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ACRE COO looks at future of access control

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

LAS VEGAS—Security Systems News caught up with ACRE COO Ron Virden, who this week published a great piece titled, “Electronic Access Control & The Future of Security: Is the Lock and Key Obsolete?”

Virden noted in his article that the end of the traditional lock and key may be here as wireless technologies transform “the possibilities for electronic access control.”

With Google and Amazon getting into the residential space, they are “really helping to drive that tipping point and you will see the consumer demand speed this up into the corporate space, especially the SMB market where we are already seeing this happen,” he told SSN. “But for the larger [enterprise] groups, where you still have to have the identification piece that a badge provides, the migration will take longer and I don’t know if it will ever be a 100 percent migration to mobile.”

And while wireless locks have been in existence for a long time, “next-generation products equipped with near-field communication and Bluetooth represent a quantum leap forward,” he noted in his article. “With established players such as ASSA ABLOY, Allegion and Dormakaba bringing their high-tech products to the market, wireless will rapidly become the standard means of managing access.”

He continued, “This is game-changing because it extends monitoring and control capabilities to a far wider range of access points. Today, most organizations limit digital locks and access credentials to the first line of defense—external doors. With nextgen wireless, any internal or external door can be added to the network so that traffic can be monitored and controlled throughout the building or complex. Not only does this improve the level of security and visibility, it also has the potential to provide valuable usage data that can help to reduce energy consumption, enhance safety and comfort and even provide predictive analytics that can guide space allocation or development.”

But before the industry can realize this new generation of wireless and mobile technologies, Virden said there are some challenges to overcome.

“The market is fragmented and territorial with lock manufacturers and mobile access firms focused on developing proprietary credentialing systems that protect their market share,” he explained in his piece. “However, that doesn’t serve the needs of the consumer or business market, both of which are resistant to being ‘locked’ into a specific brand of hardware or software.”

This is why, Virden told SSN, "open platform" is so important. “If you look at the intrusion business, you can go in and take over a panel and you can change who your provider is, so we have to have some way in the future for companies to not just be wed to one platform, and if you want to change who your credential provider is, you are able to do that,” he said.

Companies that focus on open platform and working well with others will benefit the most moving forward. “Focusing on hardware-agnostic software or credential-agnostic hardware will generate a bigger, more sustainable market,” he noted in his article. “Players that adopt a collaborative approach, aim for the mid-market, and look for ways to add value—whether through enhanced safety, convenience or data-driven insight—will see big opportunities in the coming years.”

For the full version of Virden’s article, click here.

Updates from Affiliated Monitoring's Catalyst 2018

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla.—I arrived Monday on Amelia Island, Fla., for Affiliated Monitoring’s third annual Catalyst conference, focused entirely on the sales and marketing aspects of the medical alert industry.

The first full day began with a welcome from, Mike Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring. He brought up the idea of “forced networking,” making sure that people are meeting and conversing with a multitude of different professionals, including ones they haven’t met before. To facilitate this, the conference has attendees in different groups throughout the event, such as with the table assignments or teams for networking events.

Zydor said that one of the valuable takeaways from the event will be the discussions and relationships made at Catalyst. Following this point, each attendee had the opportunity to stand and introduce themselves, their company, and where they’re from.

Next, Affiliated executive vice president Daniel Oppenheim presented “PERS: Today and the Future,” an overview of themes in the PERS industry and observations within Affiliated Monitoring. Oppenheim said how fortunate he is for what it is that the industry offers, “We offer a service that is vital to our customers, we save lives.”

The overall number of PERS signals that Affiliated received went up 45 percent last year, Oppenheim said.

“I feel very strongly in the future of our industry,” Oppenheim said. He pointed toward the baby boomer generation, the oldest of which are about 72 now, as a large opportunity—an entire generation that is about age into the typical PERS and mPERS demographics.

Related to that is one of the problems the industry will face in coming years, Oppeneheim said: that there are going to be more seniors, but there are projected to be fewer available caregivers. “There’s only one answer and it is our industry and technology that is going to solve this.”

