Security-Net began a journey – one that would eventually establish it as a highly respected national accounts-based group of systems integrators
Security-Net has grown significantly in stature as a global national accounts organisation

Back in the day, security companies kept their business close to the vest, didn’t collaborate and worked locally, without expanding beyond limited geographic boundaries.

Security-Net™, Exton, Pa., came about in an effort to find a better way. So some 22 years ago, in 1993, the organisation began a journey – one that would eventually establish it as a highly respected national accounts-based group of systems integrators.

SourceSecurity.com went to Security-Net founding member Bill Savage, president of Security Control Systems Inc., Houston, to recount the organisation’s journey from past to present.

SourceSecurity.com: Overall, what is the goal of Security-Net and its members?

Savage: Security-Net was founded to give independent integrators the ability to collaborate on various fronts. In 1993, there wasn’t much industry collaboration. Everyone worked within their own geographic areas and product lines. Several of us began talking about the challenges of maintaining good relationships with manufacturer partners and customers as we grew outside our areas. As a result, our members, now with 50 regional offices and 1,200 professionals across the U.S., Canada and abroad, have grown significantly in stature as a global national accounts organisation, representing significant purchasing power.

SourceSecurity.com: What do Security-Net and its members see as some of the most important technological changes? How is the organisation poised to make the most of them?

Savage: Certainly one of the most significant trends is the globalisation of security. When I started in the business 35 years ago, if you had a handful of access control readers at the protected premises that was considered significant, but integration unlikely. Today we see security extend its reach around the globe at even modest-sized companies. The way systems are configured and scalable, smaller facilities in remote areas are just as important as larger ones. Large-scale systems are spread across the globe, and that takes knowledge and expertise not all integrators have. The other thing impacting our approach to system design is the need for the highest levels of security, including data security. We recently launched a pilot program to foster collaboration and secure data exchange using individual member companies as test beds to ensure the information customers entrust to us is safe not only internally but as we distribute it across their networks.

The Tech-Net subgroup of Security-Net represents a wonderful resource for manufacturers thinking about product roadmaps
Security-Net recently launched a pilot program to foster collaboration and secure data exchange

SourceSecurity.com: How has the organisation changed and adapted to the morphing technology landscape?

Savage: We always saw technological innovation at the highest levels of the systems integration industry where Security-Net was involved. Systems integration has continued to advance, in the distribution of data; resiliency of networks; and emerging technologies such as biometrics. As the economy has improved and the consolidation of manufacturers continues, there’s renewed investment in research and development, and we are right in the thick of advising supplier partners. The Tech-Net subgroup of Security-Net represents a wonderful resource for manufacturers thinking about product roadmaps who want to pick the brains of top companies. They come to us to get insights from some of the greatest minds in the systems integration industry.

SourceSecurity.com: What's coming in the future; any changes for the organisation, in philosophy or other?

Savage: One of the things we have been working on is the continued international expansion of Security-Net. We’re trying to expand our offerings and attract more partners in different areas across the globe. Yet we’re always cautious and must maintain the utmost levels of professionalism as we grow and expand. We continue to focus on providing local, high-quality services to our customers and don’t want to lose sight of that. We also spend a lot of time huddling about the service delivery process and have invested substantially in custom software to manage large-scale projects, which is important to our customers moving forward.”

SourceSecurity.com: Any closing thoughts about Security-Net and its contributions to the security industry?

Savage: I think one of the things we need to remember is that we originally got together based upon an atmosphere of control and mutual respect. This isn’t like joining a club. Non-participation is not an option. We expect members to participate fully in meetings and projects and the various programs Security-Net offers its customers. We must not lose sight of the fact that we are independents, but as we grow continue to put the customer first and offer great products and services. We are proud of our organisation and what we have been able to accomplish.”

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

Deborah O'Mara Owner, DLO Communications

Deborah L. O’Mara, SourceSecurity.com's dealer/integrator correspondent, is a veteran of the security marketplace, having extensive experience in security, fire alarm technology and integrated systems.

In case you missed it

Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

Companies are following government guidance and getting as many people as possible working from home. Some companies will have resisted home working in the past, but I’m certain that the sceptics will find that people can be productive with the right tools no matter where they are. A temporary solution will become permanent. But getting it right means managing risk. Access is king In a typical office with an on-premise data centre, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, and collaborative communication toolsBut as we know, CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, applications and collaborative communication tools that they do on a regular basis from the office or on the train. Indeed, the new generation of video conferencing technologies come very close to providing an “almost there” feeling. Hackers lie in wait Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical servers. Less than a month ago, we emerged from a period of chaos. For months hackers had been exploiting a vulnerability in VPN products from Pulse Secure, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Citrix. Patches were provided by vendors, and either companies applied the patch or withdrew remote access. As a result, the problem of attacks died back.  But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behaviour, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines.  As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHO and healthcare organisations in general since the pandemic broke. We’ll see lots more opportunist attacks like this in the coming months.   More speed less haste In March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHOFinally, we also have bots to contend with. We’ve yet to see reports of fake news content generated by machines, but we know there’s a high probability it will happen. Spambots are already creating pharmaceutical spam campaigns thriving on the buying behaviour of people in times of fear from infection. Using comment spamming – where comments are tactically placed in the comments following an update or news story - the bots take advantage of the popularity of the Google search term ‘Coronavirus’ to increase the visibility and ranking of sites and products in search results. There is clearly much for CIOs to think about, but it is possible to secure a network by applying some well thought through tactics. I believe it comes down to having a ‘more speed, less haste’ approach to rolling out, scaling up and integrating technologies for home working, but above all, it should be mixed with an employee education programme. As in reality, great technology and a coherent security strategy will never work if it is undermined by the poor practices of employees.

How does audio enhance security system performance?
How does audio enhance security system performance?

Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems? 

How have standards changed the security market?
How have standards changed the security market?

A standard is a document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and/or practices. Standards surround every aspect of our business. For example, the physical security marketplace is impacted by industry standards, national and international standards, quality standards, building codes and even environmental standards, to name just a few. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have standards changed the security market as we know it?