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Analogue Transmission - Expert commentary

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 centre 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 Monitor™ is a software platform that provides a top-down view of the physical security network and ecosystem 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. 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 utilising system properties and sensor data, Razberi’s award-winning cybersecurity software prevents problems while providing a centralised 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 unauthorised 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 organisation secure.

HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade
HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade

According to IHS Market, it is estimated that there are over 60 million security cameras in the United States, and other reports say these cameras capture more than four billion hours of footage per week. Over the last decade, IP camera technology has dominated the conversation as it has provided users with a broad offering of enhanced image quality and features. With a large percentage of existing security systems relying on analogue, many end users looking for high definition (HD) video quality have been forced to take on a complete system overhaul. Infrastructure overhaul for HD video To make the switch, customers would need to change everything, from cameras to hardware to wiring– not to mention the lengthy installation process that would ensue. IP cameras also require higher Internet speeds and more cloud space. Whether constrained by budget, bandwidth or storage, many end users have been unable to adopt this new video surveillance method.Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike. By utilising the current Coaxial cables, this offering yields high definition video, while requiring minimal infrastructure changes and is an optimal surveillance choice for security customers. Plus, with new advancements and updates being made frequently to this technology, there is a solution for every security need. The enhanced alternative of HD over Coax has been warmly welcomed in the security industry, thanks to its simple solutions and ever-evolving features. Many new analogue HD cameras are “plug and play,” able to connect directly to existing Coaxial cables. This eliminates the need for a complete system change, creating cost-savings for the end user and an enhanced video quality offering. Easy solutions for HD video As a result, integrators can cost-effectively upgrade their customer’s surveillance solution while using their legacy infrastructure, making it an attractive option for end users and an easy sell for dealers. Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems, where even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response HD over Coax cameras themselves are always expanding and evolving to meet a wide array of security needs. With the introduction of fisheye and multi-sensor cameras, users now have a multitude of coverage options, not to mention the introduction of 4K bringing resolution options to the same level as IP. Some newer technologies are even touting 4K cameras paired with 4K digital video recorders (DVRs) made specifically for analogue systems. Longer cables grant transmission for up to 1600 feet, double the distance of standard analogue solutions, and triple that of IP systems. This single cable is able to transmit both HD video and audio. Recently, broadcast quality audio over Coax has become available in limited models, a substantial improvement over older analogue technology, which was unable to transmit audio. Stopping video delay Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems. Even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response. IP cameras are forced to compress and packetise their video for transmission. The outcome of this is a reduced number of images per video, which in turn causes delay. HD over Coax on the other hand, delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity. Additionally, the point-to-point transmission delivers uncompressed video free of lag. Another touted benefit is that, unlike IP networked cameras, analogue systems provide a more secure video transmission. With so much sensitive information housed on a businesses’ network, adding another point of network access through an IP camera can create concerns for cyber security risks. HD over Coax delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity Preventing network hacking With HD over Coax, the physical connections between the camera and DVR prevent network hacking. By keeping the video surveillance system offline, security professionals are able to direct their attention to the physical threats at hand, rather than having to focus on deterring cyber security risks. One of the primary difficulties of deploying HD video solutions is the fact that many older systems utilise a wide variety of HD standards and platforms. To make matters more complicated, after HD over Coax was brought to market, manufacturers raced to create their own version of this technology. Today, the most popular proprietary standards are HD-CVI, HD-TVI and AHD. However, integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible.Integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible Diversifying surveillance through one DVR To combat these issues, manufacturers have introduced products with more flexibility to their portfolios. One example of this is the penta-brid DVR which grants the ability to seamlessly integrate multiple technologies deployed across one application. This means that systems with diverse camera brands and technologies, such as a mix of HD-CVI, HD-TVI, AHD, analogue or IP, can be connected through one DVR. For many end users with legacy analogue systems, penta-brid DVRs give them greater freedom to choose between a variety of solutions, rather than being limited to one option. With video resolution increasing, the space needed to store the footage is similarly rising. Penta-brid technology has been able to adapt to these evolving needs, giving users ample storage space to house the HD and 4K surveillance video with some of the newest models including H.265 compression.  HD casino surveillance made simple For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff While HD over Coax is beneficial to many end users and integrators, those in the casino and hospitality markets find it crucial. With a combination of high profile guests, large amounts of cash on hand, constant crowds and strict industry regulations, reliable video surveillance is a must. Deploying new IP systems comes at a stiff price. When looking to upgrade their video surveillance, casinos must also be mindful of the installation process. When moving to an IP-based system, ripping out old wires and replacing them with new is the standard practice. This practice can be both disruptive and costly, not to mention gaming regulations require casino activities be monitored at all times so a complete system shutdown would result in revenue loss. This cost can be hard to justify, especially when the current legacy analogue system remains in working condition with only the lower image resolution to date it. For these scenarios, the most cost-effective option is to leverage the legacy infrastructure, replace the existing cameras with new devices, and reap the benefits that HD video has to offer without any lapse in security. For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff. HD over Coax cameras now offer the same resolution as IP cameras with a plug and play approach, that cuts down on expense without sacrificing quality. For businesses and applications that are unable to adopt IP technology, whether it be cost or time prohibitive, HD over Coax now features most of the same benefits IP has to offer without breaking the bank. By providing clear images in real time, maximising existing infrastructure, and affording cyber security benefits, HD over Coax provides an attractive solution for many end users and integrators.