An annual staple of the Catalyst program is the executive spotlight series, where Oppenheim has an on-stage conversation with leaders in the PERS industry, covering their perspective on the industry and the decisions that got them to where they are today. In 2016, Oppenheim sat down with Ritch Haselden of Essence USA, and in 2017, he spoke with Ken Gross of Connect America.

This year Oppenheim talked with Rob Flippo, CEO of MobileHelp, a provider of mPERS and health management solutions, which began in 2006.

“You bet big on mobile and you were right, what did you see that others in the market were not seeing at the time?” Oppenheim asked.

Flippo said that people weren’t using cellular in the home when he started, and he did his due diligence to figure out that there was no business reason for this and chose to take up the technology in his business. He noted that GPS technology was also in the early stages at that time.

Affiliated is now fully integrated with MobileHelp, Oppenheim announced on stage Tuesday. Through that process, Oppenheim met many members of Flippo’s team. He asked Flippo for his philosophies on putting together a team. 

Flippo first responded by agreeing with the phrase “The fish rots from the head down;” how management and ownership treat the people below them affects the entire business. Flippo also said that in assembling his team, he looked for people that would fit executive roles, before the company even had those positions.

Flippo provided an interesting perspective when asked to think about the future of the PERS industry, 10 years down the road. He said that the people buying PERS systems now, where about 65 when he started a little more than a decade ago. So, he challenged the audience to consider a 60 or 65 year-old now—that person will be a potential PERS user in 10 years. A 60 or 65 year-old now is more technological than in 2006, Flippo noted, and he predicted that PERS systems will come with more features and functionality that connects to other aspects of a user's life, much in the same way that the security ecosystem evolved to include more elements of home control.

The last session of the day was a panel, titled “Ask the Experts: Product Mix and Planning the PERS Future.” Here, Pete West, VP, North American director for KORE, moderated a conversation with Yaniv Amir, president of Essence USA, Ryan Bangerter, business development director for Mytrex, and Scot McGehee, VP of operations and sales at Climax.

To kick things off, Ward asked Bangerter about the value of the cloud for PERS. Mytrex is leveraging the cloud with its new PERS product, the MXD LTE. Bangerter said that, historically, PERS systems are a local installation, but the cloud element allows for an easier integration process and it helps with different communication paths.

Ward asked McGehee about the usage of mobile PERS inside of the home, as opposed to a cellular PERS system. Seniors can be much more energetic and mobile, he noted, and Users need something for mobile use outside of the home as well as usage in the house. “We’ve got to be able to cover both bases going forward to take care of the aging population,” he said.

Essence does business outside of the US, Ward noted. He asked Amir about trends that are in international markets that might enter the U.S. market. Voice activation is one such trend, according to Amir. Specifically, Essence offers a voice panic alarm system, where emergency response sensors can be installed throughout a user’s house and—because it relies on voice—doesn’t require a wearable. This is a good solution when caregivers would like to see more protection in an elderly person’s home, but that user does not want to appear frail.

To open the second day of Catalyst 2018, Mike Zydor had an on-stage conversation with Mark Melendes, managing director and group head—specialized industries, CIBC Bank US, about what dealers need to know a head of looking for additional funding.

Borrowing from a bank can be a great way to grow a PERS business, Zydor noted. He asked Melendes for the first thing PERS dealer should do when thinking about additional funds.

Melendes said to think of alternatives to borrowing from a bank. Borrowing from a bank can be very involved, he said, and there are other options that a dealer could look into; for instance, finding a local lender or sometimes the seller in a transaction can partly help with financing.

According to Melendes, key considerations include: whether financial records in tact, does the company have good financial reporting and a history of financial reporting, is there a good CRM system, and are there the right people to support a banking relationship.

The first time that Melendes meets a company, it can be when there is an immediate acquisition opportunity, one that might want to close quickly, and unless they have the right information it can be a challenge.

Zydor asked: What do people looking to buy need to pay attention to in buying a competitor?

While CIBC focuses on the financial part of the transaction, it is also concerned with the strategic fit of the purchase and the legal due diligence, Melendes said. “Strategic fit is definitely one that we focus on,” he said.

