Until recently, electronic security professionals have been responsible for the devices that keep employees in and unwanted intruders out, while cybersecurity professionals have been responsible for the network and the devices on the network. But that’s all starting to change.
Today’s enterprise electronic security devices are much more sophisticated and complex. Enterprise access control systems are now equipped with AI, mobile devices are being used for access control, video surveillance files are stored in the cloud, video analytics are making it easier to search through footage, and IoT involves everything from fire alarms to surveillance cameras. Today, more than ever before, electronic security professionals and cybersecurity teams are collaborating, working closer together, and delivering more value for all stakeholders.
Electronic security and cybersecurity cover very different ground. What are the keys to enabling successful collaboration? How can these two disciplines work together to manage the wide variety of technologies in place? As technology continues to evolve, will these two teams need to be combined within the organization? Let’s take a look at how electronic security and cybersecurity can work together.
The Tale of Two Teams
The biggest challenge enterprises face with these two security teams lies in their history. Electronic security and cybersecurity teams were built differently from the ground up. It used to be simple: electronic security was tasked with keeping employees and enterprises safe from physical threats while cybersecurity was tasked with keeping employees and enterprises safe from online threats. But now that technology has started to blur these lines, it’s difficult for teams to know who should be responsible for devices, purchases, and overall management. Think of it this way: The IT manager might be responsible for the security budget and purchasing decisions but might not fully understand the role of managing access control or the video surveillance system.
Devices Leave You Vulnerable
If you’re still not clear on why electronic security and cybersecurity need to work together, consider the very real scenario that my colleague, Brian Cox, recently learned. A Google employee was able to unlock all doors on the Google campus without the required RFID card, that are used to protect their employees. He discovered that the access control system in place didn’t have the right level of encryption and could easily be manipulated with a few commands and lines of code—putting everyone at risk. Google quickly updated the encryption and firmware in the access control system, but this goes to show even a major company like Google can experience a disconnect.
In actuality, any device connected to your network could be a point of weakness. In fact, security system cameras are often one of the most hacked IoT devices. Cheap IP cameras come equipped with a low level of security easy to bypass. Only using the standard-issue security that comes with a device is a recipe for disaster, which is why it’s crucial for cybersecurity teams to work with electronic security teams to improve the security of each individual device.
Successful Security Team Collaboration
Clearly, there are benefits to establishing collaboration between electronic security and cybersecurity teams. The challenge is convincing each group of professionals to intentionally and strategically work together for the betterment of the overall enterprise security. One possible solution is to build diverse teams that focus on the customers’ needs, with professionals from both cybersecurity and electronic security coming together for a specific event or project. That way, they get a glimpse of how to work together effectively, starting small and holding each other accountable from start to finish.
In addition, companies could include both the cybersecurity and electronic security teams in discussions surrounding any issues that are not clearly driven by one particular team. For example, if a project is not fully focused on either cybersecurity or electronic security, both teams can work together to determine how to approach security requirements and plans. This will promote teamwork, expand possible solutions, and encourage cross-discipline collaboration.
Finally, simply reiterating how intertwined the two types of security really are can go a long way in helping both teams of professionals find ways to work together. It’s no longer about one or the other—from smartphones and surveillance cameras to enterprise access control systems in the workplace, some of the most commonly used items require the convergence of cybersecurity and electronic security. Considering that most people—especially security professionals—are aware of the importance of security in general, it should be clear that teaming up electronic and cybersecurity is beneficial to the general public as well as businesses.
More sources on cybersecurity and electronic security: