Facing network security concerns

Vendors and integrators agree that security is a top priority as AV and IT converge. But as Tim Kridel found, that's often easier said than done.

AV integrators are increasingly offering managed services as a way to get recurring revenue, long-term customer relationships and an alternative to shrinking hardware margins. What does that have to do with IT security? Plenty, judging by last autumn’s breach at the USA’s Target retail chain.

Reports suggest that hackers entered Target via an HVAC contractor, which had access to the store’s network in order to perform tasks such as billing, contract submission and project management. The attack has some retailers, banks and other enterprises rethinking the risk-reward equation of giving a third party access to their IT systems, whether it’s for HVAC, AV or something else.

For AV integrators in the managed services space, that hesitancy cuts into revenue opportunities. It’s also the latest example of why integrators need to acquire IT skills and certifications. Those show clients that they understand enough about IT to be trusted with connecting AV systems to corporate networks.

This article explores the challenges integrators face as well as some of the ways they’re facing them. Tim also asks whether manufacturers of AV equipment are doing enough to meet security concerns of network managers.

In the full article, you can hear more from integrator Vanti, videoconferencing vendors Polycom and Pexip; audio specialist Biamp; consultancy firm Shen Milsom & Wilke; and control and automation manufacturer AMX. Read now online.

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