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The Intersection of Physical and Virtual Worlds Require Robust Security Solutions

Firas Jadalla, the Regional Director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) at Genetec, speaks about the regional trends for 2019

How was 2018 for the industry and your company?
2018 was the year of the fourth industrial revolution. The industry witnessed an intersection of the physical and virtual worlds and that will continue to require powerful cyber and physical security technologies. 2018 was one of the years to experience the worst cyber-attacks, data breaches and hacks. In fact, criminal cyber activity evolved at an incredible pace. Today’s cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for security gaps that will give them access to your facilities or a wide range of important, private, and sensitive information.

That said, Genetec has been very successful with video management by providing organizations of all sizes the ability to deploy a surveillance system that addresses their unique video security needs. Through deep support for a wide range of industry-leading cameras, encoders, and CCTV equipment, our system helped businesses scale and adapt to the changing demands of the security environment.

What sort of opportunities did 2018 bring along?
Isolated corporate applications and infrastructures became a thing of the past. That’s because 2018 trends such as bring-your-own devices (BYOD), internet of things (IoT) and cloud services are compelling businesses to become more connected. Now more than ever, IT departments are looking outside their environment at solutions that could lower costs and take the strain off their resources.

Did you face any challenges in 2018?
One common myth about the physical security industry was and still is holding some decision-makers back. It’s the idea that keeping on-premises systems on closed networks is more secure. Today, companies can further enhance the security of their on-premises systems by connecting to the cloud services with built-in security mechanisms.

What were your key achievements in 2018?
We continued to develop our Video Management System (VSM) business by launching a new line of off-the-shelf analytics appliance within Genetec’s Streamvault portfolio. We were also actively involved in helping our customers boost operational efficiencies by increasing automation and synchronization of data between security, IT and business systems. For example, our Security Center has a variety of development tools available that allow Genetec partners and clients to expand their security platform by integrating additional systems or adding new custom functionalities. All these development tools are built on the same core functions, providing access to all core technologies within Security Center. Therefore, video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection and license plate recognition function calls are all available through a single software development kit (SDK).

What promises does 2019 bring along?
With recent advancements in technologies and increased collaboration between manufacturers, integration is becoming a popular substitute for traditional interfacing.  Similarly, the rise of smart cities like Dubai demands the right, comprehensive software solution that manages access control, intercom, intrusion and video functionalities through non-proprietary security appliances.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2019?
The technology to witness the highest demand in 2019 is access control. There are so many rapid technological advancements happening that the way access control is used has changed over time. End-users are looking for the solution that will be in line with their infrastructure and resolve their physical security issues. Therefore, the market is moving toward an integrated access control system to ensure that the user is having a seamless experience.

For many, a poorly maintained or outdated access control systems (ACS) can be the gateway a cybercriminal needs to look into your network and premises. Historically, ACS manufacturers focused on developing solutions that would secure access as well as manage access rights and cardholders. But the security landscape has since evolved, and new cybersecurity threats have emerged. Now, in addition to effectively securing your premises from physical threats, you must also protect your ACS from criminal cyber activity.

What will be your key focus areas for 2019?
Our main focus area for 2019 is cyber security. Cyber-attacks around the world are on the rise. Whether they result in a data breach or a disruption in network or service availability, criminal cyber activity can have a huge financial impact on an organization. The costs can include cleaning up and restoring a network as well as reestablishing trust with partners and customers alike. To mitigate the risks associated with an attack and achieve cyber resilience, you need to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and partner with trusted vendors.

What milestones have you set for 2019?
In terms of the technology, we are sure to see even more unification of systems in 2019. Organizations are already experiencing the benefits of unifying access control systems with video surveillance, and this will only grow. What will also increase is the ability to employ analytics tools to leverage the vast amounts of data that physical security systems and other devices are already collecting.

When organizations are able to understand and leverage their data, they can use it to improve any number of business functions, including efficiency, operations, customer service and revenue generation. The challenges here will arise around sharing information between stakeholders, particularly in terms of maintaining individual privacy and control over sensitive data. But we will see solutions that will allow for disparate organizations to collaborate effectively to achieve even greater understanding.

What would you like to do differently in 2019, when compared with 2018?
Genetec is currently one of the top three video management companies and on the top five access control companies in the world. Our goal is to move into the top three by 2020-2021.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products / applications to your portfolio in 2019?
In recent years, we have seen several companies consolidate as major players acquire other organizations. While the bringing together of technology has the potential to yield compelling advancements, it can also slow test cycles for these businesses. 2019 will bring many opportunities for companies such as Genetec to help its end users and partners put an enterprise-grade security platform in place, with an open-architecture, scalable, and extensible solution.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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