Magazine Article | February 15, 2012

Q&A: ISC Gives Integrators Security Advice

By Ed Several, senior VP, ISC Events

What’s the most significant trend in the IP security world today?
One of the most significant trends we’re seeing is the deepening involvement of the IT department in the specifying and purchasing decisions made at end user companies. This shift has provided new opportunities for the network manager to influence and potentially control the purchase of security systems; however, it can be a daunting task. A holistic view of security is increasingly becoming the norm, not the exception. This convergence offers the IT-trained individual new opportunities to leverage their technological expertise with their financial muscle, thus contributing to future growth.

Retail continues to catch up as increasingly effective video analytics offers additional benefits such as information about the purchasing habits of the consumer, in addition to loss prevention.

What do IT integrators need to know to succeed at selling IP security if they’re not already?
There are many nuances and subtleties to security products. Considerations such as suitability for the level of security, physical characteristics and differences between products from differing manufacturers, and finally, what is the product’s intended use and application are prime examples.

All of these inputs must be measured and wellthought- out to make intelligent and meaningful decisions. One of the drawbacks of having IT make the purchasing decisions is the knowledge of security products features and benefits while considering cost, security, and threat levels and, of course, budget.

The benefits of collaborating with a physical security integrator in these instances are many. Integration issues with legacy systems, coupled with equipment purchase decisions, can be the difference between a successful integration and a waste of time and money.

What are some hot markets for IP-based security solutions?
For the foreseeable future, the following markets offer good potential: government, K-12 schools and colleges/ universities/higher education, healthcare, and transportation. Retail continues to catch up as increasingly effective video analytics offers additional benefits such as information about the purchasing habits of the consumer, in addition to loss prevention.

Do integrators hold any advantages over traditional security dealers when it comes to the sale and implementation of IP security?
Yes and no. Security dealers are getting more sophisticated in their service offerings while the market for integration services continues to increase. Integrators can bring a new level of knowledge and experience to IP security, but that’s where the current market share struggles occur. Forward-thinking dealers acquire integrator talent to make them more competitive while integrators hire IT talent to increase service levels. Above all, a keen understanding and appreciation for a potential client’s needs, resources and budget, combined with relationship-building, service, and product knowledge, can create advantages regardless of function.

What can IT integrators new to security learn at a show like ISC?
ISC West offers many educational sessions and networking opportunities for IT integrators to learn more and network with product manufacturers’ technical staffs. Industry groups such as PSA Security Network, an electronic security cooperative, and, providing a comprehensive searchable database of security specifiers, access to suppliers’ architecture & engineering specifications, and a forum for information and interaction, will be at ISC West this year. In fact, PSA offers a full slate of educational programs for security integrators that could be beneficial to IT integrators, while the business management courses offered will help them gain a greater knowledge on sales and marketing. For additional information and to register, visit