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At ISC West this year, emerging technologies will be on display to help organisations manage their environments, from the building itself to who’s on the premises and what’s going on at any given moment. Top of mind this year is cybersecurity, compliance and management of security assets as threats rise and governing bodies put regulations in place that businesses need to react to. The good news is that the shift in approach to holistic monitoring of cyber and physical assets can move enterprises to a place of digital transformation and proactive management rather than reactive practices based on threats and changing regulations. The show provides an opportunity for both vendors and potential customers to learn from each other about what’s out there and what’s needed in terms of future solutions as the industry evolves.

Are you in cyber and physical security compliance?

At this year’s show, we’ll continue to see developments focused on integration of cyber physical security that will lead to deeper understanding of the relationship between devices, device monitoring and spaces in which all devices physically reside. Digital solutions help achieve a digital transformation which stitches the data relationships together to provide better threat vector impact and overall understanding of risk. The technologies in smart buildings are subject to cyberattacks, which pose not just a threat to data and privacy but can compromise the physical space as well. Think of the locked door in a smart building that now is opened with access control via key cards or mobile devices given only to certain members of staff. These integrations increase safety and restrict access across the enterprise, but a bad actor can access and duplicate the necessary data to open the door with a copycat device while hiding the event from the surveillance system. By having a comprehensive cyber whitelist of installed devices, potential rouge devices are prevented from transmitting on the network, therefore providing an automated guard against internal and external attacks. When systems are compromised due to a hack or physical intervention, it puts what’s behind the door at risk, whether it’s money in a bank or information in a sensitive work environment, such as a laboratory.

Digital solutions help achieve a digital transformation which stitches the data relationships together

It’s increasingly important to highlight the relationship between cyber and physical security. A great illustration of this is the digital twin. A digital twin is a replica of a physical space that uses both informational and operational technology to give real-time information about what’s going on in a space.  These can include things like floor plans for the building as well as real-time sensor data from the building management system, HVAC systems, lighting, fire, security, and more. By getting a complete picture of the physical and digital assets of an organisation, it becomes possible to monitor all systems from one central location to see how they’re working together and act on the insights they provide. So, in the example of a breach from before, it’s possible to flag that hack, isolate its exact location and devices involved, and resolve it quickly while maintaining preservation of evidence.

Compliance: how to get there safely, efficiently and effectively

As these threats evolve, governing bodies are taking action to ensure that data is protected to minimise these kinds of threats and ensure that organisations feel confident in the security of their data. Norms and compliance measures are emerging quickly, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which began to be enforced in March 2018, and the California Cybersecurity Law, which went into effect in the US just this past January. The regulations of what can be done with data mean that companies need to react or face penalties such as fines, which can be as high as 4% of worldwide annual revenue of the previous year. These are also fluid and can change rapidly, meaning flexibility is important in compliance solutions. However, this presents an opportunity for companies to invest in innovation to ensure they’re prepared for those changes and to protect the safety of not just employees, customers and target markets, but of the larger organisation.

Getting to a place of compliance can seem costly and time consuming at the beginning

Getting to a place of compliance can seem costly and time consuming at the beginning, especially for larger organisations. They may have thousands of security assets (cameras and sensors, for example) and might not even be fully aware of what they have, where they are, and whether those assets are functional, never mind compliant with data protection legislation. The right solution takes all the steps to becoming safe and compliant into account, beginning with inventory and mapping of all assets to get a complete picture of where things stand and where changes need to be made. One large financial institution, upon embarking on this journey, identified an additional 10% of assets that they didn’t know they had, and additional ones that were nonfunctioning and needed to be repaired or replaced for compliance and safety.

Monitoring: centralised and remote for rapid response

Once assets and data are centralised and a complete inventory is taken, it’s much easier to effectively monitor the complete enterprise. At this year’s show, smart technologies will be on display that reduce cybersecurity risks and monitor assets for compliance. If something changes, that can be flagged, and appropriate parties can be quickly notified to act and neutralise security threats or avoid the expensive penalties that come with noncompliance. Since all these components are centralised in one location, it becomes possible to monitor much more effectively and fix issues remotely in minutes rather than scheduling a trip to a location that may not happen for days or even weeks. A security camera for a large chain enterprise such as a retail store or bank in a small-town location deserves service just as quickly as one in a major city, since the threat that each non-functional device poses is the same to who and what it is there to protect.

Keeping it up: a proactive approach to service and maintenance

One of the ways that emerging technologies can be a game changer is when it comes to the cost and approach

One of the ways that emerging technologies can be a game changer is when it comes to the cost and approach to systems maintenance and operation. In addition to performance and compliance, other types of data, such as historical events, can also be monitored centrally. This gives context to security events and can move organisations from a reactive to a proactive approach to their security as well as operations. If small problems are identified and resolved before they become larger problems, it means that security events can be mitigated more quickly or prevented entirely due to early intervention. On the operations side, early insights into asset performance means that fewer resources are expended on noncompliance fees and large-scale, emergency repairs. These resources can take the form of money, but also of time spent by employees and enforcement agencies to ensure continued compliance. Staff can spend time engaged in active monitoring rather than generating reports, since that can now be automated.

In the new decade, it’s time to use the technological resources available to better protect systems for smarter, safer and more sustainable environments. On every level, compliance is important not just for its own sake, but so are the other benefits associated with intelligent management.

The show presents an educational opportunity for vendors and customers alike. Walking around the show floor and talking to everyone is a unique way to see what’s out there and evaluate what is and isn’t working for a business while getting information from all the industry experts. Even if they’re not ready for a complete overhaul, taking stock of what’s available, where things are heading and how their operations and mission can be better served by implementing one or more of the solutions showcased is more important than ever. On our end, those conversations about needs and concerns are invaluable in driving innovation.

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Jason Pelski General Manager Assurance Services, Data Enabled Business, Johnson Controls, Johnson Controls, Inc.

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