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Celebrating women in security

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Just in case you weren’t aware, March is National Women’s History month, and a great reason to shine a light on the contributions women are making in the security industry today.

And just in case you weren’t aware, Security Systems News has made it its business to celebrate women in security. In fact, for the past 10 years we have devoted an entire issue each year, usually in December, to highlight many of the leaders in the security industry who just happen to be women.

As I attend PSA TEC in Denver this week (look for my full wrap-up in the coming days), and listen and learn from the many female speakers here at the conference, there are reminders of the wonderful impact women are having on the security industry today. Leaders like Christine Lanning, president of Integrated Security Technologies—and the first woman on the PSA Board of Directors (congrats!)—Janet Fenner, director of new business development for Dahua, Sandy Jones, founder and principal for Sandra Jones & Company, Rebecca Bayne, president of BCSI, and Jennifer Phillips, national deployment program manager, PSA, to name just a few.

Another great reminder of how far we have come in this industry is the announcement from the Security Industry Association (SIA) last week—fittingly on International Women’s Day—of the establishment of the SIA Women in Security Forum to support the participation of women in the security industry. Through programs, professional development and networking events, the committee will engage members, both men and women, who share this goal.

We at SSN applaud SIA for raising greater awareness to the importance of further supporting the participation of women in the security industry, as this is a very important step that we will look back on as sort of a watershed moment or milestone in the evolution of the security industry.

The inaugural steering committee for the SIA Women in Security Forum includes (listed alphabetically by company):

•    Elaine Palome, Axis Communications
•    Chelsea Render, Bosch
•    Kelly Bond, Brivo
•    Vicky Lowe, Convergint Technologies
•    Janet Fenner, Dahua Technology USA
•    Sherida Sessa, ISC Security Events
•    Dawne Hanks, Milestone Systems
•    Christine Hamberis, ScanSource
•    Alice DiSanto, Sharp Intellos
•    Maureen Carlo, Videotec Security

“It is an honor to serve on SIA’s new Women in Security committee as it recognizes the countless women working in this industry, and our collective achievements and contributions," Dahua’s Fenner said in the announcement. "It also presents a great opportunity to engage, mentor and help further empower a new generation of women executives in the physical security industry,”

Sharp’s DiSanto added: “It is a privilege to serve a forum keenly focused on propelling women within the security industry. Providing a venue where future female leaders can strengthen their know-how, while networking and brainstorming around future solutions with peers can only improve competency and esteem.”

Palome of Axis Communications pointed out,. “Our success depends on the quality skill, and values of our employees. At Axis, we believe that a diverse and talented workforce is a key competitive advantage and that different backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences are important drivers of innovation. We are pleased to be taking part in this joint initiative with SIA,” said

Potential goals for the forum include:

•    Create mentorship/sponsorship programs to advocate for advancement and build confidence in the workplace.
•    Connect women in the industry through networking events.
•    Develop a recruiting program for next generation female professionals and leaders.
•    Initiate an ongoing dialogue between male and female leaders to enhance mutual understanding.
•    Identify platforms that can provide visibility for women.
•    Spearhead an issue that will create opportunities for women to work together and be at the forefront of a major initiative.

Membership is open to SIA members in good standing (nonmembers are eligible for up to 90 days). To get involved or to get more information, contact Kim Landgraf, SIA staff manager, at


SIA honors Axis Communications’ James Marcella

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has selected James Marcella, director, Technical Services, Axis Communications Inc., as 2017 SIA Committee Chair of the Year for his work with the SIA Education Committee.

With this award, SIA honors Marcella for his work in strengthening education programming for the security industry through SIA Education. SIA Chairman Denis Hébert will present the 2017 Committee Chair of the Year Award to Marcella at The Advance, SIA's annual membership meeting, scheduled to occur on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, during ISC West in Las Vegas.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for my work with SIA,” said Marcella. “SIA serves as a keystone for the security industry, connecting many different companies together in a common cause. It serves as a powerful platform for promulgating the latest industry education, whether to share news of regulations and best practices or to update professionals on the latest developments in state of the art technology. I look forward to continuing to guide SIA course offerings as the association’s Education Committee Chair.”