Something new for Catalyst that was included this year was a session devoted to a variety of discussion groups. Through an event app, attendees were asked for the topic that most interested them out of nine options. Four topics were chosen for discussion groups: Medicaid and government programs, customer retention strategies, leveraging social media for your business, and building your team: the most essential roles to fill.

I sat in on the social media session, curious for business leaders’ opinions on leveraging social media for an offering geared toward the senior audience, which is currently noted as not being very technological.

This group was divided into two tables. The table I sat with discussed how the main audience is often not the user themselves, but instead the younger caregiver—an individual more likely to be on social media.

One idea was that messaging about PERS products has been often built off of fear, the fear of a fall. The industry could benefit from portraying PERS as more of a lifestyle product, a device that allows its user a certain lifestyle with more freedom.

From there, the discussion circled around to newer ideas of advertising that are mainly focused on showing a product and then showing a user having a better experience from using it. This is a concept in imaging that PERS products could use to showcase the offering as a lifestyle-focused device, as opposed to one driven by fear.

After about 20 minutes, each table in the room—about nine in total—chose a representative to present the ideas of their group.

The final presentation for this year was from the featured guest speaker, Erica Javellana, speaker of the house for Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer. Javellana joined the company in 2007 as a human resources generalist and quickly rose to be the employee relations manager. She took the stage to talk about Zappos’ focus on customer service and how to focus on company culture.

Javellana began by talking about what Zappos calls P.E.C.: personal, emotional connection. Zappos wants each employee to establish a connection with each person they interact with, she said.

Zappos is committed to the idea of company culture and that means hiring and firing by those principles, Javellana said.

Zappos has 10 core values, central to the company’s culture, and one of them is to “Build a Positive Team and Family spirit,” and the wrong person can ruin a team’s dynamic. “If you get the right people, you get the right culture,” she said.

Other tenets of Zappos’ culture included “Deliver WOW through service,” “Create fun and a little weirdness,” and “Be humble.”

To “wow” through service means to go above and beyond, Javellana said. She shared the story of sitting in on a customer service call where a woman called in to try to find a specific sweatshirt. This woman hadn’t ever shopped with Zappos, Javellana noted, but the Zappos employee helped her none-the-less, and got to know her while searching for the sweatshirt. He eventually learned that the woman’s son had died in a car accident wearing his favorite sweatshirt at the time, and her younger son wanted the same one to remember his brother. The customer service representative, finding that Zappos did not have it, purchased one through a competitor and told the caller he would sent it to her.

It’s about the experience more than the transaction, Javellana stressed.

Creating a little fun and weirdness does not mean Zappos only hires extroverted people, Javellana said, it means they encourage employees to be their whole selves at work. Some people stress work-life balance, and are entirely different people outside of work. People could focus more on work-life integration, she said.

The last principle Zappos has in its culture is to be humble and the company has a small test for this. In hiring for any position, whether it be the COO or a department manager, they inform the candidate that all new hires are required to attend company-wide training followed by a period of answering phones, taking four weeks in total. If the applicant turns their nose up at the idea of answering phones, they are shown the door. One reason for this is that at busy times of the season, such as during the holidays, answering phones can mean all-hands-on-deck, Javellana said, including her and Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh.

Javellana ended her presentation with this question: “How will you wow?"

I-View Now announces new service

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I-View Now recently announced the launch of a new service: Police Alarm Portal. The process is powered by I-View Now’s Software as a Service Video Verification platform, and will send video directly to authorized emergency responders through the ASAP to PSAP program. Additionally, I-View Now will provide the service to law enforcement free of charge.

In the announcement, I-View Now said that Police Alarm Portal helps the entire electronic security industry by improving the path of communications flow from end users to the monitoring station and then to law enforcement. “It allows for a faster and safer response to alarms by authorized emergency responders, increases the value of the alarm provider's monitoring service, and improves customer retention,” the company said.

The new service will provide better information and collaboration to help keep communities safer, according to I-View Now.

