Tag Archives: Information Technology

Vanderbilt builds on security market success with duo of senior management appointments

Vanderbilt International, the state-of-the-art security systems developer, has strengthened its senior management team with two key appointments. Peter Mueller has joined the company as its new Chief Information Officer (CIO) and executive committee member, while Rickard Hammarberg will take on the role of sales hub head for Sweden.

Mueller’s impressive career spans over 30 years in business, where he was a management consultant for international blue chip companies including Deloitte, Arthur D Little and IBM. A graduate of the University of Münster, for the last seven years he has served as Professor in MBA Programs at the Ho Chi Minh University of Technology and Adjunct Professor at Beijing Normal University as well as being a visiting Professor at universities throughout India.

Mueller will now facilitate a strong alignment with Vanderbilt’s Information Technology, business and management functions.

Commenting on his new role, Mueller told Risk UK: “As CIO, I’m looking forward to identifying areas where we can use technology to make our overall operation more efficient and cost-effective and improve the service we offer to our ever-growing customer base. This will ensure that we maximise our competitive potential in what is a highly competitive market, while at the same time delivering value and adapting to changing working practices such as remote working.”

Peter Mueller

Peter Mueller

For his part, Rickard Hammarberg brings a wealth of experience to Vanderbilt gained over 20 years of working in the security industry, during which time he has amassed considerable knowledge about the technology and trends within the CCTV and access control sectors.

His previous positions include a variety of national and international roles, among them a two-year stint in the UK as team leader at Bewator. Hammarberg’s most recent position was regional sales manager for the Nordics at Lenel Systems International. He has also worked for BIAB Larm and YIT Sweden.

Hammarberg is now tasked with increasing the company’s profile in Sweden and the wider Nordic region, as well as setting the strategic business plan and sales strategy to build the brand and develop long-term relationships with its customers.

He commented: “I’m convinced that Vanderbilt’s ranges of access control, intrusion alarm and video surveillance products offer unrivalled levels of performance, flexibility and user-friendliness. This all makes them perfect for the Swedish market, and I’m now looking forward to playing my part in the company’s growth strategy and taking myself and my team to new levels of success.”

Welcoming Mueller and Hammarberg on board, Joseph Grillo (Vanderbilt’s managing director) stated: “Since acquiring Security Products from Siemens in April 2015, Vanderbilt has reinforced its position as a global leader in state-of-the-art security systems. Having Peter and Rickard on our senior management team will really help us in our mission to expand our presence in the security business sector and provide a level of service that’s agile, flexible and always meets our customers’ needs.”

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True financial cost of IT failures to businesses revealed in KPMG report

A new report by KPMG, entitled: ‘The Technology Risk Radar’, tracks the major technology incidents faced by businesses and public sector bodies and reveals the cost of IT failures over the last 12 months.

Organisations are struggling to stay on top of costly technology risks. The report finds that, on average, employers had to pay an unplanned £410,000 for each technology-related problem they faced. The report also reveals that an average of 776,000 individuals have been affected – and around 4 million bank and credit card accounts compromised – by each IT failure.

Incidents caused by ‘avoidable’ problems such as software coding errors or failed IT changes accounted for over 50% of the IT incidents reported over the past year. Of these, 7.3% of reported events were the fault of human error – a figure which shows that basic investments in training are being ignored at the employers’ cost.

Further, while data loss-related incidents continued to be a major problem for all industries, a significant number of those (16%) were unintentional.

‘The Technology Risk Radar’ reveals that customer-facing organisations are quickly realising the true cost of systems failures if they’re left unchecked. For instance, a utility company faced a £10 million fine when technical glitches during the transfer to a new billing system meant customers did not receive bills for months and were then sent inaccurate payment demands or refused prompt refunds when errors were eventually acknowledged.

Organisations are struggling to stay on top of costly technology risks

Organisations are struggling to stay on top of costly technology risks

Detrimental to business relationships

Commenting on the findings of ‘The Technology Risk Radar’ report, Jon Dowie – partner in KPMG’s Technology Risk practice – said: “Technology is no longer a function within a business which operates largely in isolation. Rather, it’s at the heart of everything a company does. When it goes wrong, it affects an organisation’s bottom line, its relationship with customers and its wider reputation.”

Dowie added: “Investment in technology will continue to rise as businesses embrace digital and other opportunities, but this needs to be matched by investments in assessing, managing and monitoring the associated risks. At a time when even our regulators have shown themselves to be vulnerable to technology risk, absolutely no-one can afford to be complacent.”

With financial services under enormous pressure to maintain highly secure technology infrastructure, KPMG predicts IT complexity will continue to be the single biggest risk to financial services organisations in the coming year. This is closely followed by ineffective governance, risk and non-compliance with regulations. Security risks – such as cyber crime and unauthorised access – are rated fifth.

Dowie concluded: “With ever greater complexity in IT systems, not to mention the challenge of implementing IT transformational change, companies are running to stand still in managing their IT risks. The cost of failure is all too clear. It’s crucial for both public and private sector organisations to understand the risks associated with IT and how they can be managed, mitigated and avoided.”

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UK businesses “sleepwalking” into reputational time bomb

According to research conducted by BSI, the business standards company, UK businesses are at risk of sleepwalking into a reputational time bomb due to a lack of awareness on how to protect their data assets. As cyber hackers become more complex and sophisticated in their methods, UK organisations are being urged to strengthen their security systems in order to protect both themselves and consumers.

The BSI survey of IT decision-makers1 finds that cyber security is a growing concern, with over half (56%) of UK businesses being more concerned about this issue than was the case 12 months ago. Seven-in-10 (70%) attribute this to hackers becoming more skilled and better at targeting businesses.

However, while the majority (98%) of organisations have taken steps to minimise risks to their information security, only 12% are extremely confident about the security measures they have in place to defend against these attacks.

Worryingly, IT directors appear to have accepted the risks posed to their information security, with nine-in-10 (91%) admitting their organisation has been the victim of a cyber attack at some point. Around half have experienced an attempted hack and/or suffered from malware (49% in both instances). Around four-in-ten (42%) have experienced the installation of unauthorised software by trusted insiders, while nearly one third (30%) report having suffered from a loss of confidential information.

Managing risks: key to protecting data assets

Despite confidence in the security measures they have in place, three-in-five (60%) of those organisations surveyed have not provided staff with information security training. Over a third (37%) haven’t installed anti-virus software and only just under half (49%) monitor their user’s access to applications, computers and software.

Conversely, organisations that have implemented ISO 27001 – the international Information Security Management System Standard – are more conscious about potential cyber attacks than those who haven’t (56% versus 12%). As such, 52% of organisations with ISO 27001 already implemented are extremely confident about their level of resilience against the latest methods of cyber hacking.

Maureen Sumner Smith: UK managing director at BSI

Maureen Sumner Smith: UK managing director at BSI

“The research reveals that businesses who can identify threats are more aware of them,” said Mike Edwards, information security specialist and tutor at BSI. “Our experience confirms this. We know that organisations with ISO 27001 in place can better identify the threats and vulnerabilities posed to their information security and put in place appropriate controls designed to manage and mitigate risk.”

Consumers looking to organisations that go ‘above and beyond’

As consumers are now spending more and more of their time and money online, so their vulnerability to cyber attacks is increasing. A recent survey2 showed that nearly half of consumers questioned had suffered from a cyber attack/crime event, yet only 4% have stopped using online services to reduce the risks.

Consumers are looking to companies for protection, who in turn need to safeguard themselves and their customers’ data. However, there’s an inherent lack of trust from consumers on how their data is handled by organisations, with one third of those questioned admitting they don’t trust organisations with their data.

On the other hand, there’s a level of acceptance that nothing online will ever be wholly safe, leading to a false sense of security that: ‘This will not happen to me’ among those who have not suffered from a cyber attack/crime.

Maureen Sumner Smith, UK managing director at BSI, explained: “Consumers want their information to be confidential and not shared or sold. Those who want to be reassured that their data is safe and secure are looking to organisations willing to go the extra mile to protect and look after their data.”

Sumner Smith continued: “Best Practice security frameworks, such as ISO 27001 and easily recognisable consumer icons like the BSI Kitemark for Secure Digital Transactions can help organisations benefit from increased sales, fewer security breaches and protected reputations. Our research shows that the onus is very much on businesses to wake up and take responsibility if they want to continue to be profitable and protect their brand reputations.”

1Research interviews conducted with 200 IT decision-makers in UK businesses employing between 250 and 1,000 members of staff. Interviews carried out in October 2014 by Vanson Bourne
2Consumer research involving 1,589 UK adults. Conducted in September 2014 by Opinion Matters

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CrowdControlHQ: “IT directors ignore social media risks at their peril”

Marc Harris (Chief Technical Officer at CrowdControlHQ) examines the issues facing IT directors from the use of social media.

