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Security Installers: bridging the gap between physical and cyber security

The security sector media is frequently awash with a wealth of new security devices, from the latest cameras to biometric access systems.

Physical security has always been important to businesses, as taking care to protect assets is essential to the viability of a company.  Alarm installers have been there to meet this need and have been the ones to keep businesses up to date with the latest systems, with the implementation of these systems remaining dependent on how much a customer wishes to invest in protecting those assets.

Technology in this sector moves as fast as – and can be as disruptive as – in any other sector.

The first hurdle traditional installers may have had to jump in recent times was the move from analogue to digital, although analogue still has its place for some services such as fire alarms, where there is no compelling reason to upgrade at present (not until Openreach switches off analogue phone lines in 2025).

The next hurdle is the configuration of sophisticated digital devices. The level of detail which can now be transmitted by digital security cameras is very useful when it comes to identifying intruders and prosecuting burglary, but there is another kind of intruder who has alarm installers themselves in their sights.

If an alarm installer fails to configure a digital security camera with stringent cybersecurity in mind, it could expose the customer to more risk than having no device at all.  A camera accessed across the internet can potentially be remotely controlled by a criminal and could be used for preparation prior to a break in.  If the camera is monitoring a cash office, then the safe code could be compromised; if staff members are in uniform or there is information available to identify the location, a heist could be planned and there could be opportunities for blackmail.  In a less sensational way, but with just as much harm being done, a hijacked camera could become part of a “botnet” for hire and used to carry out a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on national infrastructure. All of this could be down to an installer failing to change the default password.

Alarm installers are hence forced to enter the world of IT and bridge the gap between physical and cyber security. GDPR is now another factor, as customers have heightened concern about the transmission and storage of their CCTV images and need reassurance.

There are solutions and companies out there to support installers.

One such service is ProtectNet from Beaming, which Corps Monitoring offers to clients who require their end to end managed service. Time is precious when you have regular maintenance visits to make, so this service provides pre-configured devices which can simply be plugged in and tested via Corps Monitoring’s Alarm Receiving Centre, all in a matter of minutes.

Using ProtectNet means that the device is not visible on the public internet and therefore safe from being compromised by a cyber criminal.  The alarm installer can reassure their customer that the data is being securely transmitted from the site, meeting the requirements of GDPR.

Joining up to this service is more than taking advantage of a product. It means that the alarm installer has an expert team behind them, and can rest assured that they are protecting themselves with the same level of safety they offer to their own customers.

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