"We're thrilled to be offering this revolutionary and patented service at no cost to law enforcement,” Larry Folsom, president of I-View Now, said in the announcement. “When an alarm goes off, you don’t always know what you’ll find. Using video verification with the Police Alarm Portal changes that unknown factor. Authorized emergency responders will have real-time information about what’s happening at the protected premises through live video and video clips. Police officers can respond appropriately and more safely to a verified alarm event.”

Police Alarm Portal is being tested at 911 Communications Centers across the nation, including in Richmond, Virginia, the first city to go live with ASAP to PSAP.

"The City of Richmond is honored to have been chosen to participate in a pilot of Police Alarm Portal with I-View Now,” Bill Hobgood, systems developer lead for City of Richmond, Department of Information Technology Public Safety Team, and recognized ASAP subject matter expert, said in a prepared statement. “The delivery of video sent via the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) program sent by an alarm monitoring company when suspicious circumstances are present, is a value added for public safety. The video will enable dispatch staff in the emergency communications center as well as responding officers to easily navigate to the same video witnessed by the alarm operator adding another tool in the interest of officer safety and suspect apprehension."

“ADT is a founding member of the ASAP system, and also the nation’s largest user,” Don Young, ADT’s chief information officer, said in the announcement. “As our nationwide deployment of Video Verification with I-View Now is complete, making that same video content accessible to law enforcement is a natural extension of the services we currently provide our customers. ASAP is the premier standard for sending life safety information to PSAPs, and ADT is excited to further enhance our outstanding partnership with public safety officials.”

Arecont Vision files for Chapter 11

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

LOS ANGELES—Arecont Vision announced this week that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware, and agreed to have substantially all of the company’s assets acquired by an affiliate of Turnspire Capital Partners, LLC, an equity firm that is known as a turnaround specialist. In the Arecont press release, the company stated that the proposed transaction will enable Arecont “to pursue accelerated development of new, industry-leading video surveillance products and better meet the needs of its customers today and beyond.”

Raul Calderon, Arecont Vision’s chief operating officer and general manager, said in the announcement, “Through this transaction, Arecont Vision will shed its debt and make bolder decisions to invest in our future versus maintain the status quo. We are excited to have found a partner in Turnspire who shares our vision and will ensure an exciting future for the Company to the benefit our customers, employees, and partners,”

He continued, “Manufacturing, customer service, and sales activities will continue uninterrupted. Our employees will receive their wages and benefits as before, and our own vendors and suppliers will be paid in the ordinary course of business going forward.”

Arecont said that current management will continue to lead the company, and business “will continue uninterrupted, and operations will be supported by debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing provided by Arecont Vision’s current secured lenders.”

The Turnspire bid will be subject to an auction at which it will be subject to higher and better offers, and require Court approval. The Company anticipates the transaction will move swiftly and close within 60-75 days.

“Arecont Vision implemented key strategic initiatives beginning in mid-2017 that continue in the current year, all aimed at enhancing customer engagement, increasing revenue, and optimizing business processes. The goal is to better address the needs of the market and maintain and expand our industry technology leadership,” said Calderon. “While these efforts bore fruit immediately, we can now accelerate that progress unburdened by excess debt. Ultimately it was determined that using the chapter 11 process to facilitate a reorganization and sale was the swiftest and most efficient way to reduce debt while accelerating sales growth and product development.”

The Company is advised by the law firm of Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl & Jones LLP, Armory Strategic Partners as the Company’s chief restructuring officer and financial advisor, and Imperial Capital as the Company’s investment banker.

Court filings as well as other information related to the restructuring are available here.

ASSA ABLOY set to buy two in the US

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—ASSA ABLOY recently announced agreements to purchase two U.S.-based door and frame manufacturers: Pioneer Industries, based in Carlstadt, N.J., and Concept Frames Inc., based in Newton, N.C.

"The addition of Pioneer allows us to fortify our steel door and frame offering in the US and in particular the Atlantic region," Lucas Boselli, executive vice president of ASSA ABLOY and head of the Americas division, said in a prepared statement.