Many IT directors operate their own personal Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. However, when it comes to corporate social media they pass responsibility for management of same to the Marketing Department. Are they doing so at their peril?

Let me start with the elephant in the room, namely the role of the IT director. After an extensive IT career in the media, telecommunication and technology sectors recent experience has led me to conclude that social media needs to be firmly at the top of the priority list of every IT director.

In my current role, I see at first hand the impact of reputational damage realised by both internal and external sources through the use of social media, and find it surprising how few IT directors are willing to discuss the issues or attend conferences on the subject. Perhaps they feel an unwelcome interference or ‘elbowed out’ by this new communication channel which has evolved extensively under the umbrella of marketing?

In future, the organisations succeeding in the social media space will have Marketing and IT Departments working seamlessly together to tackle the issues. The ‘DNA’ of IT makes it the most qualified department to deal with some of the risk issues that surround social media, so why isn’t it more involved?

Today, social media is being used in every aspect of business, from the Boardroom right through to the delivery of customer service. By its very nature, social media is a collective responsibility. Not surprisingly, its reliance on ‘collaboration’ has in some instances manifested itself as ‘sharing’ responsibility for posting of content… and even the sharing of passwords!

New rules now apply

I once overheard a social media officer quite gleefully boasting the fact that they had the Twitter login to hand for their company chairman. When challenged, the officer admitted that he was ‘The Chosen One’. If he was off sick that was it – no tweets or updates! Worse still, if he left the organisation he had the power to bring the place down tweet by tweet.

This is the stuff that would have kept me awake at night as an IT director, yet in a world powered by social engagement new rules seem to apply.

Marc Harris: CTO at CrowdControlHQ

Marc Harris: CTO at CrowdControlHQ

Recent research also reported that a scarily large number of employees still use the dreaded Post-It note to record their login usernames and passwords, stuck to walls, desks and even the computer screen. Apparently, we’re not coping well with the need to access everything online from social media to our weekly shop and fear our mobile devices could be pinched. We’re reverting to pen and paper, it seems.

This practice can only end in tears. There have now been too many examples of ‘rogue’ tweets, no audit trail of who posted them (or why) and organisations – who, frankly, should have known better – being left rosy cheeked, so why is this practice still so rife?

Why would an employee, with their job on the line, ‘fess up’ when they know that at least 15 other people had access to the account that day?

I also believe that few IT Departments have a handle on the number of users across their ‘official’ social media accounts, let alone a log of which password protocol they are using, how they are accessing the site or posting.

Need to look both ways

We cannot just blame the employees. Even organisations with the most robust and celebrated IT protocols let themselves down when it comes to simple issues such as data storage. I suspect very few IT directors are crystal clear about where their marketing communications teams are storing their social media campaigns, let alone harbour an understanding of the conversations from the past that they may need to reference in the future or where they keep their notes about their customers linked to these campaigns.

I would hazard a guess that many IT Departments are breaking their own compliance and governance issues when it comes to social media.

Today, there’s no need to share passwords. The social media ‘savvy’ have cottoned on to tiered password access, with both the IT and Marketing Departments having an ‘on/off’ switch to give them instant control in times of crisis. If IT is involved in the installation of a Social Media Management Solution (SMMS) they can see exactly who is plugged into the system, where accountability lies and who they need to train and develop to uphold the security protocols needed in order to keep an organisation’s reputation intact.

Within the scope of most IT budgets a SMMS will be a drop in the ocean but will address these major issues. Any smart IT director will already be looking at a SMMS if there isn’t already one in place. Such a system gives control back to the organisation. All passwords are held in one place such that accounts are not owned by individuals but by the company. The right system gives an organisation the ability to moderate content at a senior level. In turn, the risk of misuse or mistakes can be eradicated.

A SMMS also takes care of the practical management issues. I fear that some organisations are taking a step backwards in terms of their technological evolution, reverting to time-wasting, ineffective manual processing of social media (eg multiple logins to different social media platforms rather than using readily available tools for automation and effectiveness).

The message is clear. IT directors ignore social media at their peril. When it comes to corporate social engagement, it’s time for them to wake up, check and challenge.

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Poor power quality: don’t take the risk

All types of irregularity in the electricity supply have the potential to impact a given business through its effects on IT infrastructure. In turn, this places both the company’s revenue and reputation at risk. Power supply conditioning is the answer for end users, as Rob Morris explains.

