CDW launches physical security practice

Thursday, June 11, 2009

VERNON HILLS, Ill.—CDW, through its CDW Government subsidiary, has launched a small physical security practice that is designing and building security systems, focusing initially in the education and government verticals.

“We’ve been selling IP cameras for years,” said Cindy Schwartz, CDW-G physical security specialist, “and we’ve seen a large success in order fulfillment with our customers, so we decided to create a practice dedicated to physical security. We’ve seen definite trends in the marketplace shifting from analog cameras to IP.”

With its legacy in the IT space, CDW-G typically brings in partners it has been working with in the past to do much of the installation work, Schwartz said. However, “with some of these newer products, like access control, we’re exploring different options of who’s out there and who would give us the best coverage and who might be looking to partner with us on these installations.”

CDW-G is also trying to provide its partners with good data to get them more security work. It recently released its 2009 School Safety Index, for example, which surveyed more than 400 K-12 IT and security directors. While much of the survey concerned IT security, CDW-G did find that 79 percent of schools are using video surveillance of some kind, and that’s up from 70 percent in 2008. Further, some 70 percent of schools are now using mass notification of some kind, up from just 45 percent in 2008.

Schwartz said the demand in education is usually driven by “a specific incident, a vandalism or worker’s comp incident. And they’re trying to avoid a future event. It’s an upfront cost for them, but they’re quickly finding the benefits of having a security system installed.”

Currently, there are just two dedicated security specialists in the physical security practice, but “we’re looking to grow that significantly over the next couple of years,” Schwartz said.