Being in the physical security industry for almost two decades has been an exciting journey, with significant changes that have impacted the world of security. Companies today must be proactive when it comes to securing their facility and are lucky to have so many choices when it comes to security technology. From the beginning, the ISC West show was always at the forefront of new technology and brought together the very best technology and industry professionals in the “City of Lights”.

Back in 2001 when I first entered the security world, video surveillance was the key driver, and transitioning from analog cameras to IP video cameras was the talk of the town. In the early 2000s, the ISC West show was filled with video manufacturers showcasing their new IP cameras and the IT folks were just starting to get involved with the security decisions.  Back then the ISC West show consisted of a myriad of video manufacturers exhibiting their camera lines. Where now in 2020 the high-profile enterprise-level camera manufacturers dominate the show floor. Over the last two decades, keeping up with the technology advancements of IP cameras was a difficult feat for most camera manufacturers and the high-profile manufacturers who had the funds to invest in R & D were the only ones that survived.

Changing the game in video surveillance and access control 

In the early 2000s, the ISC West show was filled with video manufacturers showcasing their new IP cameras Another huge change that our industry has seen over the years was the increase in the number of acquisitions. Smaller security manufacturers started being acquired by the larger ones, which changed the game in video surveillance and access control. In addition to manufacturers, large security integrators like Convergint Technologies & Anixter were also buying smaller commercial integrators and dominating the market. At ISC West today, you will see predominately high profile – big name manufacturers and integrators where the smaller companies were either acquired or went out of business.   

Revolutions in the industry

The security industry also faced a huge revolution with three major technologies driving growth in the security market – Network-based technologies (IoT enabled solutions), Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) and Mobile Credentials. ISC West saw this evolution coming and created specific educational seminars dedicated to these topics. Another big push that came into play in the last few years was being able to integrate a host of technologies like video and access control by using an open architecture platform. Many partnerships were formed in the security industry due to this massive push for integration. At ISC West, we now see many companies having their partners sharing booth space. This helps reduce costs for exhibitors in addition to giving smaller companies credibility by being recognized with the bigger players in the industry. In addition, ISC West makes it easy for attendees to plan out their show schedule in advance with the mobile app; creating a convenient way to access show information from mobile devices. 

From the beginning, the ISC West show was always at the forefront of new technology

Emerging excitement 

Today, ISC West continues to be an exciting show that is jammed packed with educational sessions, networking events, and new pavilions that help segment the security industry into different sectors. An example of some new technology pavilions includes drones & robotics, loss prevention & supply chains, and emerging tech. All new start-up companies that are 5 years old or less can be part of the emerging tech section of the show. Here entrepreneurs can unveil new and upcoming security technologies; creating a win win situation for any size business looking to make its name known in the industry.

New technology, innovations and rising trends

Another huge focus at the ISC West show is public safety. A full range of solutions are offered at the Public Safety Pavilion including barriers/bollards/gates/perimeter security, surveillance, access control, and alarms - along with innovative technologies for gunshot and drug detection, license plate recognition, acoustics, facial recognition and AI, connected vehicles, communication systems and devices, alerts and monitoring, and active shooter solutions Today, ISC West continues to be an exciting show that is jammed packed with educational sessions, networking events, and new pavilions and training. Virtual reality demonstrations have also been available at the show to help attendees with preventative measures when it comes to school and public safety. Some new vape and metal detection technology built on the IoT concept will be featured at ISC West 2020 to help combat the vaping epidemic in our country. With active shooter incidents on the rise, metal detection and perimeter protection at schools will be an important part of the show.

Awards and showcases

When it comes to show press, we have also seen an influx of awards for security manufacturers that are exhibiting at the show. The major security publications have been offering manufacturers the opportunity to submit a product in distinct categories and win a prestigious award at the show. This creates “buzz” about your product and great for social media postings. Live video interviews at an exhibitors’ booth has also become a very popular tool to increase brand awareness and thought leadership for exhibitors. The ISC West show offers numerous ways to drive traffic to your booth and promote new product launches seamlessly. Over the years, the show has created a conduit The ISC West show offers numerous ways to drive traffic to your booth and promote new product launches seamlesslyfor manufactures and integrators to showcase new products and technologies to end users across multiple vertical markets.     

