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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
September 4, 2019


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“It’s re-energised the market”: Verint on analytics and predictive security

Founded in New York in 2002 Verint Systems is a “global leader in actionable intelligence”.

It develops software and hardware for customer engagement management, security, surveillance, and business intelligence.

We spoke to Alan Stoddard, VP & GM, Situational Intelligence Solutions at the company about a transformative time for analytics, the changing investment landscape for smart cities and why critical environments need bespoke solutions.

IFSEC Global: So what does the Situational Intelligence Solutions unit do?

Alan Stoddard: We’re a business unit within Verint that focuses on protecting people, assets and critical infrastructure installations.

Around the globe, we support enterprise video management solutions, situational intelligence solutions and provide comprehensive, large, scalable security solutions for mission critical customers.

IG: Any new products to highlight?

AS: We’re very excited about Verint VMSOne. It’s our latest enterprise VMS solution and incorporates a lot of the capabilities of our situational awareness platform, integrating GIS mapping and physical security subsystems such as fire, intrusion and access control.

This provides deep investigation tools, and is a perfect solution for comprehensive, visual-based command and control and mission-critical environments.

IG: What are your USPs compared to competitors?

AS: I think we’ve got a unique capability in terms of the size, scale and scope of what we offer. We’re in the largest safe city in the world outside China and one of our customers is the largest retailer in the world with over 6,000 sites that we support directly.

“Our ability to support large, complex, critical installations is truly unique”

Our ability – not only for the product but the company – to support large, complex, critical installations I think is truly unique in the industry.

The other element is the combination of skills. Whether you want to start with a small dispatch management system with 20 customers on an SaaS solution, or scale it up to the largest retailer in the world, we have solutions that fit those needs, and people can come in anywhere they need to and grow with us.

And although we have integrated solutions, we’re totally open [platform], unlike some of our competitors that have a vertical-based strategy. We work with any third-party partners, and can work with what a customer already has installed.

Verint’s situational awareness platform

IG: Please tell us more about your involvement in smart cities…

AS: Verint is deployed within the Safe City projects in Surat, India, and in Guayaquil, Ecuador. We have a number of others as well.

There is a real move [to redefine] ‘safe cities’ as ‘smart cities’. It’s [more about the] ability to integrate not just security elements but other operational elements of those environments. It’s easier for municipalities to see the ROI. So it’s changing the investment landscape and there’s a lot of momentum behind that.

IG: What about cybersecurity? Is there any due diligence on your part in terms of who you integrate with?

AS: We don’t limit our customers from that standpoint. Certainly some providers have made that decision. We work very hard to secure our own systems and networks, and we’ve got a fair bit of experience on that due to our internal expertise in cyber intelligence.

We certainly highlight the risks to our end customers and partners in terms of other systems they’re working with, but whether it’s cameras or access control, or audio systems, we can’t control what everyone else does. We control our endpoint. We try to be a trusted advisor around cyber to our partners, but ultimately let them make that decision.

IG: Critical infrastructure has never been seen as more – well, critical…

AS: Unfortunately, we live in a world where that threat continues to grow. There’s a need to harden those sites, whether it’s utilities, transportation entities like Tyne Tunnel, airports, railways, or large enterprises and so forth.

The risk is real and I think our ability to be part of a comprehensive solution as a trusted advisor adds value.

IG: Presumably these high-security sectors have particularly exacting criteria for who they’re willing to work with?

AS: Absolutely. I can verify that the demands are usually high. The sales cycles are high at times. So it’s an investment on our part to have the expertise and to be flexible. They’re not cookie cutter; they have unique requirements, unique regulations they may need to fit in with, sometimes custom subsystems.

We really view ourselves as being solution-focused – and it’s not the same solution for everyone. We have a common product, but we work carefully with our professional services team to understand customer needs and we can customise that core product through integrations and other updates to fit their requirements.

IG: Where is your R&D focused? How do you anticipate how threats or customer needs might evolve?

AS: Clearly today you see a big focus on analytics and artificial intelligence, which is incredibly exciting and powerful. Where we’re focused though is how we effectively bring all that data into one place so we can expose it to all these analytics and tools.

We’re trying to provide an efficient, open, flexible, powerful, scalable system that brings in all the data – or metadata – from sensors. Then this can move us from a world of responsive security to predictive and proactive security.

But it’s not one-size-fits-all in terms of analytics.

They tend to be very customised to the specific enterprise, city or transportation hub. We can provide the framework around the data collection, consolidation and exposure to analytics. We can also work with partners who specialise in the analytics that fit that particular installation requirement.

That’s really our focus.

IG: Anything else you want to add?

AS: I think we’re seeing significant growth in this space, with the excitement around analytics – I think it’s reenergised the whole security market. I think we’re going through a transformation point, and I’m excited to be part of it.

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