OnSolve, a renowned critical event management provider for enterprises, small-to-medium sized organisations, and government entities, announced significant momentum with a brand relaunch and the roll out of a new platform integration engine, which adds more than 450 out-of-the-box integrations to customers’ existing physical security, business continuity, and IT management ecosystems.

In 2020, the company added ~450 new enterprise and government customers, such as Cincinnati Bell and Penske, and grew bookings by 45 percent. With its AI-powered risk intelligence and platform innovation, OnSolve is empowering customers through speed, relevance and usability to deliver true actionable intelligence during a crisis, ultimately keeping people safe and protecting their organisations.

Social media platforms

OnSolve’s new brand identity symbolises its resolve to enable customers to meet current and future challenges with the expertise and mission-critical technology that saves lives and creates true organisational resiliency. This includes a new logo and visual identity that will be implemented across all OnSolve channels including its website, social media platforms, sales and marketing materials, and customer touchpoints.

The need to better manage uncertainty is more critical than ever to saving lives and protecting organisations"

The need to better manage uncertainty is more critical than ever to saving lives and protecting organisations,” said Mark Herrington, CEO, OnSolve. “Our customers turn to OnSolve to help them navigate today’s uncertainty. Our AI-powered platform and relaunched brand underscore our relentless commitment to empowering organisations with technology that delivers insight, resilience and continuity during a crisis – keeping people safe, informed, assured and productive when it matters most.

Risk intelligence and platform innovation

Our partnership with OnSolve is essential to building a more resilient employee community at athenahealth,” said Bridger McGaw, Director, Global Security & Services, athenahealth. “When COVID-19 hit, we felt more prepared than other companies our size because we had a trusted, tested, easy-to-use, cloud-based critical event management platform in place to communicate with our employees ahead of an incident, as well as the ability to gauge the impact of localised COVID-19 outbreaks across our dispersed workforce.

The OnSolve Platform for Critical Event Management (CEM) offers a fully integrated suite of products: OnSolve Risk Intelligence, Critical Communications and Incident Management. At the core of the platform is Risk Intelligence. Its powerful AI engine uses machine learning to ingest thousands of verified data sources, identify the most critical events facing an organisation and deliver these alerts to the right people at the right time - far faster than human analysts.

Critical communications innovation

OnSolve’s next-generation risk intelligence capabilities, coupled with foundational critical communications innovation and incident management, enables organisations to:

  • Bypass human analysis using an AI engine, so customers or in-house analysts can communicate faster and quickly activate crisis response plans
  • Filter out irrelevant data, so staff can monitor only the critical events that matter most to their people, places and property
  • Target alerts to the right people immediately to enable informed, proactive decisions
  • Identify active incidents at a glance, improving response times and enabling customers to activate their business continuity plans and virtually collaborate in real-time, from any location

IT management ecosystems

OnSolve experienced a banner year of momentum in 2020, with 45 percent growth in bookings

The OnSolve Platform for CEM has also rolled out new integration capabilities through its OnSolve integration engine. The OnSolve integration engine paves the way for customers to seamlessly take advantage of more than 450 out-of-the-box integrations for their existing physical security, business continuity/business resiliency and IT management ecosystems.

Through the OnSolve integration engine, customers can instantly orchestrate tasks such as wellness checks and alerts to impacted areas; disable building access; and even trigger appropriate tests based on sensor data such as temperature drops, water levels, electrical current detection or gunshot/monitor detection. OnSolve experienced a banner year of momentum in 2020, with 45 percent growth in bookings.

Security audit compliance

New customers, renowned recognition and accreditation and strategic leadership changes underscore the company’s success in helping organisations better manage uncertainty and crises:

  • OnSolve was recognised in Gartner’s 2020 Market Guide for Emergency/Mass Notification Services Solutions report; and for the third year in a row, the company was awarded two ASTOR awards: Best Mass Notification System and Best Risk and Crisis Management Product.
  • As a testament to its excellence in risk and compliance for federal agencies and the public sector, OnSolve was listed on the FedRAMP marketplace and also achieved HIPAA security audit compliance, enabling the company to sign business associate agreements with healthcare institutions as needed.
  • To support its growth and evolution, OnSolve created new leadership roles and departments in 2020. Ann Pickren assumed the role of Chief Customer Officer to oversee the critical adoption and implementation of the OnSolve Platform by the company’s existing customer base. The company created a new function focused on enhancing alliances, partnerships and channel relationships, led by Vice President of Global Security Solutions Matt Bradley, a 14-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency.

COVID-19 vaccine deployment

Most important, however, is the life-saving role OnSolve solutions continue to play. Its critical communications technology sent billions of notifications, helped to find more than 3,500 missing persons and supported nearly 30,000 customers via capabilities in over 190 countries worldwide. Nearly 200 communities are currently using OnSolve to manage information sharing related to COVID-19 vaccine deployment, with more than 640,000 messages sent to date and growing every day.

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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.