At some point in time most of us have experienced a computer ‘playing up’. Maybe the file we want to access is determined not to open. Perhaps a specific document isn’t printing or the computer’s simply running a lot slower than normal.

Computers in public places – for example card readers and those underpinning supermarket checkouts – can also ‘act up’. Many people will have had a bank card rejected even if they were in the black, or they might have watched the shop assistant wave a product over the scanner without it being added to the transaction.

Not only is this a source of annoyance for the consumer, but it can also be embarrassing as well. Will the customer who has been embarrassed want to return to the store in question and risk a repeat performance? Let’s not forget, either, the resultant frustration experienced by customers who had to wait in the queue behind.

What many retailers fail to realise is that this isn’t just a case of the till or Chip and PIN machine malfunctioning. It could actually be due to the electricity coming through the line. The power emanating from the grid may have been reliable enough for computers and other electronics in the past but, as equipment such as this becomes more sophisticated, it also becomes more sensitive to variations in the power supply.

All types of irregularity in the electricity supply have the potential to impact a given business through its effects on IT infrastructure

All types of irregularity in the electricity supply have the potential to impact a given business through its effects on IT infrastructure

Poor quality power can be something as big as a power cut or something entirely unnoticeable (such as a small surge or ‘spike’). Either way, all types of irregularity in the electricity supply have the potential to impact a given business through its effects on IT infrastructure. In turn, this places both the company’s revenue and reputation at risk.

What is poor power quality?

The electricity that comes from the grid isn’t always reliable. Sometimes this can be obvious, for example during a power cut. However, such events are rare. Smaller variations are much more common. Some of these variations – the power surges that blow fuses and dips that cause the lights to flicker – are less visible. Often, though, the problems caused by poor power quality are seemingly invisible.

Tiny variations in electricity can cause IT systems to be disturbed but rarely are the problems attributed to power quality. In a restaurant, for example, food orders may be lost or incorrect. If situations like this happen regularly, it might be easy to blame the Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) system.

Not only is the power that comes from the grid unreliable, but disruption can also result from equipment already inside the building. In a restaurant, it could be caused by the flash freezers. In a supermarket, cardboard crushers may bring about variations in the power. Even a printer can send tiny surges through the power lines which serve to wear away components in other electricals.

Poor power quality manifests itself in three ways commonly known as ‘The 3 Ds’ of power quality:

While big surges blowing up circuits might seem like something from a cartoon, there’s a distinct possibility of this occurring in real life. When a fuse blows, it’s because the electricity flowing through it generated enough heat to melt it. The design aims to protect vital equipment from power surges but it’s often the case that damage has already been done before the fuse melts.

Retailers don’t need to risk their reputation with poor power quality. Some have already seen the benefits of back-up power supplies and surge diverters

Retailers don’t need to risk their reputation with poor power quality. Some have already seen the benefits of back-up power supplies and surge diverters

Smaller spikes don’t create the same instant damage associated with a big surge. Instead, they slowly erode internal components over time. It’s a process that eventually leads to complete failure of the component or the device.

Computers try to interpret these tiny variations as genuine instructions that may have originated from the user. The computer then makes incorrect decisions, perhaps in terms of which items should be added to an order. It might appear to be a bug but no bug will be found. The users might ignore these symptoms once they temporarily disappear.

Poor power quality: its effect on IT systems

It’s clear that if there is a power cut, the tills and card readers will not work. The automatic doors to a store will not open. While wreaking havoc with the system, less visible variations may damage any electrical equipment on a gradual basis. Small electricity spikes can wear away the components inside the system over time, eventually leading to their ultimate failure.

In the case of tills in restaurants, they will mistake these small spikes as genuine orders that the server has orchestrated or try to interpret the spikes before discarding them. Not only can this lead to incorrect transactions, but it also makes the EPoS system work harder than is necessary and may result in system overheating. Like a laptop that cuts out when it overheats, overworked electrical systems can fail instantly.

This overworking also shortens the lifetime of the equipment and increases the cost to the user.

What amplifies the situation is that the busier the retail outlet becomes, the harder it is for the electrical system to work correctly. It places greater pressure on the equipment, in turn creating further problems.

It may not be obvious but events such as the live broadcast of Barclays Premier League matches in pub-restaurant chains can affect the quality of power each outlet receives. If you’ve ever noticed your lights flicker after a critical episode of your favourite soap, this is down to lots of people drawing on electricity by flicking on the kettle or flushing the toilet. This causes a dip in the electricity received by your home. To cater for this increased demand, National Grid generates additional electricity, sending a surge through power lines.

