As we wind down 2019 and look forward to a new decade, it is time to reflect upon the year and the megatrends that have started to influence video surveillance and the physical security industry. End users are planning for 2020 and falling into the December business lull. Reports are being pulled, the last dollars of budget are scrambling to be spent and all the new product ideas you have gently put into your customer’s head are waiting to see the light of day at budget planning meetings
As the end-users plan for 2020, it makes sense to understand and be ready for the questions and concerns that will arise in customer board meetings. What should we spend our budget in 2020? What is the next big thing that will help push the company to the next level? And, most importantly, what portion of the budget does my department have in 2020?
Throughout 2019 my conversations with customers have consistently involved several themes and trends that I expect to have a significant impact in 2020 physical security deployments.
Cybersecurity for IoT
Much has been written about cybersecurity. The Security Industry Association identified cybersecurity and its impact on our industry as the number one megatrend in 2019. Expect this trend to continue in 2020.
Threat actors continue to target IoT devices in enterprises to attack business infrastructure. Mirai groups are targeting business IoT devices and more than 30 percent of Mirai denial-of-service attacks are going after enterprise IoT devices.
The threats continue to evolve so it is not surprising that both IT and physical security integrators continue to struggle to keep up with best practices and the challenge to hire the right people in a very competitive labor market for technical skills. Many integrators simply ignore the topic because they do not know how to talk about it.
Automated cybersecurity tools are the answer. These emerging tools can deploy best practices for IoT hardening without requiring significant expertise. Such tools can provide a complete inventory of assets, secure the assets and then monitor for compliance. Reports to the end-user provide assurance.
Integrators who adopt hardening tools as part of their standard practices will be able to put their customers at ease and ensure that systems are secured from the “asbuild” implementation and throughout the life cycle of the system.
Device Monitoring and Assurance Services
The proliferation of IP cameras and other IoT devices for security applications has generated demand for assurance services that can track physical security assets, monitor their performance and provide lifecycle management. These services can be implemented with software platforms that provide remote connectivity for realtime monitoring and management.
Defend against attacks on network appliances
Security professionals get the benefit of assuring system compliance with security protocols, ensuring system performance and uptime while reducing maintenance costs. These services provide an RMR service opportunity for resellers to remotely monitor end-user installations and reduce costly truck rolls by remotely detecting and proactively troubleshooting issues.
The government has taken actions that have significantly disrupted supply chains for physical security products. The most visible action was the McCain National Defense Authorization Act that prohibits the purchase of Chinese cameras by the government. In addition to prohibiting camera purchases, this new law prohibits the use of electronic components from specific Chinese companies. A growing number of commercial buyers have taken note and are applying similar restrictions on their purchasing, requiring suppliers to provide written statements of compliance with the McCain Act.
Separately, the ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China have resulted in tariffs that are creating widespread cost impacts on the industry. The supply-chain distribution has impacted the development, manufacturing, and assembly of electronic products. Many finished electronic goods, even those produced outside of China, are likely to include some components that are produced in China and subject to tariffs that increase the cost for consumers.
There is simply a growing awareness of Chinese content in electronic products. In October 2018, Bloomberg published a controversial article (The Big Hack) that alleged Chinese hacking of a popular motherboard design used in servers. The manufacturer (and its major customers) disputed the claim, but the net result was that many IT departments immediately began internal audits looking for these server products with some companies banning them from their networks.
These events are having an impact not only on government purchases but are trickling into commercial sourcing decisions as many corporations are now carefully specifying what devices are permitted on their networks.
End users are asking for the cloud. CIO’s and CSOs will continue to migrate more “iron” off-premise and look for cloud-based services for video, access control, device management, and monitoring. Similar to the transition from CCTV to IP cameras, the initial barriers of cost, complexity, and connectivity will eventually erode for cloud computing to become common-place in physical security installations.
The tools and services already exist for security integrators to remotely monitor and manage security devices such as cameras, NVRs and access control panels. The access control software can be hosted in the cloud.
Cloud-based video management services are emerging, however, hosting commercial surveillance video remains a challenge to scale due to upstream bandwidth and the large storage requirements. Video privacy also remains a concern. In the near term, most video storage architectures will likely remain on the premise, with emerging hybrids of premise storage hardware combined with cloud archiving for event video and analytics.
Cloud-based services offer the advantage of controlled-and -efficient software updates for both application software and device firmware. New features and security updates can be quickly deployed. Integrators can reduce the costs of maintenance and “truck rolls” while enjoying recurring monthly revenue.
So, get ready for 2020! Cybersecurity, China, cloud and the opportunity to remotely manage and service your security systems will be themes that continue to influence how we design, deploy and manage security solutions as we enter a new decade.