At the top of the game 

While the security industry continues to evolve, the one thing that stays constant is the wealth of information that ISC West offers to its attendees.  The show always brings together the latest technologies and thought leaders that will continue to change the game in security for years to come.

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Expert roundup: healthy buildings, blockchain, AI, skilled workers, and more
Expert roundup: healthy buildings, blockchain, AI, skilled workers, and more

Our Expert Panel Roundtable is an opinionated group. However, for a variety of reasons, we are sometimes guilty of not publishing their musings in a timely manner. At the end of 2020, we came across several interesting comments among those that were previously unpublished. Following is a catch-all collection of those responses, addressing some of the most current and important issues in the security marketplace in 2021.

Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?
Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?

If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organisations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. But what are the key reasons for considering such a setup in 2021? But why is this new technology so well-suited to future-proof your physical access system, and why is it becoming so popular? Eradicating outdated legacy credentials Have you seen just how vulnerable outdated Proximity card technology can be? Low-frequency 125kHz cards can be cloned in a matter of seconds with the use of cheap, readily available tools. Despite their weaknesses, they are still used by a huge majority of businesses – big and small. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential Replacing such a system with a mobile-enabled system is one of the best ways to increase security ten-fold. Thanks to a cloud-based infrastructure, mobile ID offers best-in-class security and cryptography. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential. Bluetooth Smart and NFC (Near Field Communication) make them the best product to operate such a credential via a secure app. If you’re looking for best-in-class security in 2021, mobile access is most definitely the way forward. Removing touch points across the business Reducing touch points and the adoption of touchless facilities has become a key priority for businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Even as businesses start to return to the office and operate a home/office split, it will be imperative that unnecessary contact is kept to an absolute minimum between staff. The traditional issuance of identification and access control credentials can pose problems in this regard. Facility and security managers who are responsible for onboarding and processing ID have done the process face to face. Mobile access makes it possible to carry this process out without people coming into direct content. First, the security manager has access to a secure portal, allowing them to create, manage and edit credentials anywhere. They can upload and remotely transfer mobile ID and access control credentials directly to users’ smartphones over the air. Via the secure app, users can view and see their credentials and immediately begin using it for ID and access control by simply placing their smartphone over card readers. Enabling a more flexible way of working The way in which we work has changed for good. Even as people more people return to the office in 2021, a majority of businesses will be operating a home/office split indefinitely. This once again reinforces the need for a smarter, more adaptable onboarding system. Implementing mobile ID is the perfect way of doing this: over-the-air delivery of credentials and security data is now a given, helping businesses create the perfect balance between the home and the office. No longer do people have to come into the office for the onboarding process. Increasing convenience and user experience More often businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security Ok, so mobile ID is the perfect way of increasing security and adapting workplaces to a post-COVID way of working. And we’ve not even touched on the most obvious advantage yet: Convenience. How many times have you forgotten your ID card? We’re sure it’s more times than you forget your smartphone. These powerful processors have become intertwined with the way we carry out tasks on a daily basis. They’re so vital that people will soon notice if they’ve forgotten it. From an employee’s perspective, mobile ID and access control is simple, convenient and extremely user-friendly. More and more businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security. From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organisations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. Summing up, mobile access is changing the way we access the office by: Eliminating weak links in security systems such as outdated legacy card technologies Eradicating the need for touch points across multiple areas of the workplace Enabling a smarter, more flexible approach to onboarding Increasing convenience – for both employers and employees.