Scott Dunn, senior director, Business Development Solutions & Services, ‎Axis Communications, said, “James takes every opportunity to educate our current and new team members on the mission and values of SIA and the importance of being involved in moving our industry forward to meet the challenges we face. He is a great internal teacher as well. He instructs us on our work with SIA and how to maximize the efforts with various other committees to bring value to SIA and its members. He has made us all better in that work.”

SIA CEO Don Erickson added, “I very much appreciate the time James has put into leading the Education Committee and working with SIA. I recognize there are many different places he could spend his time with associations and the fact that he has made so many important contributions to help educate the industry in this role is greatly appreciated!”

The contributions Marcella has made as SIA Education Committee Chair include:

•    Co-creating the curriculum for the Systems Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree in Security Systems and Technologies, and serving as the main instructor
•    Leading the update of the Security Project Management Common Body of Knowledge Guidebook
•    Serving as a member of the ISC Education Conference Advisory Board
•    Assisting with the development of Securing New Ground executive conference program content
•    Championing the Certified Security Project Manager certification
•    Promoting SIA across the security industry

Hébert will present the Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award and SIA Chairman's Award, at The Advance, held during ISC West in Rooms 505/506 of the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, April 10, 10:30-11:30 a.m. The Advance is co-located with ISC West, produced by ISC Security Events. Find more info, click here.

ISC West gears up for 2018 show, educational sessions

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Earlier this month ISC West announced the program for its SIA Education@ISC for the 2018 show, to be held April 10-12. I got the chance to speak with Sherida Sessa, industry VP for ISC events, and Kimberly Roberts, SIA’s director of education and training, about some of the sessions and themes that attendees can look forward to at ISC West 2018.

“We’re very excited that we have over 85 sessions scheduled for this year. They really run the gamut, they cover most of the new and trending topics that we’re seeing in the industry, many are technologically based,” said Sessa. “You’re going to see a lot of new content this year,” she added.

“This year, we do have a standards in interoperability track … and also a security professionals under 40 track, and those are two brand new tracks that we have not had before in previous years,” Roberts said. The professionals under 40 track will be “more geared towards professionals on the integrator and manufacturer side,” she added.

Several themes from the show floor are represented in the educational sessions, Sessa said. “We’ve done that strategically. It really makes it easier for the attendees if they can learn about something in the classroom and then walk upstairs and actually see it in a working environment on the show floor,” she said.

A core theme to ISC West 2018 is comprehensive security, Sessa said. The theme encompasses the Connected Security Expo @ ISC West, which has been part of the show since 2016. “That’s actually in its third year now and is an entire area of the exhibit floor that provides holistic solutions from the IT and IoT perspective. That translates right over into our education program as well, we do have two tracks of education that focus on that: a people and process track and a technology track,” Sessa said.

This year’s ISC West show floor will also have the Unmanned Security & Safety Expo @ ISC West, which started last year and has been growing, according to Sessa. “Kimberly and the SIA team have done an excellent job of adding content to the education program that corresponds to that trend as well,” she said.

The show floor will feature more connected home technologies and there are educational sessions on these technologies as well. 

ISC West 2018’s show floor will introduce a new area for start up companies, called the Emerging Technology Zone. “It’s going to be located just near registration … on level one of the show. So, it’ll be an all new exhibit area,” Sessa said. “It’s really designed to offer an entry option for companies that are brand new to the industry.”

She continued, “We hear from attendees all the time, in our survey research, that they really come to trade shows specifically to find cutting-edge technology and brand new products. So this is one way to make it a little bit easier for them to do that.”

SIA has planned an interesting session for the Tuesday before the show floor opens, called “What’s New at ISC West?” Here, Steve Oplinger, systems design manager for Integrated Fire and Security Solutions, and J Kelly Stewart, managing director and CEO of Newcastle Consulting LLC, will present a preview of key technologies and companies they think attendees should see on the show floor.