This flux in electricity can happen on a local scale. During half-time of a football match, fans making a rush for the bar can cause similar power issues. Opening fridges, using tills and card readers all require electricity. These dips and surges cause the IT system to act up, and the increased pressure on the system then amplifies the problem. For a pub-restaurant that’s expecting a football match to bring in a lot of revenue, the ‘power problem’ places immediate revenues at risk in tandem with future revenues if reputational damage comes into play.

Power conditioning: why it’s important

Retailers don’t need to risk their reputation with poor power quality. Some have already seen the benefits of back-up power supplies and surge diverters. These alone, however, are not enough. To fully protect the business, managers ought to control the power scenario with the aid of power conditioning.

Put simply, businesses risk their revenue, equipment and reputation by not appreciating the damage poor power quality might realise

Put simply, businesses risk their revenue, equipment and reputation by not appreciating the damage poor power quality might realise

At the very least, power conditioning should include the following key elements:
• Surge diverter to direct large surges away from the system
• Noise filter to remove small variations (similar to static) from the power
• Voltage regulator which prevents the smaller dips and spikes from reaching vital equipment
• Back-up power in the event of a power cut

RST is one of the largest resellers of EPoS systems in the UK and Ireland, with the company installing and maintaining thousands of units on an annual basis. On occasion, though, customers often found they experienced problems with the EPoS systems, particularly when a given retail outlet was busy.

RST relates the story of one of its customers – a hotel also serving as a venue for large-scale events during the summer. Staff found that their EPoS terminals wouldn’t work properly during these events. From time to time this was something that could have been put down to human error, like an item being incorrectly added to the bill. Often, the cause was more serious.

Food orders were not correctly transmitted to the kitchen, restaurant tabs were not synced with the room bill or the terminals failed completely. Initially, at least, it appeared as though there was a problem with the whole Electronic Point of Sale system.

“The members of staff thought there was a problem with the EPoS equipment,” explained Neil Bradley, RST’s managing director, “but having seen this same situation arise many times over the years, we knew it was the power.”

Understandably, end users are sceptical when told poor power is at the root of their problems. Poor power quality is a problem about which not many individuals are fully aware. Power cuts are visible and recognisable by everyone. Small spikes which erode internal components, though, are a hidden part of the power problem. When equipment does eventually fail, it’s difficult to identify the cause.

As an organisation, RST has now been using power conditioning equipment for over a decade. Witnessing its customers’ problems disappear after power conditioning equipment is installed in EPoS units, the company is totally convinced of ‘the power of power conditioning’. In fact, RST is so convinced that power conditioning will resolve the problems it actually installs the necessary equipment required by end user customers free of charge. Once the customer is also convinced of the benefits, RST would then look to charge for the service.

What effect does power conditioning realise?

As customers of RST have seen, power conditioning equipment can prevent the effects caused by power cuts, surges and dips. Keeping the electrical equipment in working order helps to maintain revenues. By reducing engineer call-outs and the need for replacing broken equipment, power conditioning has the potential to save further costs.

For a typical piece of electrical equipment, the cost of ongoing repairs and maintenance is between 4%-8%. We often find that this drops by up to 88% once the equipment has been protected by power conditioning units. Even more impressively, some power conditioning end users find their return on investment is as high as 1,148%.

Unreliable power might conjure up images of generators in rural areas that provide intermittent power. In reality, the power that comes from the grid is not reliable enough for the equipment we use on an everyday basis. At home, your computer might start to malfunction. It may well be fine after it has been restarted and it’s likely we would forget about the situation. We might work out that the computer ‘goes awry’ every time we print something, but most people would never think the printer sends small power surges through their home capable of damaging the computer.

Electrical equipment is prone to malfunctioning. We could easily find ourselves with warm beer and the wrong food order in a pub restaurant, but rarely does the company’s management recognise that this could be caused by the power. This is partly due to the hidden nature of power problems. A power cut is very obvious. Even large surges might be noticed if they melt a fuse or fry a circuit board.

More often, though, small spikes and dips in the power go unnoticed. Lights might flicker, but the damage done to the internal components of a computer cannot be seen. It’s likely that any damage will only be noticed when the computer starts to act up or fails completely. If this happens in a retail environment, the damage to revenue and reputation may have already been done.

