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ESA announces Leadership Summit keynote

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Electronic Security Associatoin recently announced that Dr. Joseph Kuhns, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of North Carolina, will be the keynote speaker for the 2017 ESA Leadership Summit, to be held Feb. 12 through Feb. 15 in Tampa, Fla.

“Dr. Kuhns brings extensive experience and knowledge from the world of criminology that will provide attendees with helpful data that can be applied to how they approach the market and work with their customers,” Merlin Guilbeau, CEO of the Electronic Security Association, told Security Systems News in an email interview.

Kuhns will present the general session, entitled “Burglary Victim Adaptations & What Security Businesses Should Know,” on Monday, February 13 at 12:45 p.m.

Security businesses will be given statistics and information that they will be able to use when training employees, marketing their businesses and advising customers on the best methods to secure their premises,” Guilbeau said. “Attendees will also be able to understand the change of mindset post-burglary to better serve the segment of the market that has experienced a break in.”

In ESA’s announcement, Dr. Kuhns said, “Residential burglary victims should know that their chances of being victimized again, following a successful burglary, are frequently high. Therefore, improving their home safety and security, in multiple ways, is highly recommended.”

There will be new features at the upcoming summit, according to Guilbeau, such as a new app for the event’s schedule, details, sponsor information and for communication between attendees. “We are also introducing an attendee engagement tool, so that the audience can interact live with speakers at the Summit,” he said.

“Education and networking are the two key components of the Summit’s program, and we fully expect that this topic and the findings shared by Dr. Kuhns will provide attendees with a lot to discuss with one another during all of the social events,” Guilbeau said.

Securing IoT

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Last week’s malware attack sent a sobering chill through the security industry, as it illuminated the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of IoT products, showing how easy it is to hack into unsecured IP devices.

The hackers, who were able to affect sites including Twitter, Spotify and CNN, launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack using tens of millions of malware-infected devices connected to the Internet to overwhelm Dyn, a provider of Domain Name System services.

Although the attack amounted to a temporary inconvenience for millions, it underscored the need for cybersecurity standards for the IoT world.

Toward that end, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) released this month a new guidance report titled “Future-proofing the Connected World: 13 Steps to Developing Secure IoT Products,” which was created to help designers and developers of IoT-related products and services understand the basic security measures that must be incorporated throughout the development process.

With the release of this report, the CSA looks to provide much needed education and direction to product developers who know their products are at risk of compromise, but may lack the understanding as to where to start the process for mitigating that risk.

“It is often heard in our industry that securing IoT products and systems is an insurmountable effort,” Brian Russell, chair IoT Working Group and chief engineer, cyber security solutions with Leidos, said in the announcement. “However, with the help of our extremely knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers, we are providing a strong starting point for organizations that have begun transforming their existing products into IoT-enabled devices, as well as newly emerging IoT startups. We hope to empower developers and organizations with the ability to create a security strategy that will help mitigate the most pressing threats to both consumer and business IoT products.”

Specifically, the report lays out 13 considerations and guidance for designing and developing reasonably secure IoT devices, to mitigate some of the more common issues that can be found with IoT device development. Additionally, realizing that often times there is a need to quickly identify the critical security items in a product development lifecycle, researchers also outline the top five security considerations that when applied will begin to increase an IoT product’s security posture substantially.

The CSA IoT Working Group is focusing on understanding the relevant use cases for IoT deployments and defining actionable guidance for security practitioners to secure their implementations. The group is led by Russell, with initiative leads Priya Kuber and Dr. Shyam Sundaram. Nearly 30 CSA IoT working group members contributed to development of the 80-plus page guidance report.

The full report is available at

COPS sees quick response times during hurricane

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

COPS Monitoring recently announced that it was able to achieve a 12.4 second average response time during Hurricane Matthew—quicker than the company’s 13.9 second average for priority response in the past 12 months. COPS gave credit to its team for the achievement.

“Achieving a 13.9 second response time is difficult enough. When a situation like severe weather causes alarm traffic to increase 20 to 30 percent, it’s not uncommon for many central stations to have response times that are much higher; sometimes minutes, rather than seconds,” David Smith, COPS’ VP of marketing & business development, told Security Systems News via email. “So, the fact that we were able to reduce an already fast response time by more than 10 percent for five straight days despite a significant increase in alarm traffic is truly a remarkable feat.”

 “The 12.4 second response time was for all priority alarms nationwide; including the alarms in the areas that were affected,” Smith continued. “Luckily, the eye of the storm stayed off the coast and we only experienced a lot of rain and wind from the outer storm bands.”

