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Announcing the Next SecurityDreamer Event ASIS 2014

Join us for another SecurityDreamer cocktail party at the beginning of the ASIS conference in Atlanta, September 28. Start here before you walk over to Canada Night. Open bar and food. Contact me for an invitation HERE

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Sponsored by Modulo

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SecurityDreamer Trends Report

February 14, 2013 11 comments

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Overview

Each year since 2005, SecurityDreamer blogger and industry analyst, Steve Hunt, conducts surveys of end user security executives, tracking trends related to the business of security. We cover physical security and IT security equally at SecurityDreamer, carving our unique niche in the industry. Here is a taste of our findings. Sorry, the complete findings are not available except to Steve Hunt’s consulting clients and participants in the research.

Methodology

I find that narratives yield more insight and are more accurate than statistics. Therefore, the SecurityDreamer approach is to conduct dozens of personal interviews, by phone, email or in person. Each interview covers a subset of topics. Data gathered is generally qualitative and anecdotal, rather than quantitative.

Topics Included

Awareness

Budgeting/Spending

Business Continuity

Consultants, Use of

Event Management

Executive Buy-in

Identity & Access Management

Identity Theft

Interdepartmental Collaboration

Operational Best Practices

Penetration Testing

Physical Information Protection

Social Engineering

Staffing/Headcount

Strategy & Planning

Technology Lifecycle Management

Technology Selection

Approximately 50 companies participated in the survey, representing 11 industries.

Industry

%

Energy

19

Finance

16

Business Svcs

14

Online Merchants

13

Banking

8

Healthcare

8

Retail

6

High-Tech

6

HighTech

4

Entertainment

3

Food&Hospitality

3

 

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Summary Findings from the SecurityDreamer Research

Increased Spending

While operational security budgets saw little growth across all industries, spending for new projects increased steadily in Energy, Finance, High-Tech and Entertainment. New IT security and physical security projects most notably included

  • Security operations centers
  • Virtual command centers
  • Security information management systems (SIEM, PSIM)
  • Networked cameras and sensors at high-risk facilities

Greatest Challenge

CSOs and CISOs complained that their greatest business challenge is metrics: Normal operational metrics, such as improved response time to security incidents, or numbers of malicious code detections are not compelling to business leaders. Security executives seek better ways to calculate ROI, justify purchases, and measure the success of deployments.

Most Surprising finding of 2012

Collecting Company Wisdom. Far more companies in more industries are documenting processes than we’ve seen in previous surveys.  Continual Improvement (a la Baldrige, Kaizen, Six Sigma, etc) appears to be the primary motivation. Security executives realize that much of the know how of security operations resides in the heads of its local security managers. In a hope to benefit from the sharing of this business intelligence, companies are using a variety of techniques (surveys, performance reviews, online forms) to gather it.

Least Aware of This Threat

Physical threats to information rose to the top of the list of issues about which CISOs and CSOs know the least.  Every security executive we interviewed had an understanding of physical threats to information (unauthorized visitors, dumpster diving, etc) but almost none had studied or measured the risks associated with physical threats to information, nor did they have in place thorough procedures to protect against it.

Least Prepared for This Threat

Two related concepts represent the threat for which nearly all security executives feel least prepared to address: Social engineering and physical penetration.  Every security executive confessed that confidential company information was as risk of social engineer attacks (phony phone conversations, pre-texting, impersonation, spear-phishing, etc.).  Physical penetrations were even more frightening to some executives who were certain that their confidential company information could be collected and conveyed out of the building (in the form of printed documents, photos, memory sticks, etc) by

  • an unauthorized visitor tailgating into the building
  • an attacker bypassing security controls at doors and fences
  • rogue employees or contractors
  • an internal attacker of any type

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SecurityDreamer Chicago

What a successful SecurityDreamer Chicago Event last week! Thirty men and women from a cross section of Chicago’s IT and physical security communities, end users and service providers, gathered for a fun evening of information sharing, new research, fine art, yummy wine and stimulating conversation.

The event was held at the exquisite David Weinberg Gallery in the art district of Chicago near downtown.  David Weinberg was on hand to talk about his art.  The photographs lining the walls of the the three room gallery were provocative and powerful. David said his art was inspired by his childhood and colored by his years owning a technology company that he sold some years ago.

We were able to afford a beautiful and unusual venue because of our visionary sponsors, BRS Labs and Inovonics.  I’ve mentioned BRS Labs in the past.  I have such appreciation as a technologist for innovative companies, and BRS Labs is one of them.  The company re-thinks video analytics and approaches the challenge in an entirely new way.  While the “video analytics 1.0″ vendors battle it out, BRS Labs quietly amazes it’s customers and confounds its competitors with a “2.0” solution.  Thank you to BRS Labs for sponsoring SecurityDreamer Chicago.

Rethinking solutions was the theme of the event. I shared some research Hunt Business Intelligence recently completed on trends in critical infrastructure technology adoptions by the largest companies in the world.  It turns out that non-security executives, like CEOs and CFOs, are steadily losing confidence in security executives.

Part of the reason for that loss of confidence is that security executives continue to think like security wonks and do a poor job running security like a regular business unit. A security professional should be able to analyze, measure and create value, and not merely avoid risks.

Inovonics helps its customers create value. Its line of wireless life safety technologies, led by its flagship RADIUS product, leverages existing network infrastructures to provide superior service.  Imagine integrating a wide variety of sensors, including people-location, around your facility built around a single architecture of standard wireless networking. It is life safety information management at its finest.  Thank you to Inovonics for sponsoring SecurityDreamer Chicago.

We are now planning SecurityDreamer New York, SecurityDreamer Houston and SecurityDreamer Orlando (at ASIS).  Drop me a note and tell me a bit about yourself if you want one of the limited invitations.

Why Video Analytics As We Know It Is Going The Way Of the Dodo

April 17, 2011 6 comments

At my SecurityDreamer event at the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta a few years ago I discussed the idea of the difference between video analytics one-dot-O (1.0) and video analytics 2.0

The idea I wanted to get across was that popular video analytics vendors at the time were already appearing stuck in processor-intensive analysis of pixel changes.  Video analytics products that were fashionable then, such as Object Video, ioimage, Cernium, Vidient and others had products that were limited by the specific algorithms they used, the types of cameras or images they supported (day/night/indoor/outdoor/scope/frame rate/etc), and the amount of configuration and tweaking once deployed.  Unless a video analytics product was perfectly matched with the optimal camera, environment and algorithm, the results were always disappointing.

That description of video analytics sounds very similar to the way the first computer-based access control products of the 1980s were described. It is similar to the first firewalls and IT-intrusion detection systems.  It sounds just like the first Microsoft Windows operating systems.  In other words, It had all the characteristics of a “version 1.0″ technology.

1.0 is always exciting.  1.0 introduces new ways of solving problems, opens new avenues and gets our creative juices flowing.  1.0 gets us turned on and many of us want to use the technology because we are fearless or desperate for some solution.  But 1.0 always comes with a price of inefficiency and ineffectiveness.  1.0 always makes us long for a new version that will achieve the desired end less painfully and more effectively.

2.0, in an operating system, IT software, or any technology generally represents a quantum leap forward. A rethinking of the problem and an entirely new approach.  Consider the breathtaking difference between Microsoft DOS 3.3 and Windows 95.  It was like the PC had been reinvented.  Suddenly processes that took dozens of configuration steps were automatic and graphically appealing.  DOS 3.3 became obsolete.

Video analytics 2.0 had that same promise – the attractive idea that the headaches and misfires of video analytics 1.0 would be replaced by an automatic, intuitive system.  The company that seemed to have a true video analytics 2.0 approach at the time was BRS Labs – A startup in Texas that had yet to be proven.  The BRS difference was its use of machine learning.  An analytics system that was self learning seemed to be exactly what the end users were hoping video analytics 1.0 should have provided.  Those who were not exposed to BRS scratched and clawed their way through video analytcs 1.0 deployments, steadily reducing their expectations.  Today Video analytics 1.0 vendors have happy customers – customers who expect little and receive what they expect.

Fast forward to today and we see Vidient out of business; Object Video is no longer a technology competitor and has instead reoriented it’s business to patent protection; other analytics vendors are selling very specialized solutions.  And then there is BRS Labs – making money, growing every quarter, and silently showing the world what video analytics 2.0 truly represents.  As more prospective customers see what video analytics 2.0 represents, the 1.0 vendors will drop like flies.

Video Analytics technology has struggled over the past decade with products that require expensive and time consuming installations, high ongoing maintenance costs, and unacceptably high false alarm rates and overall poor operational performance.  In short, traditional video analytics technology has not proven viable and the market, as all markets do, requires innovation.  The market craves an operationally effective solution and innovation is the key to satisfy market demands.  As I have said since 2008, the learning approach taken by BRS Labs is ushering in video analytics 2.0.  The broader market is now coming to this same realization.

Announcing SecurityDreamer Event Series

SecurityDreamer Events are Back!

We are planning a new series of SecurityDreamer events for 2011 and 2012.  You know them as the premier information sharing and professional networking events in the industry.

We bring together end-user executive decision-makers and influencers from important corporations and public organizations in cities around the world. Hunt Business Intelligence shares recent research findings and everyone learns and laughs together.

Did you miss SecurityDreamer at the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta? Did you miss the SecurityDreamer PSIM work group in DC? How about SecurityDreamer at the David Burke Restaurant in Vegas or at Margaritaville, The Botanic Gardens, Around the Coyote Art Gallery and many more interesting fun venues.

SIGN UP. If you are interested in attending our unusual, invitation-only events, tell me a little about yourself in an email steve (dot) hunt (at) huntbi (dot) com.

Another PSIM Acquisition – Verint Acquires Rontal

April 6, 2011 1 comment

For several years I’ve thought Verint had the best slogan: Actionable Intelligence.  I also thought that Nextiva, Verint’s flagship video surveillance product, could not really live up to the slogan.  Adding Israeli software vendor Rontal to the portfolio certainly gets Verint’s technology closer to the promises of the marketing department.

In the past I have resisted placing Rontal in the PSIM category.  It always struck me as a tool for improving incident response but fell short of the information analysis I like to see in a PSIM solution.  Nextiva + Rontal does it for me.  The various components of Nextiva, when combined with Rontal, tell a satisfactory security information management story.

ADT acquiring Proximex means more accessible PSIM for everyone

April 4, 2011 1 comment

From the “Least Surprising Developments” file, the  acquisition of Proximex by ADT Security Services was announced this morning.  Why did this acquisition, or something like it absolutely have to happen?

ADT Security Services has been very intentionally (if haphazardly) adding wider and deeper services related to security monitoring.  If you look at PSIM (physical security information management) clearly, you see it as a set of technologies for more efficiently responding to events, as opposed to merely recording events.  That mission has been the stated objective of ADT for some time.  Of course ADT would want to buy a PSIM vendor to put some consistency in its otherwise hodgepodge security offering.  The question is which one?  NICE is too big, publicly traded and not looking to spin out its PSIM product, Situator.  One down.  CNL has many good points, but not enough customers to prove its versatility.  VidSys might have been a good choice.  It would likely have been considerably more expensive to acquire, in light of its market penetration and VC funding, but what a boon it would have been for ADT mind-share in the Commercial space.

What about other PSIM contenders?  There are some vendors that are not fully committed to the PSIM architecture and newcomers trying to make their name, but trial by fire in real life customer deployments bubbled Proximex and a few others to the top of ADT’s short list. ADT probably looked at Proximex and saw a technology and brand that was just sexy enough and the price was right.

That leaves the question of why would Proximex want to sell.  Proximex, like other PSIM vendors, was not growing at the rate its investors (most notably Proximex’s Jack Smith of Hotmail fame) assumed or hoped.  There are many reasons for that lack of growth in the PSIM world: misleading and confused marketing, misaligned pricing strategies, missed technology opportunities, poor channel partnerships, and of course challenging market dynamics and fickle customers.  For example, when an investor puts a ton of money in a commercial technology, he’ll be inclined to sell it at a high price.  Selling something at a high price means marketing it as an “enterprise solution.”  An Enterprise Solution requires extremely mature and rich technical functionality, driving more expensive product development and constantly dissatisfied customers.  You see?  Greedy eyes create an impossible spiral for a fledgling technology segment like PSIM.

I’m happy with the ADT acquisition, and so are my end-user clients, who nearly every day tell me another example of how PSIM technology helps them or would have helped them run a more efficient and effective operation.  ADT will find a delighted customer base.

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