Pioneer will continue to be led by its current management team. Pioneer was founded in 1930 and currently has about 100 employees. The head office and factory are located in Carlstadt, N.J.

The Pioneer acquisition is conditional upon satisfaction of customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2018, ASSA ABLOY noted in its announcement.

Concept frames has a focus on custom-made steel doors and frames for commercial and industrial applications. "I am very pleased to welcome Concept Frames into the ASSA ABLOY Group,” Boselli said in a separate announcement. “Concept Frame is a complementary addition to ASSA ABLOY and adds to our leadership in the door and frame category in North America.”

Concept Frames has expertise in customer service, project specifications and quick delivery, primarily covering the southeast region of the US, ASSA ABLOY noted in its announcement. The company was founded in 1982 and has approximately 68 employees; its head office and factory are located in Newton, N.C.

Canon acquires BriefCam

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Canon today announced the acquisition of BriefCam, a provider of Video Synopsis and Deep Learning solutions. Closing of the deal is subject to customary closing conditions.

“The acquisition will create even greater synergies between the BriefCam Video Content Analytics platform and Canon’s Network Video Solutions portfolio,” Trevor Matz, president & CEO of BriefCam, told Security Systems News. “BriefCam will continue to innovate and deliver best-of-breed video content analytics enabling law enforcement,  public safety agencies and major enterprises transform their video surveillance footage into actionable intelligence and dramatically shorten the time-to-target for security threats while increasing safety and optimizing operations.”

Masanori Yamada, Canon Inc. managing executive officer and group executive, Network Visual Solution Business Promotion Headquarters, said in the announcement, “We are very excited to work with such an innovative organization and we welcome BriefCam into the Canon Group. With BriefCam, we can deliver an even broader range of leading-edge technology and solutions in the fields of network cameras, video management software and video content analysis software to customers and partners across the globe.”

BriefCam will continue to operate under the leadership of its current management structure, remain an open platform, and continue to provide its software to the market through its own sales channels.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with a global leader in digital imaging,” said Matz. “The acquisition will allow BriefCam to continue to deliver industry leading video content analytics solutions, while remaining a standalone company within the Canon Group. The opportunity is a testament to the innovative technology we have built, the outstanding team we have assembled, and the rapidly growing business we have created.”
 
The acquisition will also enable BriefCam to enter new markets, deliver stronger vertical solutions, and serve global customers even more effectively, he said.

Founded in 2007, BriefCam’s Video Synopsis and Deep Learning solutions are used for rapid video review and search, smart alerting and quantitative video insights.

Mission 500 raised more than $110k at ISC West 2018

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Mission 500, a charitable organization that works closely with the security industry to serve children in need in the U.S., announced yesterday that it raised $113,000 at its ninth annual Security 5K/2K Run/Walk and related sponsorships at this year’s ISC West.

Proceeds from the event will benefit children in need in the U.S., with a portion donated to a project in Puerto Rico which benefits children living in poverty who have been affected by Hurricane Maria, Mission 500 said in its announcement. Some ISC West attendees assembled Mission 500 Care Packs for 500 children in need living in Las Vegas, which were distributed by The Children’s Health Fund and were personally delivered and donated by Mission 500, HID Global, Freeman and the ISC West Security Events team.

The Security 5K/2K is a joint collaboration organized by United Publications, the publisher of Security Systems News, ISC Events and Mission 500.

“ISC West continues to be one of the cornerstone events that Mission 500 participates in every year,” Tim Purpura, chairman of the board for Mission 500 said in a prepared statement. “On behalf of Mission 500 and all of the children and families in need we support, I extend my sincerest thanks to all of our sponsors, volunteers and people who participated in the successful fund raisers staged at this year’s show.”

The Brink’s Home Security team raised the most at the 5K/2K, a total of $9,880. Jeff Gardner of Brinks was the top individual fundraiser, collecting $8,750, followed by Altronix's Ronnie Pennington with $3,100. Heather Miller of Anixter raised $1,720, which will be matched by her employer for a total of $3,440. Two staff members from Brink’s Home Security, along with Jeff Gardner, were awarded an all-expenses paid trip to Mission 500’s next service trip in Puerto Rico.

