Integrators: Want to Win in the Global Market?

Security convergence is sometimes defined as a technology challenge visavis a product migration path. One often-overlooked aspect is the differing paths of security deployments within the customer organization.

A global customer is very different than a regional installation. Sounds simple, yet some integrators believe that scaling an existing application or business model is all that is required in selling global accounts. Some folks even discount the importance of the IT organization to the process of deploying security policy at all.

The global customer is not for everyone. At this level of end user, you must understand business goals and their IT infrastructure to succeed. Doing this effectively through partnerships can produce huge revenues. Electronic Data Systems (EDS) provides integrators with a blueprint for selling globally through understanding the vision of their own internal security organization.

Entering the executive reception area at EDS is impressive. The fifth-floor windows overlook a vast campus complete with international flags lining the driveway. A painting of founder Ross Perot stares down at you, with the EDS corporate mission statement, “A Promise to Deliver on Commitments,” on display.

Dave Morrow is the chief security and privacy officer for this $22 billion (2007), 139,000-employee organization. His responsibilities include information security, physical security, privacy, crisis management, executive protection, corporate oversight for disaster recovery/business continuity, and all health/safety functions. When asked to describe his job he replies, “I’m head of security ­â€” all of it.”

Dave’s Air Force officer background is evident in the décor of his office, and he has briefed Congress on both physical and cyber security issues. He explains security convergence as a combination of three functions: people, process, and technology, and quickly adds, “Technology is the easy part.” People are the critical issue. When working with both information and physical security professionals in a converged model, he emphasizes that the word “security” must be clearly defined and communicated up front to address preconceived “mental models” of what the word actually means. The example he cites is fighter pilots and tanker pilots; both individuals have very different definitions regarding what it means to be a “pilot.”

Regarding new security technologies for an operation that includes 13 service management centers (EDS leveraged facilities designed to deliver a full portfolio of IT services to multiple clients) and more than 160 regional counterparts located across the globe, Dave holds the view that “data is the business.” He sees the future of security applications as “sensor management” based on the fact that increasing volumes of “data tonnage” makes it impossible to operate effectively. His answer to the business challenge question is straight out of the 9/11 Commission Report: “Connect the dots.”

As for security vendors and integrators, he sees more evidence of the two respective camps (physical and IT) working together. He offers integrators a threefold piece of advice: 1) understand globalization challenges, 2) utilize detailed R.O.I. calculations, and 3) work closely with the IT guys.

As an R.O.I. example he mentions the fact that corporate servers typically utilize less then 50 percent of their data storage, making for an ideal alternative to buying additional DVR or NVR systems. “The R.O.I. sells itself.” The savings realized frees up budget for other security products.

Dave mentions that security managers and executives must, “understand the business issues” and measure results by adding value to business units. This advice also applies to the vendors and integrators that EDS selects. “Understand how we do business, adapt to us (IT infrastructure), and do not try to sell a cookie-cutter approach,” he relates.

Remember, the large IT vendors (and their channel integrators) managing these accounts need physical expertise to increase security revenues. This dual partnering opportunity also includes the international market, which is increasing annual expenditures for security solutions. Partner (share your expertise) and go global!