Businesses can protect themselves against the risk to their revenues and reputation by installing power conditioning units. As an end user, RST has already seen the benefits of power conditioning. The organisation’s customers had suffered from unreliable EPoS systems but the problems disappeared once power conditioning units were installed. Importantly, the company is now convinced that poor power quality is something that can be managed effectively.

Power conditioning eliminates the problems caused by poor power quality and can also provide an excellent return on investment.

Put simply, businesses risk their revenue, equipment and reputation by not appreciating the damage poor power quality might realise.

Rob Morris is country manager at Powervar UK

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‘Vortex in my Cortex!’… James Wickes on ‘Security and the Cloud’

The security sector is only just waking up to the idea that many features offered by the cloud extend the capabilities of existing security solutions into new and lucrative markets. So what’s on offer? James Wickes has all the answers.

It’s nigh on two months since the last IFSEC International attendee left the airy corridors of the ExCeL Exhibition and Conference Centre. Show organiser UBM has hailed the event a massive success by every measurement and the security world is now retiring on the beach for its summer holidays.

During the show I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to air a short presentation to IFSEC International’s visitors on the condition that I limited my spiel to the general benefits of cloud technology and didn’t recite a Cloudview propaganda speech. Asking a salesman not to sell? That was the first challenge to be confronted.

The second challenge was somewhat unexpected. When I arrived at the hallowed halls early on the appointed day, I broke into a cold sweat. Every ‘What if?’ scenario I could dream up entered my head, and everything I had meticulously planned to orate for my compliant and grateful audience disappeared into the dark and inaccessible vortex in my cortex that no amount of rolled-up newspaper punching or controlled yoga-style breathing was going to unlock.

Once on the podium, some of my ‘What ifs’ sprang to life. There was the inevitable bloke having a chat on his mobile phone, the microphone didn’t work all of the time and, of course, there was the guy that just wanted to give me a good verbal bashing as I was wrong and he was right.

Too much to try and say

Anyway, I crashed through my Powerpoint deck like someone running across a collapsing bridge, repeating word for word what was on each slide, rendering the whole reason for actually being there in person somewhat pointless. In my 30 years in the IT Industry I’ve had plenty of experience of giving presentations on all sorts of subjects to all sorts of audiences all over the world – so why did I freak out at IFSEC International 2014?

James Wickes: director of Cloudview

James Wickes: director of Cloudview

Put simply, there was just too much to try and say. The PC, Internet and smartphones have enabled mainframe computing resources to be made available to all and sundry and its latest costume is known as ‘the cloud. Yes, it’s powerful. Yes, it’s accessible. Yes, it’s scalable… but it’s certainly not new.

Far from disrupting the security and CCTV world, cloud services are only now just about beginning to make any kind of dent in it. That’s because the security industry is only just waking up to the idea that many features offered by the cloud extend the capabilities of existing security solutions into new and lucrative markets that exist, unclaimed somewhere between itself and the IT industry. And that these can be accessed by using packaged cloud services bolted onto current hardware and software offerings.

These markets are facilitated as much by legislation as they are by technology. Health and Safety and the litigious/insurance culture we’ve all experienced in some way that demand ever larger amounts of CCTV data are securely stored for long periods of time for future reference, and ideally off-site.

Of course, the best way of doing this is through integration with an effective cloud service. For the end user there are many, many features offered by Cloudview (I’m sorry, I’ve said it now) and other cloud service providers that can augment CCTV solutions without compromising security and don’t actually require a degree in astrophysics to implement.

Channels to market

Then there’s the somewhat knotty issue of ‘channels to market’ early VSaaS (Video Surveillance as a Service) providers built their business models around in selling direct. This is fine for Hamstercam.com-type offerings but, for anything more serious, channel partners are essential not just to instigate sales and do the installation work but to specify the correct hardware solutions for the plethora of vertical markets that all require different ways of doing things.

All in all, in my humble opinion the UK security and CCTV industry is on the edge of a vast collective opportunity that can be facilitated by adding cloud services to existing and new customer solutions. It’s happening now and it’s picking up speed. So it’s worth taking a look at what’s available, what’s feasible and how it can be wrapped into existing end user offerings.

Next year, when you’re cutting a stride past Costa early in the morning on your way into IFSEC International and you see in the corner of your eye someone gently rocking back and forth, muttering to themselves and punching a copy of one of that day’s national newspapers please don’t call security. It’ll just be me getting ready for my presentation.

James Wickes is director of Cloudview (UK)

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