CTO, Virtually Informed and Founder, Unified Security (respectively)

April 20, 2022


Whitepaper: Enhancing security, resilience and efficiency across a range of industries

Converged security

“There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza” – IFSEC’s converged security centre to help plug the gaps in physical and cyber security

James Willison and Sarb Sembhi highlight how a converged security approach, which will be showcased at this year’s IFSEC International in May 2022, can help identify potential vulnerabilities in an organisation’s physical and digital security infrastructure.

The words of this well-known children’s song will be familiar to most of you, and they have a powerful significance for our connected physical security devices today. Many of our CCTV, access and building management systems are now connected to the internet – an internet that has been described by leading technologists as broken as efforts are being made to transition to web 3.0.

But what can be done to fix the hole in our connection to the internet and make it safe to connect? As Liza replies to her partner in the song… “then fix it dear Henry!”

Protecting vulnerabilities with a converged security centre

At IFSEC International, May 17–19 we look forward to welcoming you to the Converged Security Centre where you will meet people who are fixing the problem using converged technologies. You might well ask, how, and is that really the case? What is it that you will see and what difference can it make?

Well, if we accept that many of our security systems are full of vulnerabilities and that security hasn’t been built into the devices themselves, then we have to accept they can be attacked by criminals and nation states. To combat this, a converged security centre receives alerts from its systems that they are not acting normally and the dashboard in front of the operator shows a camera or an access point that needs to be isolated. In essence, this real time monitoring of devices can help prevent a possible breach which could lead to all kinds of problems, such as access to the company’s finance department or CEO’s office.

In May we will show many different scenarios across the three days. For example, we’ll explore how a range of security systems can be integrated to identify and track potential suspects of unattended baggage at a railway station to reduce the risk of a major incident. The technology will showcase a faster response and recovery, given the capabilities of the various technologies which Advancis and our partners will demonstrate.

Another presentation will demonstrate how a converged security centre can combat the insider threat, in which physical and logical access to a data centre or a bank will be explored as a staff member is authenticated and an attacker denied access. Environmental risk which impacts server performance can be monitored and mitigated as an operator is alerted of important changes.

Whilst it is widely known that physical security and cyber security professionals can work together to see the shared risk, unfortunately the practice of convergence is not common. The centre at IFSEC is a place where we can show how this is possible, as we see examples of how the systems interact.

Richard McClellan of Advancis comments: “The whole premise of PSIM is openly integrating with third party technologies, we bridge and make convergence possible, but what are the real-life outcomes and benefits? The above-mentioned scenarios, alongside others we will be showcasing, really demonstrate across multiple verticals and real-life situations how this convergence can enhance security and better inform operators in control and situation centres.”

We have invited several senior security leaders including the likes of Professor Martin Gill, Nigel Stanley, Alan Jenkins, Mo Ahddoud, Jason Shaw, and Professor Alison Wakefield. The experts will be on hand to comment and ask probing questions about the centre and the scenario to engage with attendees and other security professionals and encourage debate. We very much hope that you will join in!

We believe this is a unique opportunity for us all to share ideas and understand how real time technology can help us to identify threats and vulnerabilities in order to reduce risk. It is of crucial importance because the threats are continuing to blend such that a cyber incident causes physical damage and harm to us, whether that be an online fraud or a terrorist attack. It is integral that we work together to prevent and manage the risk.


Image credit: LANDMARKMEDIA/AlamyStock

John Gill, Executive Vice President, Kaseware, adds: “Convergence across previously siloed security domains allows organisations to better identify vulnerabilities across the digital divide. And, while it is important to have solutions that can help to detect and respond to such threats, the security event life cycle also prescribes for the recovery from such events, and that’s where Kaseware comes in.

“Whether it is an unattended package, an insider threat scenario, or multiple other types of security events, critical data from such activities can be aggregated and analysed to surface insights and uncover hidden connections across multiple data sets, thereby allowing organizations to investigate the security event, so that they can better prepare and protect against the next one.”

In the popular story, the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf advises King Theodon of Rohan to take refuge in the fortress of Helm’s Deep. But the attackers discover there is a small hole, (drain) in the otherwise formidable walls and overcome the defences. The King asks, “What can be done against such reckless hate?” Fortunately, all is not lost because of the heroics of the many different creatures and the trees coming together and collaborating, to ensure that good triumphs over evil.

Similarly, there are such holes in our many physical and cyber security defences. But, as the hobbit, Samwise Gamgee encourages, Frodo: “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

So, we are looking forward to securing our defences, working with our many colleagues and welcoming you to the Converged Security Centre in May.

Subscribe to the IFSEC Insider weekly newsletters

Enjoy the latest fire and security news, updates and expert opinions sent straight to your inbox with IFSEC Insider's essential weekly newsletters. Subscribe today to make sure you're never left behind by the fast-evolving industry landscape.

Sign up now!

man reading a tablet, probably the IFSEC Global newsletter

Related Topics

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments