Security trends: guarding the physical and the virtual environment

Most businesses have physical premises to protect as well as virtual “assets” and information. Technology can play a crucial role in protecting both.

April 4, 2013

By Niven Perumal, Product Manager, Vox Telecom

Most businesses have physical premises to protect – warehouses, offices or stores that are vulnerable to crime – as well as virtual “assets” and information. Technology can play a crucial role in protecting both.

Safe guarding your information
There are millions of smart phones and devices in South Africa – and employees are bringing them to work every day. Moreover, they are accessing the company’s network to download corporate emails or documents. On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with that picture. Workers using their own smart devices have been found to be more productive, and they have greater access to information which means that they are essentially equipped to deliver better customer service.

And yet there are risks. Unlike PCs that operate in a controlled environment, with passwords and under governance policies, these devices are owned and managed by employees. Not only is it possible that these devices will get stolen or lost, employees could easily leave and join a rival company – and take sensitive company information with them.

Rather than ban these devices altogether – start monitoring them. Examine your firewall and Wi-Fi stats and see how many devices are connecting to your network. Then you can start implementing solutions to not only secure the information on these devices, but also allow for integration so that employees can use their devices productively – without putting the company at risk. We’re already seeing global leaders like MobileIron enter the market and seamlessly remove the security and integration headaches, whilst also allowing for the development and deployment of mobile applications that can be used across all operating systems.

This will allow you segregate and control company data and put authentication measures in place so that, if the device is lost, the information can’t be accessed without a password. You will also be able to remotely wipe information, if need be. An added benefit is that you can prevent employees from using corporate bandwidth to download personal items such as music, and thus relieve the pressure on your network and/or reduce your bill.

Safeguarding your premises
There are also ways of optimising your existing data link to secure your physical premises. At night, when the link is idle because employees have finished working for the day, it can be used to monitor your office, shop or warehouse at night.

We all know that on-premise guarding has some potential shortcomings. It is not only expensive, but subject to collusion, intimidation or even physical shortcomings – such as guards that fall asleep on duty. A remote monitoring system can eradicate these issues.

The system provides an immediate reaction to alarm incidents through IP communication to the actual site. A control room environment that monitors the premises via CCTV will then follow a pre-determined escalation procedure based on the clients’ requirements – contacting the clients’ armed response service, for example. The next day, a detailed incidence report will be submitted specifying the date and time of the incident as well as a snapshot of the actual event, as well as the resolution thereof.

Business owners also have to option of viewing the CCTV footage in real-time once an alarm was activated, using a smart device such as an iPad or tablet.

It’s so sophisticated that remote access control can be implemented if needed – opening gates remotely so that security can enter the premises, for example, or taking snapshots of license plates and identifying any anomalies with vehicles entering and leaving the premises. All that is required is a minimum 128kb data link (such as ADSL, Diginet, Broadlink, YahClick etc).

The service won’t go down when the Internet is down either. For complete redundancy, a 3G modem, satellite link or other redundant service can be installed on the site that will take over when the primary data link is down.

With today’s rapidly changing environment, is it worth your business not investing in cutting-edge security services?