For today’s security systems integrators who are tasked with helping end-users protect our nation’s critical infrastructure, you’re no doubt aware of the massive, complex responsibility at hand. Even a small security breach can create a ripple effect that has a lasting, downward impact on economic stability; local, regional or national prosperity; and national security.

Protecting critical infrastructure and large organizations — including their people — is a monumental undertaking that requires sophisticated, integrated security solutions to help mitigate vulnerabilities, comply with government regulations, and ultimately enhance business performance.

Traditional security systems are inefficient and in many cases, not effective. Maintaining a traditional security system often involves managing multiple disparate, potentially outdated systems built with products and software from a variety of manufacturers. The result is a “silo effect”: access control, video surveillance and intrusion detection systems that can’t communicate with each other or provide a single view of the facility’s security situation. At best, these systems can only be described as reactive in nature to any known threat.

For larger operations, protecting people, property, assets and infrastructure becomes increasingly difficult, particularly in an economy that’s putting downward pressure on security budgets and forcing companies to do more with less, or to “make do” with existing systems. Today’s security landscape also includes such regulatory bodies as the FAA, DHS and TSA, in addition to CFATS, HSPD-12, TWIC and CCSP regulations. Unfortunately, most of the mandates that our customers are forced to deal with today are unfunded, requiring the customer to cut corners on his security program in order to stay within a reduced security budget.

Security teams often find that wasted time, increased costs and the erosion of physical security are the net outcomes of maintaining a traditional security system. Worse still, with this type of security system, the facility’s security team has no real situational awareness; so if an incident occurs, their ability to deploy appropriate resources to address the threat is impeded. Business continuity, disaster recovery and incident cost are very real concerns, not to mention the consequences that arise from a lack of regulatory compliance.

Integrated security solutions can help mitigate risk and achieve business objectives. Integration can have a transformative effect on physical security and business performance by strategically consolidating multiple systems into a single command-and-control platform. Critical infrastructure and large end-users have more complex security needs than others, often driven by government mandates and regulations. As such, these types of end-users require fully customized solutions, single-source efficiency and business process improvement.

While complying with federal regulations is mandatory, capital expenditures for physical security systems are still business decisions with a real impact on profitability. The key to partnering with these end-users is demonstrating how an integrated security solution can optimize business performance, improve the security and IT departments’ efficiency and productivity, and benefit the entire organization — while protecting the facility’s people and assets.

In order to partner with critical infrastructure end-users, systems integrators must be capable of delivering solutions that truly and effectively integrate security, communication and business systems under one management application. Facilities of this magnitude and of national importance must rely on integrators that can provide improved security response procedures and processes, financial benefits, and more effective and efficient management of day-to-day operations. Such complex, sophisticated security and business systems integration requires the following integrator capabilities:

  • Experienced workforce with industry certifications (e.g. PSP, CPP), particularly qualified in large, intelligent and multi-layered security solutions;
  • Vertical market expertise to fully understand and apply the industry-relevant nuances and government regulations to integrated security solutions;
  • Commitment to broadening the product and solution portfolio through investments in research and development;
  • Sufficient operational resources to support mission-critical, large-scale business environments, and to provide financing options for customers who must comply with unfunded government mandates;
  • The ability to offer technologies that shift budget considerations from a capital expense to an operational expense; and
  • The ability to offer creative financing options.

For critical infrastructure and other end-users who require complex security solutions, the integrator partner must fully understand the marketplace, government regulations, security risk profile, and business objectives to design and build a strategic, integrated security solution. With careful consideration, the decision to implement an integrated security solution can create business process efficiencies while enhancing physical security and compliance efforts.