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Sal D'Agostino

Eidola, created for integrators to ensure cybersecurity

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—Have you heard enough about cybersecurity dangers for physical security integrators and manufacturers?

Here’s a new, and perhaps more welcome, angle of the cybersecurity story.

At the Interoperarability Fest on Wednesday night, April 6 at ISC West, you'll be able to see "Eidola." Click here for time and location.

What's Eidola? It's a technical automation and security system lifecycle management platform that’s designed to help integrators and installers secure their installations from the testing and installation stage through the maintenance stage. And it’s also designed to be used to generate RMR for integrators.

Eidola is a new product from IDmachines that “manages the lifecycle of a security solution from a cybersecurity perspective,” Sal D’Agostino, founder and CEO of IDmachines told me. "Eidola checks the make, model, firmware versions and other detailed device information, as well as strength of the device’s connection (authentication) on the network."

D’Agostino is an entrepreneur who has “always been involved in automating things.” He is the former EVP of Core Street and CEO of Computer Recognition Systems, Inc.

D’Agostino said “the complexity of security systems is growing astronomically and there’s a huge skills gap in terms of networking and cybersecurity skills.”  Today’s security systems include “IP-connected devices of all shapes and sizes on the network … you’ve [also] got network gear and stuff on virtual machines,” he said.

D’Agostino has said before that security integrators should “be deploying security solutions not vulnerabilities.” Eidola helps ensure this, he said.

Eidola can be used to test the configuration of a system’s components, and it also provides “a real live sandbox that can emulate an enterprise network,” D’Agostino said.

After that’s done, Eidola can be used to document IP addresses/MAC addresses and ports, so the integrator can deliver “more than just as-built drawings,” D’Agostino said. The integrator can give an end user a document that outlines the “state of the network." The integrator “get a sign-off by the customer on the documented system delivered that can be used again during the operation and maintenance lifecycle.”

This documentation is useful for the end user and integrator and can help identify problems in the future.  

Because Eidola can be used to check on the health of a security system, it can also be used to capture RMR, he said.

Andrew Lanning, co-founder of integration firm IST, said Eidola will be a very important tool for IT-savvy integrators working in enterprise environments, but its greatest value may be for a security company installer who is not an IT expert.

Those installers are adept at using a multi-meter to test voltage levels. D'Agostino describes Eidola as a "multi-meter for the 21st century." Lanning agrees, saying at its most basic level, Eidola is “really a network multi-meter that can let the installer know that a network is sound,” he said.

The roll out of Eidola is underway. It will be “generally available in the next 30 to 60 days” to a select group of integrators. The roll out will include “training, technical training and business model training on how to sell the product,” D’Agostino said.

The integrator will get an Eidola kit and a licence to resell Eidola as a service. “There are a number of different ways in which the product can be monetized by the integrator,” D’Agostino said.  

The Eidola kit has five components: 1. a high-performance, rugged industrial computer with multiple network connections, serial ports and digital I/O that provides the sandbox for the integrator or user's test environment. "This computer can also be left behind in those cases where longer term or harsh environmental testing requirements exist," D'Agostino said. 2. a portable field device (the 21st century multimeter) that also has network, serial and digital I/O. but on a smaller scale. 3. a set of connectors and cabling for easy installation and testing. 4. a travel case 5.training and documentation
 
D'Agostino said that the first two items "have an ad hoc wireless network that can connect to any Wi-Fi supported device, typically a smartphone or tablet, which provides an easy-to-use, push-button interface for performing the diagnostic, configuration and viewing and sharing the reports."

A broader roll out of the product is planned for later this year.