Why Convergence Matters

When security is your concern, you need to consider all threat vectors

If you're wondering why convergence needs to be taken seriously, Pierre Bourgeix, president of ESIConvergent, who works as a consultant on smart cities and smart buildings projects (topics he'll be speaking about at this year's SIA Education@ISC West conference program), has an answer. "The world isn't going to be converged," he says. "It's already converged." It means more threats, more breaches, and more technology to contend with to protect assets and people. Holistic security requires the coordination of physical security, information technology and operational technology.

Historically, they haven't traditionally played well together. Physical security often operates in a silo, says Terry Gold, founder of D6 Research. One reason is that physical security usually comes out of facility management and real estate, with a focus on protecting people and physical assets. Many of the industry professionals come from a law enforcement background. In addition, they have opposing approaches; Physical tends to be anecdotal, and IT more rigid. A common vulnerability, for example, is that physical security will issue access credentials without getting IT involved.

That approach can't work, Bourgeix says. There's too much data to track, analyze, and understand, requiring professionals with specific training and expertise. Security problems are too complex to be isolated to one area. One common misconception is that hackers aren't interested in physical security, but the fact is that hackers will attack one target to leverage another, Gold says. As an example, Bourgeix adds that a blackout in a company's parking garage could be benign or it could be tied to a larger threat, but that can't be known without coordinated information.  

ISCWest Convergence Show Floor

Why Attend ISC West This Year?

Cyber security and the impact on physical security is not a new issue. What's new is that people now acknowledge that it's real, and urgent, Gold says. And related to hackers, the first lesson in security is: things are always evolving and shifting. Education and diligence can never stop in this ever-changing environment. Two years ago, not many people cared about mobile security. Last year, people became more interested. "This year, it's happening," says Gold.

Connected with that is the growing interest in how to utilize artificial intelligence technology. The challenge when you leverage AI is that you need to collect data, which needs to be protected, integrated, and has to comply with privacy laws—and everything has to align with corporate policy. That doesn't magically happen. "You need to collaborate and converge with cyber security," Gold says.

It all comes back to education. Bourgeix calls ISC West "a test bed" for learning about products, and strategies - from sensors to robotics to intelligent drones. The event also offers company executives and security professionals an opportunity to interact with their peers. There's the chance to hear point-counterpoint arguments during speeches, panel discussions, at exhibitor's booths and while socializing after the official program is over—more than you'll ever get from picking up your phone at the office. As Gold notes, "You're immersed and you know what to consider and go back with."

ISCWest Convergence Exhibitors

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