Written by Bill Bozeman, President and CEO of PSA Security Network, Robolliance Expert
New technology adoption in any market is tough. Just ask any video surveillance integrator, who was around during the sweeping industry change from analog to digital cameras in the early 2000s. Even the best, most innovative technologies can be hard to swallow for both industry veterans and those whose experience has been that their current solutions work well enough.
PSA Security Network, the world’s largest electronic security cooperative, has been at the forefront of many technological advances in the security market for over forty years. Because our company is owned by the most progressive security integrators throughout North America, it should come as no surprise that our integrator community is often leading the pack when it comes to new technology adoption or business improvement practices. Our mission as a company is to empower our owners to become the most successful systems integrators in the markets they serve. PSA brings this mission to life by not only partnering with industry leading product and solution providers, but also by delivering unparalleled education and training programs that help our integrators stay ahead of the game on emerging topics.
Such was the case in 2014 when I was first introduced to the topic of cybersecurity. By then, everyone had heard about the massive cybersecurity breach at Target and my friend inquired what the security industry was doing about this issue. My response was, “Really, nothing.” Knowing full well that many of the security products being deployed were resting on customer networks on a daily basis, I immediately started taking a pulse on this topic with my other industry cohorts. To my surprise, they simply didn’t find it to be a big issue. This is where the power of the PSA Security Network came into play.
The PSA management team immediately set out to create an awareness-building, educational program for physical security integrators focused on cybersecurity. The inaugural PSA Cybersecurity Congress was held in January 2015 and brought together experts from security, insurance, financial, and consulting firms from across the United States. The goal of the Congress was to have our integrators leave with the knowledge that this was an issue that would impact them at some point, either in their own businesses or at the end user installation level. From there, PSA continued to build upon this program by partnering with leading cybersecurity professionals who deal in cybersecurity and networking issues on a daily basis. We wanted to equip our integrators with the tools and resources they would need to protect their businesses and ensure best practices were being implemented when it comes to hanging IP security devices on a customer’s network. Integrators had to learn how to play offense and defense at the same time – not an easy undertaking.
PSA didn’t quit there. We have demonstrated a long term commitment to cybersecurity awareness and training in the industry as a whole. In 2015, the PSA Cybersecurity Committee was established. The committee is led by PSA integrators and the committee leverages the expertise of IT executives, security consultants and engineers, cybersecurity experts and cyber law professionals. Its charge is to continue to educate the physical security integrator community and develop tangible resources to guide them to better cyber and information management.
Business owners are understandably cautious when it comes to making changes to their business practices or to the products they offer. With any emerging topic or technology, education must always be at the center. People simply will not buy, implement, or trust a product, software or technology that they do not feel knowledgeable about. There have already been rumblings in the industry about how robotics is going to change the security market. Aerial, ground-based, and marine-based robots could very well alter the way that security professionals offer guard or surveillance services in the future. However, the market will not change at the pace that robotics manufacturers would like unless there is a groundswell of knowledge and integrators feel equipped to talk about robotics in a real, approachable manner.
Just as PSA Security Network led the cybersecurity awareness initiative in the physical security market, we intend, again, to be front and center in the robotics discussion. In the coming months, PSA plans to launch its own robotics exploratory committee to begin evaluating the educational needs of the security market. We will determine what information, resources, products and services are needed by integrators who will be first in line to incorporate robotics as part of their offerings. PSA will build on what Robolliance is offering to hardwire educational aspects of the robotics conversation. Similarly to cybersecurity, robotics is a broad topic with many layers and opportunities within it. The charge of PSA is to help integrators be the best at what they do. When it comes to mastering emerging topics in our niche, we have found the very best place to start is with education, which is exactly what we intend to do.