Real Words or Buzzwords?: Enterprise Class (Part One)

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This is the eight article in the “Real Words or Buzzwords?” series about how real words become empty words and stifle technology progress, also published on SecurityInfoWatch.com.

By Ray Bernard, PSP, CHS-III


A combination of technology trends have converged to redefine what it means to have a true enterprise security system.

I’ve been wanting to write about “Enterprise Class” for some time now. Enterprise Class, Future Proof/Future Proofing and Open are the most-requested topics for me to address in Real Words and Buzzwords? By the way, you can go here to suggest a term or phrase for Real Words and Buzzwords?

Almost two years ago, security industry veteran Perry Levine, now Director of Strategic Alliances for BCDVideo, wrote a short LinkedIn article titled, “If You are Not Cloud, You are Not Enterprise”. Levine wrote that what used to be considered an “Enterprise System” for physical security system applications “had changed”, which is quite an understatement. Levine also listed five of the new requirements:

  • A Real Time Web Interface
  • 100% Mobile Device Functionality
  • Access from Anywhere, Anytime on Any Device
  • Data and Cyber Security Protection
  • Redundancy and High Availability

He also referenced a good phrase coined by BluBØX, “Enterprise at any size.”

“Enterprise at any size” is a clever way of expressing the concept that no matter what size of system or organization you have, you get enterprise-class features at your level of subscription price. “Enterprise at any size” is made possible by several important technology trends:

  • Consumerization
  • Digitalization
  • Standardization
  • Cloud computing

Consumerization

Information technology advances used to arrive last in physical security industry products as the third stage of the technology development. For decades, after an advanced information technology was developed, it would appear first in business products, next in consumer products, and finally in security industry products. This constituted a 3- to 5-year lag in the information technology being available for electronic physical security systems. The consumerization trend has permanently changed that picture.

According to Gartner’s IT Glossary: Consumerization is the specific impact that consumer-originated technologies can have on enterprises. It reflects how enterprises will be affected by, and can take advantage of, new technologies and models that originate and develop in the consumer space, rather than in the enterprise IT sector. Consumerization is not a strategy or something to be “adopted.” Consumerization can be embraced and it must be dealt with, but it cannot be stopped.

This means information technology advances can now be incorporated into electronic security products and systems, at the same time as they begin appearing in businesses. The 3- to 5-year lag is no longer necessary for many technologies. For example, formerly very pricey security technology, such as custom-built high-resolution security monitors, are now replaced by affordable consumer technology you can get, for example, at Best Buy or Amazon. 4K video cameras first appeared as consumer products, and then very quickly the technology was adapted for security camera use.

The consumerization trend is playing a big role in making security system technology more affordable, and at the same time easier to use (a consumer technology requirement). This supports rationale behind Canon—a consumer camera manufacturer—acquiring two security industry companies: Axis Communications (cameras) and Milestone Systems (video recording).

This trend makes perfect sense of the actions by Canon—a consumer camera manufacturer—in acquiring two security industry companies: Axis Communications (cameras) and Milestone Systems (video recording). The consumerization trend is playing a big role in making security system technology more affordable, and at the same time easier to use (a consumer technology requirement).

Digitalization

Digitalization is the integration of digital technologies into everyday life by the conversion of analog information into digital forms. One of the many results of digitalization is that everything can go over local networks and the Internet, making the use of cloud-bases security applications feasible, resulting in “anywhere, anytime, on any device” capabilities.

Standardization

Information technology standards are what make integration between security applications and business systems practical, especially for cloud-based applications.

Cloud Computing

Affordable access to high-power computer processing and global networking is made possible by cloud computing, and is the basis for high-performance real time web interfaces, mobile device connectivity, redundancy and high availability for cloud-based systems, Strong data and cyber-security protection are more affordable in a cloud computing environment.

The Full Scope of Enterprise Class 

This article presents just a few of the many important requirements of Enterprise Class security systems technology. Part Two will present more of the picture, and delve deeper into the aspects of Enterprise Class that are fast becoming the key differentiators between true Enterprise Class offerings that those that are just wearing the label. Part Three will follow with a checklist that integrators, specifiers and end users can use to evaluate and compare offerings that are labeled “Enterprise Class”.


Ray Bernard, PSP CHS-III, is the principal consultant for Ray Bernard Consulting Services (RBCS), a firm that provides security consulting services for public and private facilities (www.go-rbcs.com). He is the author of the Elsevier book Security Technology Convergence Insights available on Amazon. Mr. Bernard is a Subject Matter Expert Faculty of the Security Executive Council (SEC) and an active member of the ASIS International member councils for Physical Security and IT Security.