Technology is undoubtedly an ‘enabler’ and is developing so quickly, that you can do things now that seemed impossible even two or three years ago!
However, there is an elephant in the room – just because technology allows you to do something, is it relevant or appropriate to do so?! It’s important that new technology delivers a service and/or tangible benefit and doesn’t inadvertently cause new issues.
Addressing Relevant Needs
The security industry is very mindful that new technology needs to solve real problems, but also to do so at a reasonable price point (with good ROI) – otherwise, it can be a futile exercise!
Undoubtedly, a powerful security solution (even if it is costly) will always find a niche market - one or two organisations may have the needs and budget to purchase and adopt it, but it will never be a good solution for most security buyers.
This isn’t very helpful for security manufacturers or installers (who make a living from selling relevant, in-demand solutions) and equally, it’s of little benefit for most security operators/users, who are unlikely to be able to afford or use such systems.
Security technology (like all technology sectors) needs to find a balance between what it enables people to do and at what price point it becomes effective (or ineffective!) This debate will always be there in any supply/demand situation.
A Question of Ethics
There is another side to using technology – should you do so from an ethical or moral point of view? With security, there is always a question mark over privacy versus protection.
This will be specifically highlighted this year with the forthcoming GDPR legislation coming into force in May. Technology can be used to gather all manner of personal information, but where do you draw the line? Where does essential security data finish and encroachments on privacy begin?
Security, by its nature, relies upon the presentation and sharing of private or privileged information or credentials. Many security systems log personal details such as name, address, email etc. They also log access information and can paint a highly detailed picture of somebody’s movements or habits (including date and time).
It is very important that people’s privacy is respected, that any personal information is stored securely and (if required) it is deleted upon reasonable request. GDPR recognises these needs and has been designed to help stop private information being misused or stolen.
Innovation Vs Security
There is also an eternal debate in the security industry over balancing new ideas and technology against maintaining the best possible protection. A good example of this is the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) and security networks.
Whilst IoT offers many amazing possibilities (by linking almost every conceivable technology item together over a shared network), it will always be of concern from a security point of view.
This is not to say that all IoT components will be a worry – but any sensors or devices that are developed without a full understanding of network security needs will always be a considerable risk to the rest of the network.
In simple terms, if any device is linked to a network (and consequently, the Internet) it potentially allows someone else to access that data. IoT offers very altruistic benefits, but sadly there will always be individuals or groups who will view this technology as a potential way to do harm to others.
Technology is and always will be an enabler. Whether this results in a positive or negative outcome depends on the intentions of those that use (or misuse) it!
At the end of the day, manufacturers, installers and security operators/users all need to be aware of not only the potential benefits but also the potential dangers of using technology without appropriate consideration and care.