Aug 7, 2018

What Is a Security Systems Integrator and Why Does Your Business Need One?

What Is a Security Systems Integrator and Why Does Your Business Need One?

Sometimes there’s confusion around what today’s security systems integrator looks like. So, let’s clear it up. A security integrator essentially links various subsystems to provide security throughout your organization. These include physical as well as cyber protections, including access control like doors, locks, gates and others; video surveillance systems; lighting; emergency notification systems; and network security. Most integrators can install hardware, software, networks and hybrid IT solutions, as well as specialized security equipment.

Why Do You Need a Systems Integrator?

Unfortunately, cyber crime is on the rise. Physical violence at the workplace is also a real threat, especially for certain industries. As the cyber and physical continue to converge through the Internet of Things (IoT), the risks grow graver. Power plants and other utilities can be made vulnerable by unsafe software, hospitals’ sensitive patient information can be hacked and used for criminal activities, ransomware is rampant. No one is safe if they’re connected. If you use email, keep any type of digital records, or rely on your network for business, you should be thinking about security.

Fortunately, security systems integrators can help.

What Does a Security Systems Integrator Do?

Security systems integrators secure people, data and property, but their level of service can vary widely. Some deliver “off-the-shelf” solutions and install them for you. Others go beyond this to manage the entire process, starting with a recommended security plan, moving through installation and implementation, testing and finally management and maintenance. This is known as the full lifecycle. These higher qualified providers can custom-build a security plan for you, and will generally follow these steps:

  1. Provide an initial assessment of your security needs
  2. Design a holistic security system to address these needs
  3. Install the software, hardware, networks or other required equipment
  4. Custom create other systems when needed
  5. Provide training to those managing the system on your end
  6. Offer ongoing maintenance, assessments, upgrades and service

Whenever possible, it’s smart to partner with a full-service systems integrator. Since they’re responsible for ongoing maintenance and service, they take ownership of the entire system and have a vested interest in providing excellent services. With one team managing the entire lifecycle of your systems, you’ll also avoid the finger pointing and miscommunication that can plague a team of multiple vendors. Also, a partnership provides valuable continuity throughout the project, so you’ll ensure that your integrator is very familiar with your company’s ongoing needs.

What to Look for In a Systems Integrator

Ask yourself these important questions as you conduct your search:

  • Are they a good cultural fit? Do your priorities align? Are you comfortable with them?
  • How about their services? They may match your objectives now, but what about in the future?
  • Are they in the know? Since threats are proliferating faster than ever, the means to counter them are as well. Find a systems integrator up on the latest systems and ensure they’re vendor agnostic, so they can provide smart and reliable recommendations.
  • Are they experts at efficiency? Bringing multiple systems together means there are opportunities to create higher efficiencies. A security systems integrator can link the lighting with access control, so that when fewer access cards are swiped in one area of a building, the lights can be adjusted accordingly, saving energy and money.
  • Are they IT smart? As the physical world collides with the IT world, it’s critical to have a deep understanding of coding, programming, troubleshooting and ongoing maintenance. The Internet of Things means that everything is now connected so everything is now vulnerable. Are they prepared?
  • Are they third-party verified? Do they have the important certifications? SSAE16 and ISO-certified data centers help you achieve compliance for HIPAA, SOX, and PCI DSS.
  • Do their employees have certifications? Certifications show dedication to excellence.
  • How trustworthy are their employees? What types of screening do they do?
  • What are their manufacturer relationships? Providers with strong partnerships can resolve issues faster. Check their partner status, certifications and direct access to manufacturers’ L3 engineers.
  • How secure is their datacenter? Do they have biometric authentication, 24/7 in-person and video monitoring, and user records? How about full redundancy and disaster recovery systems?
  • How do they manage their daily relationships? Do they have a portal for daily security updates, service level reports, and troubleshooting requests, as well as communication hubs for feedback and best practices?

There are many security systems integrators out there. Take your time finding the one that works best for you. Ponemon Institute tells us that in 2017 an average data breach cost $3.5 million, and there’s a 27% chance a U.S. company will experience a breach in the next 24 months. The cost will be between $1.1M and $3.8M per incident.

Your security is worth it. We’d be happy to talk with you when you’re ready. We’re the largest independent security integrator in the DC region, with a rapidly expanding presence in the mid-Atlantic area. For over 20 years, we’ve combined IT and physical security to keep your people, property, and data safe. See how we can help you secure your enterprise.