One session that Roberts highlighted was the Active Shooter Workshop, which is a session that SIA is bringing back from 2017. “Unfortunately, in the day and time that we live in, there’s certain situations that we can’t control,” she said, adding that the presented will help end users and integrators look at technologies to implement.

Sessa highlighted another track, Security Megatrends, which includes sessions on the smart home, the DIY market, artificial intelligence, and access control.

Both Roberts and Sessa gave credit to the Education Advisory Board for the lineup of sessions coming to this year’s ISC West.

PSA, SIA and ISC launch cybersecurity conference

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DENVER—Cyber:Secured Forum, a cybersecurity summit focusing on integrated systems, will launch with an inaugural gathering here, on June 4-6, 2018, under a partnership formed by PSA Security Network, the world's largest systems integrator cooperative, ISC Security Events (Reed Exhibitions, the global tradeshow company) and the Security Industry Association (SIA), a leading trade association for global security solution providers.

“Sophisticated cybervulnerabilities and threats are emerging every day, and it is critical for the physical security and systems integration industry to accelerate its delivery of compelling education to help all industry stakeholders mitigate the risk of cyberattacks to business continuity,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement.

Cyber:Secured Forum will feature in-depth content on cybersecurity trends and best practices as related to the delivery of physical security systems and other integrated systems. Content is being collaboratively developed by SIA and PSA Security Network’s education teams and will feature top cybersecurity leaders.

“Cybersecurity is no longer just a threat—it’s a real issue knocking on the doors of security and IT professionals on a daily basis,” Bill Bozeman, president and CEO, PSA Security Network, said in the announcement. “The time for just being in reaction mode is behind us now. As security leaders, we have a responsibility to step forward and be part of the frontline defense when it comes to cybersecurity, just as we have been part of the frontline defense when it comes to physical security issues for decades. The goal of this conference is to empower attendees with real tools and knowledge to do just that.”

The two-day event will provide leaders in the IT and physical security industries with opportunities to connect and share information on risks and liabilities, responding to cybersecurity threats, and establishing security control standards across IT systems and particularly when integrating physical security solutions and devices on IT networks.

Additionally, sponsor exhibits will help showcase solutions related to cybersecurity, integrated systems and physical security solutions.

“At our recent ISC West and ISC East events, the educational sessions on cyber-physical integration and connected security have been in high-demand,” Will Wise, group vice president of the Security Portfolio, Reed Exhibitions. “In-depth education, training and industry collaboration is essential to ensure safe and secure systems for the market. We’re enthusiastic about this partnership with PSA Security Network and SIA to address this important market need.”

For more information about this new event and to be added to the event mailing list, visit

SIA launches new robot-focused working group

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Security Industry Association on Dec. 1 announced its new Autonomous Security Robots Working Group, appointing Mark McCourt as the group’s chair. McCourt talked with Security Systems News about the group’s formation and core focuses.

McCourt said that he’s been working on the group since September. “We thought about getting out in front of this topic by taking the robotics, the drone, the anti-drone [or] drone defense, underwater unmanned vehicles, that section of the market that serves security, and start early on what SIA’s platform should be to help grow this industry successfully as a partner.”

This would give robotics companies a more direct reason to be a part of SIA, getting a voice at the table with SIA’s various segments, such as its legislative, education and standards teams, McCourt added. The Autonomous Security Robots Working Group is a part of SIA’s existing Public Safety Interest Group. The working group is currently seeking input and participants.

“We want to create good communications around this topic that we can get out and talk to people about.”

The working group will be looking at a variety of relevant topics. “One of the things we want to do is hone in on the go-to-market strategy and the role of channel partners,” McCourt said.