Mission 500 acknowledged medal winners and sponsors at the Security 5K/2K awards ceremony. This year’s fastest female was Karen Salerno of ISC Events with a time of 21:43. The fastest male and overall winner was Brian Matthews of Vingtor Stentofon, who completed the 5K course in 20:42.

Additionally, Mission 500 honored The Hurricane Harvey Heroes with its annual Humanitarian Award and Corporate Social Responsibility Award, which acknowledges individuals in the security industry who make important contributions to those in need. Winners of the Humanitarian Award include Curtis Kindred, president of American Defense Systems, Harley Schild, president of Vault Security, and Todd Fitch, president of Point Security. Altronix Corp. of Brooklyn, NY, received Mission 500’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award.

Amazon shakes up home security business

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Amazon announced last week that it is jumping into the home security business—with both feet I might add—with the unveiling of five security packages for both homeowners and renters. What is most interesting about this announcement, though, is Amazon’s go-to-market strategy, which involves no monthly fees, just an upfront cost for the equipment package. Plus, all five equipment packages include free installation and visits from Amazon smart home experts to go over what is the best fit prior to choosing an option.

For those who have been following the success of Amazon’s Alexa, this move really shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially considering all of the inroads Amazon has been making in the smart home space, from its acquisition of Ring, the smart doorbell company, to its new in-home delivery service, Amazon Key, that features its Cloud Cam and partnerships with smart lock providers. 

It will be interesting to see how this will shake up the current home security market, which traditionally has existed on a RMR model that includes spreading some of equipment cost out over several months or years. It will also be interesting to see how this move succeeds overall for Amazon, as the security packages get a bit costly on the higher end.

So, let’s take a look at what packages they are offering, many of which work in tandem with Amazon’s Echo and Alexa. Amazon is offering two outdoor security packages and three indoor packages. The first outdoor package, for $240, includes “expert smart lighting that will make it look like you’re home,” the website reads, while the Outdoor Plus package adds in a smart doorbell. For indoor security, the base package for $320, which is “perfect for renters” the website says, includes motion, door and window sensors, an indoor camera, smart siren and smart home hub. Homeowners can choose from Smart for $575 or Smartest for $840, each of which adds devices to the base package.

As consumer buying seems to be moving more toward a subscription-based model, this seems like a bit of risk to ask homeowners to pay that much up front, but it may be a risk that pays off for Amazon. For one, consumers who may not have taken the leap into the smart home or home security will see this as a way to get both—the Alexa voice assistant and home security—all from one provider in a very seamless way.

SSN would love to hear your thoughts on this, so feel free to comment below.

 

CSA publishes State of Cloud Security report

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), an organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices to help ensure a secure cloud-computing environment, recently released its State of Cloud Security 2018.

The report, authored by the CSA Global Enterprise Advisory Board, examines such areas as the adoption of cloud and related technologies, what both enterprise and cloud providers are doing to ensure security requirements are met, how to best work with regulators, the evolving threat landscape, and the industry skills gap.

“The state of cloud security is a work in progress with an ever-increasing variety of challenges and potential solutions,” Vinay Patel, chair of the CSA Global Enterprise Advisory Board and managing director at Citigroup, said in the announcement of the report. “It is incumbent upon the cloud user community, therefore, to collaborate and speak with an amplified voice to ensure that their key security issues are heard and addressed. We hope this document will serve as a roadmap to developing best practices in the establishment of baseline security requirements needed to protect organizational data.”

Key takeaways from the report include:

•    Exploration of case studies and potential use cases for blockchain, application containers, microservices and other technologies will be important to keep pace with market adoption and the creation of secure industry best practices.
•    With the rapid introduction of new features, safe default configurations and ensuring the proper use of features by enterprises should be a goal for providers.
•    As adversaries collaborate quickly, the information security community needs to respond to attacks swiftly with collaborative threat intelligence exchanges that include both providers and enterprise end users.
•    A staged approach on migrating sensitive data and critical applications to the cloud is recommended.
•    When meeting regulatory compliance, it is important for enterprises to practice strong security fundamentals to demonstrate compliance rather than use compliance to drive security requirements.

