesting though when you consider that data, traffic and pretty much all of a business’s systems share the same network. As we converge, the simple answer is to collaborate and share information to provide better surveillance and responses for the overall business.
“A key risk for many companies is that their approach to traditional security has remained static. For example, the use of security officers in the IT world and asset and building custodial roles has evolved at a meteoric pace. This has been to meet the demands of business and consumer spending, which in some cases can be millions of pounds.
“Today though, heads of risk/security need to do more than control access to buildings. They need to establish who is attempting to access areas without a legitimate reason, whether it is physical access or via IT networks.
“The imminent challenges of bringing traditional security, physical and cyber together and protecting the significant investments in IT lie with the skill levels of the people and capabilities of the modern day security operation centre (SOC) or Global Security Operations Centre (GSOC).
“Some businesses are already treating both cyber and physical security as one, and developing their solutions with this in mind. The search and selection of the multi-skilled and capable operator has begun, and in some cases graduate level candidates are being sought.
“Selecting an outsourced central facility such as a GSOC can be a challenge. Whilst there are some great examples, many simply do not possess the capability to run effectively and developing in-house is costly. A robust GSOC or security convergence centre is paramount to providing a single point where the operator can coordinate a response to any security event.
“Some businesses are already moving down this road and utilising convergence software (SMART) aligned with automated notification tools. This means that following an incident the appropriate escalation path is automatically followed, removing manual escalation and communication methods that often fail or take unnecessary time.
“As the world changes, so do the opportunities to leverage technology. This allows people to react to and manage the risks businesses encounter more successfully. Technology also provides our employees, visitors and consumers with secure environments more effectively. Never has the need for more collaborative security management been more important.
“Heads of risk/security, IT leaders and third party partners need to continually rethink the traditional systems we work with.”