Water plant attack emphasizes cyber’s impact on physical security
Water plant attack emphasizes cyber’s impact on physical security

At an Oldsmar, Fla., water treatment facility on Feb. 5, an operator watched a computer screen as someone remotely accessed the system monitoring the water supply and increased the amount of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. The chemical, also known as lye, is used in small concentrations to control acidity in the water. In larger concentrations, the compound is poisonous – the same corrosive chemical used to eat away at clogged drains. The impact of cybersecurity attacks The incident is the latest example of how cybersecurity attacks can translate into real-world, physical security consequences – even deadly ones.Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. The computer system was set up to allow remote access only to authorised users. The source of the unauthorised access is unknown. However, the attacker was only in the system for 3 to 5 minutes, and an operator corrected the concentration back to 100 parts per million soon after. It would have taken a day or more for contaminated water to enter the system. In the end, the city’s water supply was not affected. There were other safeguards in place that would have prevented contaminated water from entering the city’s water supply, which serves around 15,000 residents. The remote access used for the attack was disabled pending an investigation by the FBI, Secret Service and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. On Feb. 2, a compilation of breached usernames and passwords, known as COMB for “Compilation of Many Breaches,” was leaked online. COMB contains 3.2 billion unique email/password pairs. It was later discovered that the breach included the credentials for the Oldsmar water plant. Water plant attacks feared for years Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that the attempt to poison the water supply should be treated as a “matter of national security.” “The incident at the Oldsmar water treatment plant is a reminder that our nation’s critical infrastructure is continually at risk; not only from nation-state attackers, but also from malicious actors with unknown motives and goals,” comments Mieng Lim, VP of Product Management at Digital Defense Inc., a provider of vulnerability management and threat assessment solutions.The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online “Our dependency on critical infrastructure – power grids, utilities, water supplies, communications, financial services, emergency services, etc. – on a daily basis emphasises the need to ensure the systems are defended against any adversary,” Mieng Lim adds. “Proactive security measures are crucial to safeguard critical infrastructure systems when perimeter defences have been compromised or circumvented. We have to get back to the basics – re-evaluate and rebuild security protections from the ground up.” "This event reinforces the increasing need to authenticate not only users, but the devices and machine identities that are authorised to connect to an organisation's network,” adds Chris Hickman, Chief Security Officer at digital identity security vendor Keyfactor. “If your only line of protection is user authentication, it will be compromised. It's not necessarily about who connects to the system, but what that user can access once they're inside. "If the network could have authenticated the validity of the device connecting to the network, the connection would have failed because hackers rarely have possession of authorised devices. This and other cases of hijacked user credentials can be limited or mitigated if devices are issued strong, crypto-derived, unique credentials like a digital certificate. In this case, it looks like the network had trust in the user credential but not in the validity of the device itself. Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is what can happen when zero trust is your end state, not your beginning point." “The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organisations bring systems online for the first time as part of digital transformation projects,” says Gareth Williams, Vice President - Secure Communications & Information Systems, Thales UK. “While the move towards greater automation and connected switches and control systems brings unprecedented opportunities, it is not without risk, as anything that is brought online immediately becomes a target to be hacked.” Operational technology to mitigate attacks Williams advises organisations to approach Operational Technology as its own entity and put in place procedures that mitigate against the impact of an attack that could ultimately cost lives. This means understanding what is connected, who has access to it and what else might be at risk should that system be compromised, he says. “Once that is established, they can secure access through protocols like access management and fail-safe systems.”  “The cyberattack against the water supply in Oldsmar should come as a wakeup call,” says Saryu Nayyar, CEO, Gurucul.  “Cybersecurity professionals have been talking about infrastructure vulnerabilities for years, detailing the potential for attacks like this, and this is a near perfect example of what we have been warning about,” she says.  Although this attack was not successful, there is little doubt a skilled attacker could execute a similar infrastructure attack with more destructive results, says Nayyar. Organisations tasked with operating and protecting critical public infrastructure must assume the worst and take more serious measures to protect their environments, she advises. Fortunately, there were backup systems in place in Oldsmar. What could have been a tragedy instead became a cautionary tale. Both physical security and cybersecurity professionals should pay attention.