Education for end users and security practitioners—to inform them of the benefits of robots within security—will be a goal of the working group. “It’s not all about job replacement and cost reduction,” McCourt said. There are other elements of productiveness, and allowing people who might have their jobs impacted by robots doing other tasks to add value to their organization

“Robotics technology, especially when powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, has the potential to reshape how we think about security,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in a prepared statement. “The Autonomous Security Robots Working Group will help industry members and end users manage and leverage this change to greatly enhance the protection of people and property.”

McCourt currently works with Cobalt Robotics, helping the company with commercialization.

SIA applauds passage of Power and Security Systems Act

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

President Donald Trump recently signed into law the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act, P.L. 115-78, culminating a yearlong effort led by the Security Industry Association (SIA) to preserve an important provision in federal energy efficiency requirements critical to the operation of security and fire alarm systems.

"The PASS Act provides much-needed certainty to manufacturers, installers and service providers who are among thousands of Americans that work in the security industry … but ultimately it benefits the millions of American consumers that depend on such security and life safety systems." Jake Parker, SIA Director of Government Relations, said in the SIA announcement.

Drafted with assistance from SIA and in collaboration with the energy efficiency community, the PASS Act extends a policy exempting security and life safety external power supplies (EPS) from having to meet a "no-load mode" energy efficiency standard, since they must always be connected and in active mode by design and no efficiency gains would result.

The new law makes the exemption essentially permanent by removing the July 1, 2017 expiration date on the exemption and providing the U.S. Department of Energy with authority to retain the common-sense policy in any future updates to energy efficiency standards governing external power supplies.

SIA led a coalition of industry groups in working with Congress to secure the exemption in 2011, which included a "sunset provision"—a common way of ensuring a new policy set forth in legislation is reviewed by Congress before becoming more permanent.

Preserving this exemption was a key concern for security manufactures and systems integrators, according to SIA, noting, “Without it, product redesign and adjustments to manufacturing processes would needlessly increase the cost of the equipment by 200-300 percent according to industry estimates, affecting not just manufacturers but the entire value chain.”

Enactment of this important solution would not have been possible without the bipartisan leadership of the bill's sponsors Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), as well as Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Susan Brooks (R-Ind). Over the past two years, Gardner, Welch and Brooks have been recognized with SIA's Legislator of the Year award for their support of this and other policies important to the security industry.

Steve Van Till of Brivo to receive Hauhn Award

​​SIA to present industry award during SIA Honors Night on Nov. 15

SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association (SIA) announced that it will present the Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award to Brivo CEO Steve Van Till at SIA Honors Night on Nov. 15, 2017, at The Current at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

SIA announces keynote speaker for Securing New Ground 2017


SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association announced Rose M. Littlejohn, managing director, security, meeting and events services and U.S. travel, PricewaterhouseCoopers, as a keynote presenter for Securing New Ground 2017, to be held in New York City, Oct. 26-27.

SIA raises advocacy efforts

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Security Industry Association (SIA) announced this week the establishment of a political action committee (PAC) called the SecurityPAC, which was formed to bolster its advocacy efforts to fully engage within the U.S. political process on matters affecting the security industry.

The timing of this announcement couldn’t be better as it comes a week before the SIA GovSummit, a leading public policy forum for the security industry set for June 28-29 on Capitol Hill and at The Liaison Capitol Hill.

“SecurityPAC was established to strengthen the voice of the security industry on Capitol Hill, by enabling SIA members to support candidates for federal office who will champion issues that are important to the industry,” Joseph Hoellerer, SIA Government Relations manager told Security Systems News. “There are hundreds of trade associations in Washington with robust advocacy efforts and SecurityPAC provides SIA with an additional and important tool to advance the policy priorities of its members.”

The newly formed SecurityPAC will raise funds solely from SIA members to support candidates for federal office who champion important industry issues, and will support matters pertaining but not limited to issues such as homeland security, cybersecurity, federal procurement and critical infrastructure protection.

“The establishment of the SecurityPAC follows the core mission of SIA, which is ‘to be a catalyst for success within the global security industry through information, insight and influence,’” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement. “The Security Industry Association’s political action committee will enable the association to do just that by adding a vital voice to the national dialogue during federal elections. With SecurityPAC, we will support crucial causes for the improved security posture of the entire country.”