Noting that “innovators and early adopters” have been using cloud for years for quicker deployment, greater scalability, and cost saving of services, the report noted that the growth of cloud computing “continues to accelerate offering more solutions with added features and benefits, including security. In the age of information digitalization and innovation, enterprise users must keep pace with consumer demand and new technology solutions ensuring they can meet both baseline capabilities and security requirements.”

Interestingly, the report pointed out that increased adoption in cloud services has followed consumer confidence with the security of cloud providers, who continue to invest in the security of their platforms. CSA referred to a McAfee survey, Navigating a Cloudy Sky, which found that complete trust in public cloud offerings increased 76 percent in 2017.

As CSA noted in this report last year, technology is outpacing the skills sets within companies and businesses to adopt them, according to CSA’s report. “As organizations react to this demand to stay competitive, secure adoption of these technologies becomes an even greater challenge. With cloud and new IT technologies, the supply chain ecosystem needs to collaborate so that large enterprises and regulators can understand how to securely adopt new technologies and new features on existing provider technologies. Each party must play a role in securing customer data and sharing best practices for secure operations.”

Ultimately, education and awareness still needs to improve around provider services and new technologies for the enterprise. “Small-scale adoption projects need to be shared so that security challenges and patterns can be adopted to scale with the business and across industry verticals. This skills gap, particularly around cloud and newer IT technologies, needs to be met by the industry through partnership and collaboration between all parties of the cyber ecosystem.”

For the full report, click here.

 

Abode receives majority stake investment

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Friday, April 20, 2018

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Nice S.p.A., a global home and building automation company, on April 13 acquired 75 percent of abode systems, a provider of DIY security and home automation systems based here, for $18.75 million. The remaining stock is held by abode’s founders.

“We actually had a lot of interest from several larger [companies based] outside the U.S. … but we felt like Nice was the best fit for us. We really liked their team and their focus on design and user experience was one of the things that drew us to their founder, Lauro Buoro,” Chris Carney, co-founder of abode systems, told Security Systems News. Nice and abode first met in 2017, Carney said.

Abode’s security system is self-installed with a self-monitoring option as well as a professional monitoring option supported by UCC’s monitoring center. Abode users can also pick on-demand professional monitoring options. The company has more than 15,000 users now, most of which are in the U.S., according to Carney, but abode has customers in 27 different countries.

“I think that we have the potential to grow into a very competitive company for the foreseeable future based on this,” Carney said. “The main thing for us was getting additional investment and resources to continue to innovate the product, add to what we’ve already built, and then we have some opportunities for geographic expansion.”

Following the investment, abode plans to increase its employee count, particularly in marketing, customer support, and development, Carney said. Abode has 33 employees now and could add between 20 and 25 employees in the next six to 12 months.

“The innovation will move—I think—at a quicker pace and we’ll be able to build and scale to support a growing customer base alongside of that,” said Carney.

The company is currently working on its new iota system, a new, smaller form factor that will be offered alongside abode’s other product. 

There are potential synergies with what Nice does, according to Carney, such as abode’s systems integrating with Nice’s products.

In a prepared statement, Lauro Buoro, founder and chairman of Nice S.p.A., said, “It is a strategic operation for the Group which will allow us to expand on our product range to include the Home Security sector for installers and end users, thereby strengthening Nice’s leadership position in USA and North America, a market that is enjoying growing demand for connected home and building automation and home security solutions.”

Buoro continued, “This partnership represents important leverage in the direct dialogue of Nice with its end user yet safeguarding the business to business distribution channels and services offered to professionals; it also offers up innovative opportunities of integration between various platforms and extraordinary, highly profitable cross-selling options with potential partners in the insurance sector, as well as the range of additional subscription services. [Twenty-five] years after Nice was founded, this is another step forward in the international growth process, in the portfolio of products and services offered by our group, characterized by a strong focus on digitalization, to become the point of reference in the supply of cutting-edge solutions on a global scale, in the home security and smart home industry.”

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