COPS had a disaster preparedness plan in place, including having its Boca Raton, Fla., monitoring center built to stand up to a hurricane. “The extensive planning is what gave us the flexibility to allow us to reduce our staff in Florida so they could focus on their own homes and families. Because all the hard work had already been done, planning for Hurricane Matthew involved over-staffing our other central stations to compensate.  We have a great team at COPS and there is never a shortage of volunteers – including from our Florida central station.”

In the announcement, Jim McMullen, president and COO of COPS Monitoring, said that the company was planning to reduce the staff in the Boca Raton monitoring center to “just a few essential technical support members. … However, after ensuring their families were safe, several dispatchers committed to working through the storm to help protect our dealers and their subscribers,” McMullen said in a prepared statement.

The rise of security

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Several reports have come out in the past month looking to quantify growth within security, each illuminating the fact that the industry is growing both here in North America and globally as well.

In terms of the global security market, the first Worldwide Semiannual Security Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), released last week, forecasts that worldwide revenues for security-related hardware, software, and services will grow from $73.7 billion in 2016 to $101.6 billion in 2020—at a CAGR of 8.3 percent, more than twice the rate of overall IT spending growth over the five-year forecast period.

The largest category of investment will be security-related services, which will account for nearly 45 percent of all security spending worldwide in 2016, and the largest segment within that category, managed security services, is forecast to generate revenues of $13 billion this year. Security software will be the second largest category in 2016, with endpoint security, identity and access management, and security and vulnerability management software driving more than 75 percent of the category's revenues.

The industries making the largest investments in security solutions in 2016 will be banking ($8.6 billion), followed by discrete manufacturing, federal/central government, and process manufacturing. The industries that will see the fastest growth in their security investments will be healthcare, followed by telecommunications, utilities, state/local government, and securities and investment services. Each of these industries will experience CAGRs above 9.0 percent over the forecast period.

Interestingly, one of the fastest growing segments of the security products market will be user-behavior analytics software—growing at a CAGR of 12.2 percent through 2020, an area that many of our "20 under 40" Class of 2016 winners, both integrators and end users, mentioned as one of the most promising technology areas right now in the industry.

Many are working to get to a point where all of the data coming in, including video, can be mined and managed for use with predictive analytics, better time management, faster and more accurate alarm verification, operational efficiencies—the list goes on an on.

The topic also generated a lot of interest in this month's News Poll, where we asked you, our readers, about the top emerging technologies coming out of ASIS 2016 in September. According to 43 percent of respondents, video surveillance and VMS was the most talked about technology at ASIS 2016, with thirty-one percent saying that big data/analytics was the most talked about.

All told, there is a lot to get excited about in the industry right now.


Owen Security makes third acquisition of 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

CALHOUN, Ga.—Owen Security Solutions, based in Calhoun, Ga., announced today that it has acquired Tight Security Systems.

Justin Owen, company president, told Security Systems News that the company will continue to grow by acquisitions in the future. “Financially speaking, it just makes too much sense to not go down that road.” The company isn’t looking to complete any before December, he added.

The 600 account addition brings Owen Security's total customer base over the 5000 account mark. Owen said that the company started 2016 with about 3000 accounts.  

This is the third acquisition, both this year and in the company's history, for Owen. The company acquired the accounts of Davis Security Services in September, and Medley Systems in July. 

Scott Bishop, the owner of Tight Security, will join Owen Security to help the transition.  “He’s staying on with us as a hybrid position, [responsible for] business development, service technician, technician trainer,” Owen said.

“Extends our footprint a little bit, geographically speaking. But, for the most part, we’re already overlapping that area with plenty of customers,” Owen said.

Tight Security’s business, based out of Ellijay, Ga., was about 95 percent residential, Owen estimated, with some small retail accounts. Owen Security is about 60 percent residential.

Owen Security and Tight Security are both in small communities, Owen pointed out. “We feel like it's a good culture fit, and we can work with his customers really well,” he said.

Owen Security currently has about 30 employees, but is looking to add on between three and five more before the end of the year, Owen said. 

Convergint buys Go Security Solutions

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Convergint Technologies, a global systems integration company with headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill., completed its seventh acquisition of the year with the purchase of Go Security Solutions, a systems integrator based in Westborough, Mass.

Dan Moceri, executive chairman and co-founder of Convergint Technologies, told Security Systems News that he is excited to have the Go Security Solutions team join the Convergint family.

