Articles by Glenn Foot
It seems that only a few days pass between cyber security stories of concern to the public such as personal data leaks and DIY home camera hacks. With this in mind and the need for increased connectivity, the industry is in need for guidance in cyber security. 2020 is set to be a year of change for the physical security industry. Here are the top four predictions to stay head of market trends in the year ahead. 1. There will be more clarity for installers about industry-standard for cyber security The professional security industry will next year see the launch of a new set of cybersecurity guidelines Through the work being conducted by the BSIA Cyber Security Product Assurance Group (CySPAG), the professional security industry will next year see the launch of a new set of cybersecurity guidelines. This will provide the industry with the guidance and clarity that is currently missing. A key area of clarification is the chain of responsibility. It is not just the responsibility of the manufacturer to keep everything secure from a cyber-perspective. The whole supply chain is responsible - once a product leaves the lab where they’re manufactured, conditions change. Those who maintain, install and operate the product have a shared responsibility to ensure that a product or system remains cyber secure. As the sector develops and more cyber-enabled products become available to the market, this cyber security approach will become more important, and a key differentiator to the DIY market, which can only be a good thing. 2. Cloud and 4G connectivity are giving end-customers better physical security The percentage of panels connected to cloud services is now increasing every year Manufactures have been producing cloud-ready products for several years. Initially, not all installers had been taking advantage of benefits of cloud-connected panels, however the percentage of panels connected to cloud services is now increasing every year. Trust and education have improved, meaning that installers and end-users have realised that connectivity is positive, enabling consumers to check on their properties remotely and allow installer to remotely support their customers. However, one area of constraint has been the dependency on customers networks which may, or may not, offer the level of performance that a robust and resilient security system demands. With the introduction of mobile data connectivity to connected products over the past few years, and as connectivity becomes more widespread across physical security products there will also be a greater shift toward mobile technologies such as 4G, either as a back up to a router connection or for complete network independence. 3. Connectivity is changing the way installers work Installers are a vital part of the chain of when a new alarm system is fitted into a property Installers are a vital part of the chain of when a new alarm system is fitted into a property, providing both installation and maintenance services. Traditionally maintenance activities have always been delivered on-site. With the increased ease of connectivity for security systems and the advancements in how these systems are used, installers are provided further opportunity to enhance customer service around the delivery of maintenance. It is no longer a requirement to have a customer wait until an engineer can attend a property to remedy a fault, as many can now be addressed within minutes from any location in the world. This ability allows installation businesses to focus their engineers on more critical tasks while delivering an overall higher level of customer service. Indeed, some installation businesses are moving to a model of having dedicated remote support engineers in addition to the road-based team. 4. Manufacturers are ready for IP-only alarms, ahead of the 2025 analogue switch off The PSTN switch off being conducted by BT and other service providers is due to be completed in 2025 The PSTN switch off being conducted by BT and other service providers is due to be completed in 2025 as part of the move to Next Generation Networks, ending the use of analogue phone lines and moves communications technology into an all IP-only space. Although some service providers have indicated that there may be some type of initial PSTN simulation, those providers that are doing this are also making it clear that this is only a temporary solution. The switch off will be a huge change for the security industry. Where heritage, analogue alarm systems are in use, installers will need to plan to reconfigure existing systems to use the temporary PSTN simulation functions (where available) or upgrade systems to an all IP solution. Although 2025 feels a long way off, installers and end-users need to start planning now and taking the necessary action. In our sector, manufacturers are ready for IP-only alarms through the provision of cloud-based solutions and the use of techniques such as SIA IP for ARC monitoring.
Eaton’s SecureConnect™, a smart security management system for residential and commercial buildings, now has 4G capabilities. This secure plug-on module is a cloud communicator which enables a control unit to connect to the cloud using both 4G and 2G technology over mobile networks. Configuring the 4G cloud communicator as a back up to the panels Ethernet connection allows for dual path communications, ensuring that there is no loss of connection through power cuts or poor internet service. The unit is also an ideal solution for premises without an internet connection as it can provide fully independent mobile connectivity. Cloud-based systems SecureConnect™ enabled control panels are designed for use in for residential and commercial buildings, and when linked to the cloud, enable remote maintenance, monitoring and control via user-friendly web and mobile interfaces. All SecureConnect™ products are designed from the outset to deal with the increasingly sophisticated attacks that are targeting cloud-based systems, regular security updates deliver protection against the ever-changing threats. The secure cloud-based smart security management system has been thoroughly tested by Eaton’s Cyber-Security Centre of Excellence. Every new web-connected device provides a potential pathway for hackers" Glenn Foot, Scantronic Security Product Manager at Eaton, said: “SecureConnect represents an exciting development, making the installation, programming and monitoring of systems much faster and simpler for installers, and enabling end-users to benefit from greater convenience, control and peace-of-mind. However, every new web-connected device provides a potential pathway for hackers.” Potential cyber threats “It is therefore essential that cyber security is built-in from the very beginning and that best practice is correctly observed by technicians and homeowners. The new 4G cloud communicator further enhances the robustness of cloud connected systems providing dual path cloud connectivity when used as a back-up to a to a router connection. If an installer prefers have solution that is independent of the premises infrastructure, then module can also provide single path connectivity without the need of a router.” In addition to the product and technology solutions, Eaton offers training courses for installers to raise awareness of potential cyber threats and how to apply best practices. Eaton’s whitepaper, Protecting Home Security Systems from the Cyber Threat, explores the risks associated with cyber security, the challenges confronting installers and ways in which these can be addressed.