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 Distributor Says Hikvision "Top Rated Yet Most Hated" on Jul 12, 2017
The CEO of 2M Solutions, a distributor selling Hikvision cameras under their own as well as Hikvision's brand has publicly declared Hikvision to be...
Best Manufacturer Perks on Jul 07, 2017
A decade ago, the best manufacturer perk was likely a trip on the Pelco jet: But the Pelco jet is long, long, long gone. What types of perks...
Hikvision USA Hires VP of Business Development on Jul 05, 2017
Hikvision USA is expanding again, this time in its drive to move up market to larger integrators and end users. In this note, we analyze...
IndigoVision Raids Avigilon Sales Team on Jul 05, 2017
If you can't beat 'em, hire their employees? This could be described as IndigoVision's most recent strategy to increase market share in North...
Hikvision Hits Record 'ALL PRODUCTS' Sales Run on Jun 30, 2017
Hikvision has a new record. This one is for the most times a video surveillance manufacturer has put all their products on sale in 2 months....
Hikvision Stock Surges - Doubling In Past Year on Jun 29, 2017
Hikvision's stock, on the China Shenzhen stock exchange, has more than doubled in the past year, vaulting the company's worth to an astounding (for...
Top 5 Improvements For Manufacturer Sales People on Jun 28, 2017
Manufacturer sales people are very important to integrators, but it takes more than just punching a clock to be successful and truly valuable to...
Manufacturer Sales People Are Very Important - Statistics on Jun 26, 2017
IPVM's new integrator statistics show what sales people say regularly: Sales people are very important. From 150 integrator...
Importance of Sales To Integrators - Statistics on Jun 23, 2017
One of the top trends in the industry over the past few years has been the rise of across-the-board sales (e.g.: Hikvision Sales, Dahua Sale,...
Resolver / PPM 2000 Incident Management Platform Profile on Jun 20, 2017
You might have seen the company whose employees wear hockey jerseys at trade shows and wondered "what do they do?" PPM 2000 has been active in...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis Door Station Tested (A8105-E) on Jul 19, 2017
Axis continues their push into niche markets, especially audio, with network speakers, an IP horn, and video door stations. We tested Axis'...
Manufacturer Favorability Guide on Jul 19, 2017
This 120 page PDF guide may be downloaded inside by all IPVM members. It covers our 20 manufacturer favorability rankings and 20 manufacturer...
$8 Billion Utility Georgia Power Enters Surveillance Business Offering Avigilon And Genetec on Jul 19, 2017
Utilities are typically considered major customers of surveillance integrators but one utility, Georgia Power, with $8+ billion in annual revenue...
Knightscope Laughs off Robot Drowning on Jul 18, 2017
A day after a Knightscope robot drowned, Knightscope has issued an 'official statement' making fun of the issue: The implied message is that...
Microsoft Video AI Cloud Services Examined on Jul 18, 2017
Microsoft has released one of the most amazing video analytics marketing videos ever. In it, they detect oil spills, track individual people giving...
Hikvision USA Head of Cybersecurity Exits on Jul 18, 2017
Hikvision USA's Head of Cybersecurity has exited the company. In this note, we review the move, share Hikvision's feedback and examine the...
'Suicidal' Knightscope Robot Drowns on Jul 17, 2017
Knightscope continues its hyper growth, at least when it comes to controversy, this time with a 'suicidal' robot in Washington DC. And here is...
March Networks Company Profile on Jul 17, 2017
March Networks was one of the most well-known video surveillance manufacturers of the 2000s. In 2012, March was acquired by Chinese / American...
Milestone Beats OnSSI In Court on Jul 17, 2017
The litigation between former partners Milestone and OnSSI has finished, confirmed by both parties. In April 2016, OnSSI sued Milestone and in...
Power For Burglar Alarms on Jul 14, 2017
In order to operate, alarm panels require the high voltages found in electrical outlets be converted to the low voltages they run on. In this...

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