Converged Security: The Centre of Attention

In today’s high-risk and high-threat environment, there’s a very real and immediate need for a converged security approach that actively unifies the monitoring of both physical and cyber security events through a single platform. Here, James Willison and Sarb Sembhi outline in detail what’s in store for visitors to the Converged Security Centre at IFSEC International 2019.

While some organisations choose to develop Security Control Rooms focused specifically on physical security and Network Operations Centres targeting cyber security, others are building Converged Security Centres orchestrated to provide a unified approach towards all security risks, in turn giving operators the ability to identify cyber-physical attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) systems and devices in near real-time.

These Converged Security Centres use a single platform to bring many systems together such that the security team can prioritise critical risks quickly and respond appropriately. Teams can communicate more effectively as they share the same technologies and determine how the risk is managed. This might mean investigating an identified threat on social media that has a direct impact on the safety of a building’s systems or preventing fraud through robust physical-logical access control and the automated lock-out of an account attacked by anomalous behaviour.

For the last decade, we’ve actively promoted cross-functional teaming and collaboration between the physical and cyber security arenas. In June 2017, Gerry Dunphy (strategy director for security and fire at IFSEC International) shared with us his vision for a new feature at the annual London show. We were delighted to note that his own thoughts were very much in tune with what we had been recommending to organisations.

What we agreed should fill the gap other shows didn’t appear to be bridging was to make IFSEC International even more visual and a far more immersive experience such that visitors could see something like a cyber attack on a CCTV system actually taking place. We knew that a few leading organisations and Governments had the capability to do just that, but it wasn’t/isn’t something familiar to most.

We were then subsequently delighted to gain the interest of Vidsys. In the last couple of years, the company has formed partnerships with Micro Focus and others which enable the business to provide a converged technological response to the cyber and physical incidents confronting today’s security teams. Indeed, we’ve been working closely with Vidsys and the team at UBM since last September to develop the newly expanded Converged Security Centre as you will see it at ExCeL this month.

From comprehensive event security management through to converged cyber security solutions and on again to advanced critical infrastructure protection, the Converged Security Centre (located at Stand IF820) will have something for everyone. Visitors will bear witness to much converged technology using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the latest cyber security solutions.

In addition, leading physical and cyber security professionals will give their independent analyses such that security and risk specialists in attendance will have an idea of what a Converged Security Centre might look like in practice and can then fully understand how to protect their host organisation from complex attacks going forward.

Converged education

James Willison BA MA MSyI: Founder of Unified Security

James Willison BA MA MSyI: Founder of Unified Security

On each day of IFSEC International 2019 we will chair sessions on three different topics, with each of those sessions lasting around 45 minutes. We’ll introduce the concept of converged security as well as the teams from Vidsys, Micro Focus and Axis Communications.

From Vidsys, we’ll be welcoming Phil Stockham (vice-president of operations for EMEA) and Kris Heath (global solutions architect for product management). Micro Focus is to be represented by David Humphrey (CTO responsible for rich media). The Axis Communications team comprises Daren Lang (regional manager for business development across Northern Europe), Steven Kenny (industry liaison for architecture and engineering) and John Allen (business development manager for access control, again across Northern Europe).

These professionals will present a variety of scenarios on two 75-inch screens and show how combined security technologies identify incidents and automate a fast response. By leveraging disparate sources of data, organisations can manage a situation in real-time without having to go to multiple individual sub-systems in order to ‘get the job done’.

There will be much informed discussion around the concept, reality and evolution of having both physical and cyber security teams managing and collaborating in the same Security Operations Centre, with Micro Focus’ IDOL providing the AI capability to make sense of all the volumes of data.

The technological advancements in Converged Security and Information Management (CSIM) mean that Vidsys readily connects an organisation’s vital security systems, such as IT security information and event management (SIEM), video surveillance and management systems, security analysis, investigative tools and reporting platforms, in turn allowing operators to base their decisions on an holistic view of the entire ecosystem. The software alerts operators of potential security risks to the host company’s IT infrastructure, buildings, assets and/or employees.

Together, Vidsys and Micro Focus’ IDOL enable the real-time processing of data (eg video, images, audio, text, logs and transactions) that’s diverse in format and in origin (eg CCTV corporate databases, e-mail, sensors, social media and broadcast media), as well as automated analysis to identify issues or potential threats, streamlined workflow for alerts and responses and, last but by no means least, open standards connectivity to third party systems for easy integration.

Smarter and safer

Axis Communications will demonstrate how cyber secure CCTV solutions can integrate with the Vidsys platform such that physical and IoT systems are protected.

The company stated: “We’re pleased to be participating in the Converged Security Centre. As the premier event for the physical security industry, it’s vital that IFSEC educates its visitors on the threat posed by cyber security and the urgent requirement for physical security and information security to converge. The issues surrounding converged security are critical in terms of helping to ensure that the security industry works together to offer the smartest and safest future possible.”

Our fourth partner, Ipsotek, specialises in scenario-based video analytics. Its patented approach allows multiple behaviour descriptions to be applied simultaneously or in predefined sequences. Indeed, it’s these scenario combinations that create an exact description of the target behaviour, thereby affording dependable real alerts and dramatically reduced false alarms.

In addition, Salam Technology will join us to share its in-depth insights into how all of these systems can integrate within myriad host organisations’ own business environments.

What’s so good to see is the collaboration across the cyber and physical security space that can be enabled by the technologies on display at IFSEC International. We’ll ask all of the invited guest speakers to comment on what has been shown and conclude each session with all-important Q&A time involving the audience. The Converged Security Centre has space for around 50 attendees. We hope some passers-by will stop and listen in, too. Interested parties are advised to arrive early as there has been a great deal of interest in the Centre on social media, with thousands of views of our Twitter posts.

Sarb Sembhi CISM: CISO at Virtually Informed

Sarb Sembhi CISM: CISO at Virtually Informed

Guest speakers include Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI (director of Perpetuity Research and Consultancy International), Alan Jenkins (head of advisory services at 2|SEC Consulting) and David Clark (CSO and head of logistics at The Francis Crick Institute and also chair of ASIS International’s UK Chapter 208), all of whom will provide highly knowledgeable and practical responses to security convergence based on their own research and experiences.

The first session on Tuesday 18 June focuses on how Converged Security Centres respond in real-time to physical and online threats. One of the scenarios to be presented focuses on a large sporting event. Tweets start pouring in about an upcoming protest at a stadium aimed at disrupting the event at a certain time. Some protestors threaten to march inside and attempt to halt the game. All Tweets are from anonymous sources whose identities cannot be confirmed. Vidsys’ CSIM automatically allows security officers to view live video feeds from stationary cameras, drones and the incoming Tweets all under one common operating picture, monitor the situation and respond swiftly to any developing scenarios.

James Willison BA MA MSyI is Founder of Unified Security. Sarb Sembhi CISM is CISO at Virtually Informed

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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