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Andrew Lanning

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.
 

Guest Commentary: Technology trends in paradise

Andrew Lanning provides an integrator’s perspective on the recent HICTA show
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03/28/2016

HONOLULU—A group of 100 technology folks brought some serious security thought-leadership on topics such as identity management, cybersecurity, privacy and big data during the Hawaii Information Communication & Technology Association’s (HICTA’s) “Trends in Technology” trade show, which took place in Honolulu in March.

Educating integrators about cybersecurity for work on college campuses and elsewhere

IST’s Andrew Lanning: ‘It's incumbent upon us to elevate our game’
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03/17/2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—Andrew Lanning enjoys visiting college campuses and “the ubiquity of their Wi-Fi access.” But the reason he is on campus, usually, is that easy Wi-Fi access means easy prey for hackers and cyber threats.

Lanning illuminates simple cybersecurity step for integrators

Protocol 802.1x is easy way to protect customers, business
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05/06/2015

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—Part of every integrator’s cybersecurity strategy right now should be a very basic step, configuring 802.1x on exterior cameras, according to Andrew Lanning, co-founder of systems integration firm IST, which is based in Hawaii.

Women and security technology

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I’m here at PSA-TEC in Westminster, Colo., where today I had a chance to catch up with Christine Lanning, president of systems integration firm IST.

Christine and her husband Andrew (CEO) founded IST, a PSA Security owner, in 1998. Here’s a story I wrote about the company a couple years ago.  This year, Christine was honored as one of this year’s Women’s Security Council 2014 Women of the Year.

IST just finished moving its headquarters to a new facility that they own, (and saving 30 percent owning rather than leasing, thanks mostly to favorable conditions for an SBA loan.)

It was a year-long transition for IST to deal with permits and build out the new headquarters. “That meant we were without a demo or training space [in house] for a year,” she said.

Christine said they didn’t realize how much they missed having those capabilities in house, for business and training, of course, but also because she’s a techy.

I asked Christine why she got interested in technology.

Her interest started early. Technology was something that was promoted and valued in her home as a child, she said. “Our weekend jaunts were to Radio Shack where we’d get circuit boards to solder LED lights to.”

In high school Christine was the only girl in an elective electronics class.

Christine has an undergraduate degree in business and a Master’s degree in IT. At grad school in Hawaii, she was one of three women out of 50 students in the class.

Christine met Andrew when they were both working at an alarm company in Hawaii. They left that alarm company to start IST. Christine ran the business side, until as the company grew, it became clear that the company techs didn’t understand IT—a necessity for IST, which always did systems integration. “In 2004, I took over operations. I still ran administration and accounting, but I was really pushing that IT knowledge to the staff."

She’d sit the staff down for “lunch and learns" regularly. “I’d have discussions with the staff about IT: What does ARP mean? Trace RT? How do you ping a device? We had conversations about how to do things.”

And she’d go out in the field and teach techs to mount cameras, program devices in the field, patch systems, configure servers.

Is her teaching style different from a guy tech? Perhaps. She describes her approach as collaborative. She may be the boss, but “what I’ve found is that people really respond when you talk to them as a peer.”

As I’ve written many times in this space, there’s a dearth of women in the security industry, but only a small percentage of the women in security have either a technical role or work closely with technicians and engineers. That may be starting to change however. Women are beginning to be welcomed—even recruited—into those roles, at least among the smartest integrators.

While Christine and I were talking in the lobby of the Westin Westminster, we saw Bethany Taylor, who I learned from Christine, is the director of operations for Dakota Security. She oversees the engineering group at Dakota. And, after the interview I ran into Kirsten Klokis, who works for Northland Control Systems. Kirsten came to Northland out of college and is learning all aspects of the business, including spending time in the field with the technicians.

SIA is actively working to get young people interested in technical entry level jobs in the security industry. It's launching a security degree program at a community college in New Jersey next year. And, SIA, ISC West and the Women's Security Council are creating a scholarship for a woman to attend the college program. Here's that story. Asked where else the industry should look for women who may be interested in security, Christine Lanning suggested women with a military background.

"They have great training, understand structure, and are used to working in a male-dominated environment," she said.

IST doubles service revenue

Family-owned systems integration business built over 13 years
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11/17/2011

HONOLULU—At the suggestion of a new operations manager, Integrated Security Technologies decided to install a new customer service portal in 2010. As a result, the company doubled its service revenue in one year.