The Challenge of an Emerging “Quicksilver”Security Environment

Blog Date:  8/9/2013
Author:  James Connor

What is going on with security and consulting that is significantly different than the decades in the years past? What I have experienced in the last 5 years is Physical Security Quicksilver. (Quicksilver - “rapid or unpredictable in movement or change”.) The industry used to describe this movement as convergence; however it is more than that now. In many ways the technologies have already converged. Consequently this raises more questions than answers for the security technologist consulting within this moving target.
The operational challenges are rapidly changing as the top threats and mission statements evolve, but still lag well behind the technological capabilities already native within today’s devices. We speak now in terms of “cloud” capabilities and what that means to our overall solutions, and even more unpredictable are the layers below the cloud, such as “fog computing” enabling those smart devices that lie below the cloud, such as tablets, smart-phones, and smart-cameras. The proper design or implementation of these systems may now include so many aspects of additional stakeholder involvement, that we find even the stakeholders themselves cannot identify the Venn diagram of overlap.
Movement and evolution in categories such as credentialing, authentication, network architecture, compliance, and change management come with the extended stakeholder requirements and participation. The movement toward cohabitation within these common infrastructure ecosystems has changed and defined not only our technologies, but the masters of those technologies, our other stakeholders within the client organizations.
To survive we must adapt and be the change agents we are hired to be. I believe this transformation will come in two parts. Part (a) stakeholder expertise, and (b) operational expertise. While there will always be problems that are defined and solved purely on a technical basis, the scale is tipping rapidly toward problem definition, ROI and other operational hurdles. The questions of “can you” vs. “should you” are now more often answered, “yes, we can”, but “I’m not sure who owns that”?
The mercurial or “quicksilver” aspects of rapidly, unpredictable movement within physical security and its technologies has never been more active. Our technologies and customers are changing and as this occurs we must address those needs with real answers to their quicksilver problems.


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