Latest Europlex Technologies Limited news

Vanderbilt collaborates with ComNet to enhance toll booth and plaza security
Vanderbilt collaborates with ComNet to enhance toll booth and plaza security

Vanderbilt’s SPC was recently deployed to act as part of a security and communication solution between a toll booth and plaza located on the M1 between Dublin and Belfast. At night time, the toll system is automated and therefore an intruder alarm system was needed for protection. The distance between the toll booth and plaza is 6.2 kilometres and the security systems – SPC and video cameras – had to be able to connect and operate over that distance so operators could get an overview of activity at each site. SPC replaced an existing Europlex legacy product that had the IFS fibre drivers connected and working on multimode fibre over the 6.2 kilometre distance. Due to this distance, the fibre driver was bespoke. Multimode is usually only specified for approximately two kilometres. However, when the 3GS legacy system was replaced for a new SPC panel, the communication over the fibre link stopped working. Deploying fibre cables, transmitters and receiversComNet came straight out of the box and was easy to use and to install" The installation company, Precision Security, previously had to deploy a pair of fibre cables – two transmitters and two receivers – to transmit the signal back and forth successfully. However, in updating the site, they found that a single pair of ComNet fibre units, straight from the box, could successfully execute the task, despite only being specified for 4.5 kilometers. The ComNet FDX60 multimode fibre units allowed the SPC X-Bus transmission to be converted from RS485 protocols to optical and back to RS485. This enabled the data between the SPC expanders to travel further distances. Broad-range compatibility The ComNet FDX60 (M,S)[-M] data transceivers provide point-to-point transmission of simplex or duplex EIA RS232/RS422/RS485 (2W/4W) data signals over one or two optical fibres. The transceivers are transparent to data encoding, allowing for broad-range compatibility. Models within this series are available for use with multimode or single-mode optical fibre. “ComNet came straight out of the box and was easy to use and to install. Its threshold is only around four kilometres, but it is working well beyond that. When I saw the name ComNet, I was pretty confident that it would work, to be honest. We previously worked with ComNet fibre managed switches, and we found that they always work as a sweet as a nut,” stated Victor Fields of Precision Security, who installed the fibre solution on site.

New name for Bewator brings big benefits
New name for Bewator brings big benefits

Bewator, one of the UK's leading developers and suppliers of security products, has changed its name to Siemens Building Technologies Security Products Limited.The adoption of the Siemens identity is a natural progression following the Siemens acquisition of Bewator in November 2005.  However, Bewator has been careful to ensure that the timing is right not only for the company, but also for its customers.  It is confident that the change will bring big benefits to all those who buy, sell and use the company's equipment.Despite the change in the company title, the renowned Bewator name is not disappearing.  The Bewator brand will continue to be recognised within the Siemens Building Technologies Security Products portfolio - along with the Siemens and Europlex brands - and as such the name will continue to feature on a large number of familiar products.One of the most significant developments signalled by the name change is that the company now has access to the full technical and financial resources of the Siemens organisation.  This will drive future product and systems development, ensuring that customers continue to enjoy the very best in leading-edge security technology and the additional quality assurance that a global brand like Siemens brings.Being part of the Siemens organisation also allows customers of the new Security Products business to access one of the widest ranges of equipment available from a single source.  Current products will continue to be available and are rapidly being complemented by exciting new additions to the range.  Interoperability between product ranges from the brands of Siemens Building Technologies Security Products will be further enhanced."Bewator has always been a successful and market-leading operation," said Managing Director, Bob Cotterill, "but there's no doubt that membership of the Siemens organisation has given the business additional impetus and allows us to move forward more rapidly and in ways that would not previously have been possible."When we asked our customers how they felt about changing the company name to reflect these developments, there was a strong feeling that the Siemens name means innovation, quality and product interoperability.  In short, Siemens Building Technologies Security Products Ltd may be simply a new name to front our business - but it's a name with an incredible amount behind it!"

Top London University goes digital with latest Tracer Lite DVR from Europlex Technologies
Top London University goes digital with latest Tracer Lite DVR from Europlex Technologies

National systems integrator Bell Security has been using Europlex's Tracer Lite DVR to help a number of major clients bring their CCTV surveillance up to date. In the most recent project, an international university complex in the heart of London's West End has benefited from an upgrade to full digital recording.Using the Tracer Lite, the imposing 27,000 square foot listed building on the North-West corner of Trafalgar Square has been equipped with a fully networkable and scalable CCTV system based on all its existing cameras.  Anderson Slocombe, the project manager for Bell Security recommended the Tracer Lite in this case because of its higher image quality."We've found that the resolution of the images on the Tracer Lite is excellent, and allowed us to deliver a real improvement on what the client had previously," he said.The 1.2 Terabytes of digital storage allows the university to dispense with the cost and inconvenience of VHS tapes and keep all the required images stored for more than 30 days.  It also provides for much easier access to stored images, with inbuilt search methods.University managers can now easily duplicate recordings directly onto CD/DVD, which can be viewed on any other PC without additional software being installed. "The university required a seamless, full digital recording upgrade and this was achieved by removing the existing multiplexers and installing a 16-way Tracer Lite," adds Anderson Slocombe.Safety and security of all activities at the site is now greatly improved and end-users the reassurance of unlimited, step-by-step scalability.  Starting with just one Tracer Lite model, system designers can add and integrate further recorders whenever they want - for example linking branches, regional offices, or even sites in different locations around the world. Remote management software provides secure access, viewing and archiving functions using a range of communication methods.With a neat, compact design Tracer Lite offers up to 1.2 Terabyte hard disk storage, DVD backup and event retrieval, plus continuous-, motion-, sensor- and audio-activated recording functions.

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