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Here Ian Graham, SVP and GM Video EMEA at Verint covers some of the themes, and technologies that have shaped the information security industry over the last ten years.
Question: In your opinion, what are the most significant developments in the information security field over the past decade?
Historically, security processes such as CCTV surveillance and the data it provides have been fragmented and dispersed across multiple locations, making it difficult for security professionals to aggregate, spot and respond to incidents or potential threats as quickly as possible. Over the last ten years, a key development in surveillance technology specifically is the emergence of tools which give businesses a comprehensive overview of the entire enterprise across multiple sites and access points, so it is possible to monitor different areas (even across different geographies) from a single location on one screen providing regular updates and information about what is happening at any given time. The technology has also become more intuitive and proactive in nature, as today’s surveillance systems are capable of sending alerts to security professionals immediately, if unusual or fraudulent behaviour is detected. This means security teams can act upon potential threats or criminal activity instantaneously, which enhances the safety of all involved.
In addition, such advanced security platforms are increasingly being used by companies as a source of management information – a significant shift from 10 years ago. The latest surveillance tools have allowed businesses to monitor individual or customer behaviour, which has proved invaluable to sectors such as retail. For example, a shop can use surveillance systems to monitor and gather data on customer numbers at certain times of day to ensure there is sufficient staff on hand during busy periods, or see which promotion campaigns in-store are being well received by customers. Making use of such vital information on a centrally managed system has helped businesses run with greater efficiency, understand their customers better to make necessary improvements and above all, ensure that everyone is safe on the premises at all times by giving a complete view of the vicinity.
What are the most significant industry-related developments you have observed over this past decade?
1. We have seen many companies come and go over the past ten years especially in the area of analytics. This is because end users and suppliers have altered their mind set when it comes to analytics. The initial hype from a few years ago has become less intense, as end users have invested in technologies that in some cases haven’t delivered what they promised, consequently causing a more conservative and realistic approach to intelligent analytical solutions. Organisations now want tried and tested solutions that can provide a realistic ROI to justify their spend.
2. The trend for IP video surveillance solutions is clearly one of the major developments over the last ten years. Many businesses have switched to this, either directly or via a hybrid approach as it can bring many benefits including remote video monitoring, unlimited digital storage, high quality images, scalability and reduced installation costs. Consequently, manufacturers have had to offer customers more choice making sure they can support transition into the IP field when required.
3. Traditionally, decisions on which security solutions to choose and implement were taken on a best of breed approach (i.e. the favourite camera or Digital Video Recorder at that time), but now such choices are no longer stand alone. As the security process has become more complex, security professionals are increasingly looking for video management software (VMS) that will integrate with and oversee all of the components within the surveillance system. As a result, decision makers are now on the lookout for a complete, end to end solution from one vendor to make sure everything runs seamlessly. What’s critical here is the user interface and functionality of the VMS system, which needs to be intuitive and as easy to use. Above all, it must be able to talk to third party solutions (e.g. cameras, monitors and work stations) and there is a growing expectation for it to communicate with access control and facial recognition type products. In this way, VMS systems of today are the glue sticking other packages together to offer security professionals increased management control over disparate systems.
4. The requirements for security professionals have changed a lot over the years and will no doubt continue to do so. With this in mind, organisations need to know that the surveillance platform they invest in is scalable and able to support their future needs.