Contributions to SecurityPAC are strictly voluntary and in compliance with statutorily defined regulations of the Federal Election Commission. SIA members with user credentials can access the SecurityPAC website at Employees of SIA member companies interested in gaining access to the site should contact Joe Hoellerer at 301-804-4714 or

Axis' Steve Surfaro to chair SIA's new Public Safety Working Group

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Security Industry Association (SIA) recently announced its establishment of the SIA Public Safety Working Group, which will be chaired by Steve Surfaro, industry liaison, Axis Communications.

“This working group has been in the works for quite some time,” Surfaro told Security Systems News. “SIA began working on public safety through some work with the Homeland Security Science and Technology group, and it was thought that one of the best ways to really serve the security industry and public safety industry was to come up with a very agile and focused working group.”

According to SIA CEO Don Erickson, the goal with standing up the SIA Public Safety Working Group is to develop recommendations to improve the safety, security, and sustainability of cities and communities using technology, as well as provide advocacy of public policies in support of the group’s mission.

"As new and developing technologies undergo trial and testing or enter the field in use by public safety agencies, it is critical that the security industry maintain its voice in the appropriate adoption and deployment of these technologies," Erickson said in the announcement. "SIA members are uniquely qualified to provide council alongside active practitioners in police, fire, emergency medical services and other disciplines to maintain the safety and security of our cities and communities."

Erickson is excited to have Surfaro as the inaugural chairperson for the SIA Public Safety Working Group. “His connections throughout the security industry are exemplified by his achievements, for example, as chair of the Security Applied Sciences Council for ASIS International," he said.

The working group will involve a number of different key entities within the security and public safety spaces, including practitioners, solution providers, systems integrators and specialty manufacturers.

“The most important thing to realize is the PSWG is going to have equal representation across all interested parties, by both practitioners and solution providers, especially SIA members,” said Surfaro. “The mission is to provide guidance through education and publications, including special education sessions and events at ISC West and ISC East, for example, as well as a centralized repository of subject matter experts who have already had success overcoming public safety security challenges.”

In addition to looking at emerging technologies, such as autonomous systems and unmanned vehicles, the working group is creating a Tactical Solutions Handbook, a working document that will be the working group’s “first deliverable,” said Surfaro.

“A while ago with Homeland Security Science and Technology we had some great success together with SIA in publishing a Video Quality handbook,” he explained. “But now things are not just about video—they are about access control, acoustic sensing and signal detection, thermal imaging, screening techniques, body worn cameras, license plate technology, explosives detection—to name just a few.”

He continued, “Everything that we are going to put into this handbook is going to be equally used by both public safety and corporations with high risk, which will be able to get guidance for hardening their facilities as well.”

The working group should have four- to five chapters of the handbook ready by the fall, said Surfaro. “Each chapter will have a structure where a SME leads each chapter, and then has contributors,” he explained. “And then each of the contributors for the other chapters are going to be reviewers on the chapters they did not write, which will add to the collaborative nature of the handbook.”

Surfaro said the handbook will benefit greatly from having so many different perspectives. “We need to be agile enough to be able to work with multiple practitioner groups and leverage the SIA membership, which is very far-reaching with a lot of solution providers, and they will have a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the working group and to this handbook.”

Another goal with the handbook is to provide a guide for matching the different types of emerging threats today with an appropriate tactical solution. “So it will be a nice use-case method where the security industry will learn more about what is happening in public safety and public safety will learn about how many of the solutions that they need to defend against these emerging threats already exist,” said Surfaro.

Since the announcement, SIA and Surfaro have already gotten a great response from those interested in contributing. “In the past week alone, there are many who have reached out to SIA and myself pledging interest in the working group,” said Surfaro. “And it has been a wide variety of folks—systems integrators, solution providers, as well as those who are involved in law enforcement and fire. Working within a consensus-driven environment is vitally important with a group like this.”