“The company fits the criteria that we are looking for, which includes a strong culture—similar to Convergint’s—that is focused on service and the customer,” said Moceri. “They have a great reputation in the marketplace and really bring additional capabilities to extend service to our customers.”

Founded in 2009, Go Security Solutions is a full-service systems integrator specializing in electronic access control, video surveillance, alarm systems, and mechanical security solutions. 

Moceri said the deal increases Convergint’s footprint in the Northeast. “It is a highly populated area, and we need to add resources,” he said. “We are growing in excess of 20 percent, and we are hiring more than a person a day somewhere in the world to support that growth and be able to provide the type of service that our customers have come to expect from us.”

Go Security Solutions is the seventh acquisition that Convergint has completed since January of 2016. 

“We continue to grow organically but we also have supplemented that with strategic acquisitions where it makes sense to do that, and in some cases it is geographic coverage,” Moceri explained. “Our business in the northeast has been growing very nicely, and we are hiring people as fast as we can, but in some cases we are supplementing that with key acquisitions that can bring us additional resources.”

What is the key to Convergint’s success? “We invest a lot in the training and development of our team,” said Moceri. “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the infrastructure to support the growth, and we’ve spent a lot of time and money identifying the future leaders, and a lot of those leaders will come out of the organization itself, but we also look to some of the acquisitions to supplement the leadership needs of the organization as well.”

In terms of overall growth, Moceri said that Convergint “will get close” to the $600 million revenue mark for 2016, which “is up significantly from the $470 million that we were at last year,” he said.

When asked if Convergint is done on the acquisition front this year, Moceri said, “We’ve got quite a few acquisitions in the pipeline, and now that we are getting toward the end of the year, timing is everything. We have the potential of closing at least one more deal by the end of the year, and we expect to be just as active in 2017 as we were in 2016.”


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BOCA RATON, Fla.—ADT has joined PPVAR, the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response, according to an announcement on Monday.

“As a full industry member, ADT is entitled to participate in the ongoing development of best practices between the alarm industry and law enforcement on many different levels,” Larry Folsom, president of PPVAR told Security Systems News in an email interview. “As members, PPVAR stakeholders are moving beyond the ‘wait and see’ of alarm verification evolution, and instead are part of the conversation that is shaping the future.”

Adding ADT assists the organization with its message. “Every voice that joins this conversation helps advance the PPVAR mission of promoting and prioritizing verified alarm response, but gaining the voice of ADT is particularly important,” Folsom said. “This is a company that represents millions of monitoring subscribers across almost every police jurisdiction in the land.”

ADT has a lot to offer in terms of relationships, ideas, time, and resources, Folsom added.

“ADT strongly believes in the process and the values of PPVAR and its members,” Don Young, chief information officer at ADT, said in a prepared statement. “The emergence of high-quality video and intrusion detection technology, and the resulting rise in efficiency of central monitoring practices, has been undeniable in the effectiveness of alarm verification for protecting the public and law enforcement alike.”

Folsom said that ADT has already become involved in the organization. “ADT has hit the ground running and has already expressed interest in helping with the refinement of our best practices and the development of operator training,” according to Folsom.

In mid-August, PPVAR put out a call for volunteers to aid the organization in forming online operator training related to alarm verification. “The first course module is expected to be completed before the end of the year,” Folsom said. “We expect the ADT team of professionals to participate and contribute to the development of each of these additional course modules along the way.”

PPVAR, established in 2012, currently has almost 80 member companies, according to Folsom. “In the long-term, the addition of ADT further stabilizes the organization and ensures its health and vitality well into the future,” he said. 

Study: Top security companies’ market share to grow

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

LONDON—The market share of the top 15 security equipment and services companies will continue to grow through 2020, according to latest IHS Markit Physical Security Equipment and Services Report, released this week.

The combined equipment and services market was estimated to be $123.67 billion in 2015, with the equipment market forecast to grow at a CAGR of 8.5 percent to 2020, and the services market forecast to grow at a CAGR 4.5 percent to 2020, according to Oliver Philippou, IHS Markit senior analyst.

“The market share of the top 15 security equipment and services companies accounted for 21.4 percent of the equipment and services market in 2014, growing to 23.1 percent in 2015,” Philippou told Security Systems News, a trend that he expects to continue in 2016 with all of the consolidation that is taking place.

“It is important to note that this market share estimate does not include mergers and acquisitions that have taken place in 2016, such as the merger of Tyco with Johnson Controls, the acquisition of Diebold’s North American electronics security business by Securitas, the acquisition of ADT by Apollo Global Management and merger with Protection 1 and ASG Security,” he explained. “These three deals will further expand the market share of the top 15 security companies.”

