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

Hiring Spree At Aimetis 6 Months After Being Acquired on Sep 28, 2016
Aimetis was acquired in April 2016, and is now expanding almost all of their departments, hiring employees from Axis and other industry...
Axis Secretly Paid Anixter Sales People To Push Axis NVRs on Sep 26, 2016
Internal Axis communication shows how Axis paid Anixter and Tri-Ed sales people with secret bonuses to push Axis NVRs. In this report, we examine...
ACTi Refuses Race To The Bottom, Shifts To Solutions on Sep 23, 2016
The original low cost IP camera disruptor was ACTi. Back in the 2008 - 2010 time frame, Taiwanese manufacturer ACTi challenged the Western and...
Milestone Ends Development of "Enterprise" VMS on Sep 22, 2016
Milestone 'Enterprise' was one of the first enterprise video management software offerings, selected by many early adopters of IP video. However,...
History of Video Surveillance on Sep 22, 2016
This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade.  The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand...
Axis Launches IP Speakers on Sep 21, 2016
First, Axis introduced an IP horn, then it was video intercoms, and now it is Networked Speakers? While IP-based Public Address systems are not...
FLIR and Geovision Join the Hikvision Price Cut Race on Sep 20, 2016
Hikvision's price cuts are clearly a trend setter. After numerous and increasingly large cuts, the destructive cycle is accelerating. Last month,...
Hikvision Big Hire - Ex Ingram Micro Exec on Sep 15, 2016
Hikvision has made another major hire. This time is it Tom Burns, previously VP at Pivot3 and, before that, GM of mega distributor Ingram...
Lenel Partners Angry, Lenel Does Not Care on Sep 01, 2016
Even more than Arecont, one manufacturer stands out for consistent complaints - Lenel. Over the past few years, no manufacturer has had more...
Axis Takes Over Canon Surveillance Sales and Marketing on Sep 01, 2016
The wasteful Axis / Canon conflict is ending. After more than a year of Canon's video surveillance group competing with Axis, Canon...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Camera Calculator Class and IPVM Member Orientation October 2016 on Sep 28, 2016
Members, learn how to better design video surveillance systems and get the most out of your IPVM memberships with 2 upcoming live classes. Both...
Axis 4MP Camera Tested (M3046-V) on Sep 28, 2016
Axis has brought 4MP to its camera line in the new M3046-V, the highest resolution model in their revamped M30 series. We bought and tested this...
Hiring Spree At Aimetis 6 Months After Being Acquired on Sep 28, 2016
Aimetis was acquired in April 2016, and is now expanding almost all of their departments, hiring employees from Axis and other industry...
Camio Natural Language Processing Tested on Sep 27, 2016
The ex-Googler led team from Camio has advanced its video monitoring offering to include natural language processing. Camio ingests video,...
Access Door Controller Configuration Guide on Sep 27, 2016
Properly configuring access control door controllers is key to a professional system. These devices have fundamental settings that must be...
Hacked Dahua Cameras Drive Massive Cyber Attack on Sep 27, 2016
Cyber attacks are accelerating and IP cameras are behind many of them. Worse, last week, a 'massive' attack was carried out using numerous Dahua...
Axis Secretly Paid Anixter Sales People To Push Axis NVRs on Sep 26, 2016
Internal Axis communication shows how Axis paid Anixter and Tri-Ed sales people with secret bonuses to push Axis NVRs. In this report, we examine...
VLANs for Video Surveillance Tutorial on Sep 26, 2016
Many people confidently say to 'use VLANs' as an answer to IP video networking problems and as a way to signal expertise. But how should VLANs be...
Ambarella CEO Admits H.265 and 4K Not Popular on Sep 26, 2016
Ambarella is the main chip provider for high-end surveillance cameras driving higher resolution and new CODECs. While Ambarella has been pushing...

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