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No matter the size of a modern organization, security often ranks as a top concern, with physical property crime accounting for an estimated $15.8 billion worth of financial losses, and cybersecurity incidents continually on the rise.
Many business leaders and property owners have responded to these issues by investing heavily in advanced security hardware, software and hybrid IT solutions, though for all the benefits that these modern tools can bring, intelligent security systems are only of use when optimized appropriately.
To reliably protect businesses from modern security threats, an interconnected physical and cyber security network must be developed, though the efficacy of these systems will be entirely dependent on how the network is configured. This is where a security integrator is essential to modern business.
What is a security integrator?
A security service integrator is a hired professional whose primary role is to help organizations combine all of their security, property access and general utility systems into one intelligently designed, reliable and interconnected security network.
While a security solution integrator will likely be capable of installing new hardware and software devices, these security professionals differ from access control or commercial security system installers in that their focus will be overseeing the system as a whole. If you want to create a cohesive and fully integrated framework, a security systems integrator is what you’re looking for.
Additionally, a security solutions integrator will be responsible for highlighting and resolving any security risks found across all elements of an interconnected security system, such as potential gaps in cybersecurity measures exposed when IT tools are used to manage and operate physical devices.
The key roles of a security system integrator
With some reports stating that over 60% of modern organizations now operate fully or partially converged physical security and cybersecurity systems, the demand for professional building security systems integrators is only set to rise. But what additional roles can businesses expect security integrators to perform?
Top security system integrators will be responsible for:
- Working with teams to assess unique security needs
- Creating a comprehensive security system based on current requirements
- Professionally installing and integrating all new security equipment
- Customizing and optimizing all site-specific security systems
- Training existing staff how best to operate and manage security systems
- Providing regular maintenance, upgrades and servicing to security equipment
The specific level of support offered by security and information systems integrators will vary depending on the provider chosen, though even the most basic of services will be committed to helping existing staff develop a bespoke security system designed with their unique needs in mind.
The most comprehensive coverage will be provided by a full-service cyber and physical security system integrator, who will be tasked with developing and deploying all security features from conception to completion. This level of service provides business owners with a point of contact throughout the development and installation of the security system, as well as ongoing staff training and maintenance.
Why hire a security systems integrator?
To develop bespoke security systems
To get the most out of integrated security systems, each element of the network must be fully tailored to the specific needs of the business in question. For example, retail stores may have an increased desire for actively monitored retail security camera systems to detect and prevent stock theft, while financial institutions may require more focus on comprehensive cybersecurity measures to protect confidential customer data.
Security and systems integrators are able to take these factors into account when assessing all available security resources in order to optimize wider security systems for maximized utility and efficiency.
By hiring a dedicated solutions integrator, businesses can commission specialized dashboards used to highlight the analytics most relevant to their operations. This is particularly useful for monitoring active data feeds, such as building occupancy levels, to help understand how security features are utilized.
Additionally, solutions and controls integrators can monitor security technology trends to help teams develop real-time alerts linking separate security functions together. This can be used to create actions like automated lockdowns in response to access events or to optimize remote camera monitoring via cloud-based cameras.
To strengthen access control devices
Access control has become an essential consideration for securing modern businesses. When connected and integrated alongside additional security features, these systems can be used to help monitor building access and gain insight into how buildings are used by visitors and staff members.
A security system network integrator can connect access control readers and devices to wider security features and configure these networks to exchange relevant data. This means access points can be used to engage different kinds of security cameras in parking garages, lobbies, office buildings and more. Access control can also be integrated with visitor management system and alarm systems, with convenient features like sending automatic alerts to smart devices.
Access control integrators will work with security teams to create an access control plan template, helping staff to understand how access control hardware and software components are configured to communicate. This can then be used to create further integrations like video monitoring, real-time analytics, delivery management systems and other workplace resources to be activated alongside active access control devices.
A major benefit of integrated access control is the ability to link smart readers, commercial door locks, and heavy-duty security doors to a cloud-based network, allowing for the remote management of these systems, which can also be connected to existing security cameras to present staff with real-time footage of all access events.
To achieve cybersecurity and physical security convergence
Cybersecurity threats are an ever-evolving security consideration, with new vulnerabilities being uncovered on a regular basis, this can lead to organizations inadvertently exposing themselves to new threats during the process of developing interconnected and converged security systems.
Cybersecurity and information integrators can help organizations to safely develop converged security systems by prioritizing protective measures against both known and potential cybersecurity exploits.
During the planning process, cybersecurity integrators will inform business owners of why interconnected systems may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, as well as explain the available options that an information system integrator will have in terms of implementing reliable protective solutions.
Security integrator companies with experienced cybersecurity system integrators can also connect a range of protective devices to the network, such as firewalls designed to block unwanted traffic and DoS attacks, while also providing professional insight into why these devices are beneficial to help business owners better understand cyber security protocols.
To perform professional maintenance and servicing
Comprehensive security dealer and integrator services often offer ongoing service and support alongside the planning and installation of interconnected security systems. These services will usually provide cybersecurity testing, system health monitoring and in-person maintenance to check and upgrade all physical connections and hardware devices installed as part of the security network.
Both nonindustrial and industrial security integrators commonly offer maintenance packages to ensure that all systems remain active and functional for as long as possible. This is particularly beneficial for converged security systems, as treating cybersecurity threats often involves regular system updates.
The way that maintenance functions are handled will depend on the unique way that each security system has been integrated, including the combination of software and hardware that’s been utilized.
For example, when operating via a cloud-based (vs. on-premise security) network all routine updates and maintenance can be performed remotely by information systems integrator, while local network systems operating via on-premises servers will require updates and maintenance to be performed in-person by a network system integrator during a site visit.
To provide ongoing IT and security training
One of the most important services offered by security integration companies is the ongoing training of on-site security and IT teams, as this will ensure that the employees tasked with operating newly installed security systems are appropriately informed of how best to manage and utilize all relevant technologies.
A surveillance systems integrator can show security staff how to access important analytics, data and system information pertaining to newly installed security features. Integrators can also teach staff how to understand and apply these data sets to best optimize and monitor the business surveillance system and interconnected security systems.
Business systems integrators are also able to develop rules and software filters designed to make accessing relevant information as simple as possible, involving existing staff in this process in order to choose a solution they’re most comfortable with such as browser-based or remote-access controls.
By investing in an ongoing mentoring relationship with a security systems integrator, businesses can ensure that their security and IT teams are fully equipped to comprehend and act accordingly to all security insights across an interconnected network, opening up avenues to adjust and scale business security measures as and when the organization feels upgrading the system may be necessary.
What to look for in security dealers and integrators near you
As a security system integrator will often be tasked with overseeing networks and equipment unique to each installation, it’s important that businesses take the time to discuss their specific needs with several security integrator companies to ensure that the integrator chosen is able to meet all necessary security requirements.
When searching for a security system integrator, consider these points:
- Expertise — New security vulnerabilities are exposed all the time; is the integrator you’ve chosen aware of the latest technology and cyber security protocols? Are they well informed of newly released products? Do they have access to respected suppliers?
- Certifications and compliances — Does the company you’ve chosen possess relevant certifications? Are they able to help you achieve compliance for HIPAA, SOX, SOC, and PCI DSS?
- Efficiency — Is the integrator experienced in increasing system efficiencies? Have they recommended any money or energy saving solutions, such as linking HVAC and occupancy management systems to heat and treat rooms based on how frequently they’re used?
- Service — Are employee training and regular maintenance services provided? Will the integrator be able to work with your business as it scales? Do they have any experience as a security integrator for large facility applications?
- Culture — If you intend for your integrator to provide ongoing services, you’ll need to ensure that their values align with your company. Do you enjoy working with them? Are they personable towards your employees, visitors and clients
- Data security — Your chosen security integrator provider will be responsible for managing sensitive company data, how do they intend to secure this information? What security features do they use in their data center? Do they utilize disaster recovery systems?
Finding the best security integrator for your security project
With more modern businesses and organizations investing in the development of converged physical and cyber security systems, many business owners are looking towards dedicated security system integrators to help ensure that all interconnected security features are appropriately protected from potential threats.
By choosing a full-service security systems integrator, management teams can be assured that all installed physical security and cyber security features will be optimized to perform at maximum efficiency and appropriately protected from evolving security risks, as well as benefit from ongoing maintenance, training and support services delivered to existing staff members and security teams.
When choosing an ideal security integrator, you should consider the primary goals for your interconnected security system alongside plans for future growth, whether it be a campus security system or a government facility security system. Keep in mind that building a long-term professional relationship with a security integrator near you can be beneficial to scaling businesses.
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