IHS estimates that in 2015 Tyco International was the largest supplier to the equipment and services market, comprising 3.8 percent of the market, followed by ADT at 2.9 percent, and the biggest mover, Hikvision at 2.5 percent.

But it is not just large-scale acquisitions that are concentrating supply. “Chinese firms like Hikvision and Dahua Technology have continued to grow much faster than the market average, not only in their domestic market but internationally, too,” said Philippou. “Part of their success has been down to offering products at lower prices than their competitors.”

The report also found that integrators are increasingly leveraging single-vendor solutions to reduce installation costs and focus on the more profitable service and maintenance contracts.

“The market share data of the solutions providers has increased more than the ‘best of breed’ vendors—this was the initial trigger to investigate this,” noted Philippou. “When speaking with integrators we found that the mid- to low end market has seen an increase in the use of solutions providers, [which] allows integrators to get better deals on equipment that is supposed to be easier to install as integration is not as difficult.”  

Editor’s note: For this IHS report, the equipment market consists of video surveillance, access control, intruder alarms, entrance control, consumer video surveillance, mobile video surveillance and body-worn cameras, and enterprise storage, while the services market consists of access control as a service (ACaaS), video surveillance as a service (VSaaS), remote monitoring services, and security systems integration.

Dynamark creates new funding program

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

HAGERSTOWN, Md.—Dynamark announced in late September a new funding program for its alarm dealers, allowing dealers to get loans for their accounts.

Hank Groff, senior VP of sales and business development for Dynamark, told Security Systems News that the funding program is a new approach for the company. “It really is fulfilling a demand by security companies across the country of providing a financial solution for them to continue to be independent and working with a central station that provides them financial solutions,” he said.

The program will have two options, Groff explained. The first is its Account Loan Program, where a dealer will get a loan for each account they bring online. The second is the Credit Line Program, allowing dealers access to a line of credit.

“The first option is best utilized for someone who is either a start up, and doesn't have the reoccurring monthly revenue, or who has been a long-time security dealer, selling their paper through a funding program,” Groff said.

Dynamark is partnering with two financial institutions to provide the funding, Groff said.

Alongside this option, the company will also continue to buy accounts directly from dealers, it said in the announcement.

The option to sell accounts to Dynamark benefits dealers in the program, according to Groff. “The benefit is, if down the road they ever choose to sell any of these accounts, because they’re already with us … they can present the portfolio to us or any percentage [of their portfolio], we can look at it—we already know that it’s being monitored with us—and we can make an easy transaction.”

Before joining the program, dealers can get a consultation from one of Dynamark’s regional managers, without any commitment, the company said.

Head in the cloud

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

As the headline suggests, much of the focus here at SSN lately is on the cloud, specifically our second annual Cloud+ conference, which is in Austin, Texas, at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, Nov. 29-30. This year’s conference program is designed to provide answers to many of the questions that manufacturers, integrators and end users have when thinking about going to a cloud-based or cloud-hosted solution.

During my time at ASIS 2016 last week, and speaking with attendees, I found that many who have already ventured into the cloud are seeing positive outcomes, while many more are thinking about and/or looking into how they can leverage the cloud to better serve customers. One take-away from the show and these conversations: Cloud-based technology is transforming the security industry.

In terms of adoption, the public sector is embracing the cloud in a big way. A new study that came out this week reveals that 82 percent of public sector cloud adopters say their agency or institution will increase spending on cloud computing in 2017, including 85 percent federal, 81 percent higher education and 76 percent state and local, according to a new report, Destination Cloud: The Federal and SLED Cloud Journey, by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT.

The five-year outlook is even more interesting, with plans to nearly double cloud use from 35 percent up to 60 percent, the study found.

Public sector cloud adopters are stepping on the gas, according to the report, from police stations and state colleges to our nation’s capital. Today, 55 percent of cloud adopters are evaluating cloud solutions as part of their overall IT strategy and the remaining 45 percent are evaluating cloud solutions for a limited number of specific applications.

Early cloud adopters report that cost saving is a key cloud driver—65 percent of federal, 67 percent of state and local, and 59 percent of higher education. In addition, respondents say they now look to cloud options first when considering new investments—65 percent federal, 56 percent state and local, and 63 percent higher education.

Those investments have huge returns, according to the report. Public sector cloud adopters see improvements in productivity, customer services, and cost savings by moving applications to the cloud. 

This is why Cloud+ is such an essential conference, as it provides the perfect forum for mapping out a strategy and plan moving forward into this great new technological frontier that we call the cloud.