Should IT Take Over Physical Security?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 18, 2009

Frequent discussions of IT taking over physical security often turn to not simply if it will happen but when it will happen. Such convergence is viewed broadly as a key issue in the future of the security industry.

Perhaps more important than will it happen is should it happen. Would it be better for end user organizations to have IT run physical security? Would we save money or be more secure or possibly both?

The Case for IT Taking Over

Proponents see 3 major advantages for IT taking over physical security:

  • Physical security systems are becoming increasingly more sophisticated
  • IT personnel can quickly learn what they lack in physical security
  • IT personnel are strong at maximizing business benefits of technology

The rise of IP telephony is the most commonly cited example of a domain that IT has successfully taken over.

Why IT Should Not Take Over

I believe it would be dangerous for IT to take over physical security. If IT did take over, this would increase security and liability risks.

Unlike telephony, physical security is significantly more involved than integrating and deploying the technologies employed. It is impossible to manage physical security simply through technology. Physical security, by its nature, requires extensive expertise in physical construction, organizing responders and interacting with suspects/attackers. Indeed, physical security is intricately intertwined with security management (e.g., see the US Army physical security guide).

Physical security practitioners offer three 3 characteristics that will be difficult to impossible for IT to successfully replace:

  • Toughness to physical conditions and physical threats
  • Ability to handle deception and lies
  • Deep domain expertise in criminal justice

The technologies used in physical security help security execute their responsibilities but do not and will eliminate the need for these characteristics.

Toughness

Security managers routinely deal with violence or threats of violences – it is an essential and necessary part of the job. Even if you get an image of the person on your IP video system, you still need to deal with the person (an especially difficult issue when dealing with internal issues).

Security managers, often with a military or police background, have years of training dealing with violence and threats. As such they tend not to be intimidated or overwhelmed when faced with this.

Most IT managers lack the temperament and training to be competent in these situations . If the IT manager is handling incidents, it is an easy and obvious choice for the suspect to intimidate the IT manager.

Deception and Lies

Most suspects will not immediately admit full guilt. This is the whole point of investigations – which is a key element of security organizations both in the public and private sector. Security managers need to be trained and able to handle this type of interaction.

IT managers do not have any of this training. This could lead to lower cases resolved, less restitution and if they conduct the investigation inappropriately to lawsuits.

Criminal Justice

What is legal is a key element in security decisions every day. From how suspects can be treated to how policies and procedures are setup, criminal justice issues are critical to properly running security.

We often talk about the IT needing to learn about lenses, camera positioning, recording duration, etc but that's just a small part of real security management. Check the PSP and CPP certification requirements and you can see the hundreds of elements involved.

Maybe IT Can Just Runs the Systems?

Some people may argue: Let security handle all the criminal and investigation aspect, just let IT handle physical security systems.

Accounting and sales provides a good examples (indeed, counter examples to telephony). The accounting and sales organization are heavily dependent on information systems. However, the IT department rarely selects the software. While the IT department absolutely has influence and makes recommendations, the accounting and sales organization ultimately choose the system that best meets their particular goals. This practice is equally sound for physical security.

Conclusion

Physical security is much more than physical security systems. Organizations are best served by physical security experts selecting technologies that best serve overall security plans with input from the IT department on technical issues.

1 report cite this report:

Security Manager Statistics and Surveys 2009 on Oct 03, 2009
The needs and constraints of security end users are key elements in determining the selection of security technologies such as video surveillance....

Related Reports on Sales

Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...
Favorite Intercom Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 14, 2018
Intercoms are certainly increasing in popularity, driven by the integration of video and IP networking. But who is the favorite? On the one side,...
VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...
Ambarella on Computer Vision and US Hikua Ban on Sep 10, 2018
Ambarella, a widely-used video surveillance component supplier, is betting on the rise of computer vision and is already seeing a sales impact from...
Ligowave Wireless Profile - Ubiquiti Competitor on Aug 27, 2018
Ubiquiti has become the most common choice for wireless in video surveillance (see Favorite Wireless Manufacturers) but not without controversy and...
ISS VMS / Video Analytics Company Profile on Aug 16, 2018
Who is ISS? In the past few months, they had one of the craziest ISC West promo items in years. Then, they hired industry veteran and ex-Dahua...
Dahua NA Consolidates Rep Firms Led By Ex-FLIR Team on Aug 01, 2018
When Dahua acquired Lorex / FLIR SMB, Dahua NA had 11 manufacturer rep firms and FLIR had another 6. Now, Dahua NA, led by the ex-FLIR team, has...
Wave Retorts: SDS 'Desperate' And 'Defeated' on Aug 01, 2018
Distributor SDS has sued Nortek and distributor Wave Electronics alleging bribery, conspiracy, antitrust violations and violations of state laws...
Security Sales Course January 2019 on Jul 31, 2018
The next IPVM Security Sales Course will be held in January 2019. Register now and save $50. This sales course is customized for the needs and...
Milestone / Canon Spinout Arcules Cloud Launch on Jul 30, 2018
Canon and Milestone's VSaaS Startup spinoff Arcules launched their platform at Google Cloud Next. IPVM spoke with CEO Andreas Pettersson about the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact