As global head of corporate security for Lehman Brothers, Ken Damstrom has been a pioneer in converging physical and logical security.

SDM: What are Lehman Brothers’ goals for converging physical and logical security and what steps have you taken towards achieving those goals?

DAMSTROM: Convergence is a natural element of helping business be successful. For years, corporate and information security departments on Wall Street lived in separate divisions at a firm and there was rarely any dialogue between the groups. Yet, one of the primary missions for both of these groups is protection of the firm’s assets. Even if the two departments don’t ultimately merge, there are still many daily opportunities for convergence, so the thing to do is to find common ground, create transparency and start breaking down silos.

My responsibilities are disaster recovery planning, physical security of employees, and external and internal investigations. Initially the common ground was to globalize a variety of systems that the corporate security department was using – for example, the access control system and secondly, the video system. Initially the goal was to put access control system data on the same backbone we send e-mails over. By building this bridge you enable transparency, which is a critical element to achieve convergence.

A lot of corporate security people are former law enforcement. Their skill sets weren’t forged in the world of technology. You’ve got to open yourself to change.

Once you do that, you realize there are collateral elements that will have value. How much more powerful can we make the access control system if we can integrate it with human resources (HR)? Now you’re really starting to build convergence. When you have people leaving the firm, you no longer want them to have physical or logical access.

The next thing we did was look at video. Most video systems were closed systems that required both coax cable and power to be run to each camera, back to a time-lapse VCR. The interim solution has been to implement DVRs and use the same camera and coaxial cable that you’ve already expensively installed with vertical and horizontal cable pulls.

Right now, we’re using a hybrid solution where we take a DVR and put it on the network. For new installations, there are no vertical cable runs, only horizontal. Coax only has to be run to the DVR in the communications closet on appropriate floors because the DVR has an IP address and is connected to the network. IT’s first question is “How much bandwidth will be used?” But in a hybrid scenario, you’re not putting video on the network until you connect with the DVR and ask for a real-time video stream or archived video data stored on the hard drive, so it becomes video on demand.

Our experience has been that IT doesn’t have a problem with that model. The next segue out of the hybrid model is going to be a fully IP-based solution where the IP camera itself is sitting on the network and has an IP address. It will save money because running network cabling which can carry both the data and power is cheaper than running coax and power.

The security department recently added an IT professional to its staff, someone who previously worked in the firm’s information security group. The value this employee brings is multi-pronged. It continues to strengthen our relationship with the IT department – and when we deal with manufacturers and systems integrators, he’s talking their language.

SDM: What advice do you have for systems integrators working with an organization such as yours?

DAMSTROM: Part of what they need to discuss is being solution providers, which will enable clients to achieve goals and be successful – and I’d like them to play a larger role in communicating to manufacturers what the end-user is thinking and wants. You need to open your organization and build a partnership with them. Creating that transparency with your partner will enable them to monitor the technology marketplace and be that solution provider and R&D professional for you. They can bring to you solutions they believe meet your strategy and help turn a good idea into reality. They’re a critical element of this process, and firms will continue to rely on them for their knowledge and expertise.