Physical Security, Networks To Converge And Move Offshore

This is a longer-term proposition, experts said at a conference this week, and cost savings will likely take at least three years to realize in most companies.
A few years ago, when networking technology experts and traditional security experts got together, they could barely communicate. Now, the two areas are converging at a rapid pace and business leaders should plan for more changes ahead, according to several experts who spoke Wednesday.

Both IT and physical security are likely to be driven by government regulations and business needs and are likely to move offshore, said panelists at InfoSecurity and the International Security Conference & Exposition.

"Years back, when you brought physical and cyber security guys together they weren't even speaking the same language," said CA Senior Vice President and Chief Security Strategist Ron Moritz, one of four featured panelists Wednesday at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Senior Vice President and Chief of Security for Indymac Bank, Boulton Fernando, agreed, saying, "one group would be talking about exits and the other would be talking about network stuff."

Boulton said corporate decision-makers should realize that they are likely to reap cost-saving benefits of convergence in three years, not immediately.

Irene Lam, senior products manager of American Dynamics IP Video Edge Solutions, said that the consolidation of security and networking companies -- evidenced by recent Cisco acquisitions and EMC's purchase of RSA -- is good news.

"It means our industry is growing, that they want to come and play," she said. "It will weed out all these one-offs. It means we have to have quality products and loyal channels."

James Henry, chairman, CEO and Founder of Henry Bros. Electronics, said it lends credence to both industries.

"These big guys don't get into businesses for a few years and then go off onto something else," he said.

Moritz said that the future of convergence is likely to manifest offshore, where IT security is already headed.

"One of the things we did not see happening is the eyeballs moving offshore, at least on the third shift," he said. "Eventually, we'll be seeing the first and second shifts move offshore. How long is it going to be before they start watching the doors and access privileges?"

Fernando and Moritz said that foreign workers are taking more security precautions than Americans take.

"Lots of companies we do business with don't allow people to bring in purses or cell phones," Fernando said. "Try that here and you won't have any people working."

Moritz pointed out that, while Americans seek assurances that foreign environments are secure, foreigners are sometimes skeptical about the safety of products from beyond their borders.

He recounted a story in which he was pitching Israeli security products to Swiss leaders and they asked, "How do we know the Mossad didn't inject spyware into your code?" Moritz said he joked that for $25,000 it could be removed.

"The truth is we don't know," he said.