How to get IT and security teams in sync when CIOs take on surveillance
How to get IT and security teams in sync when CIOs take on surveillance
Security video footage is no longer just for asset protection. Video is a rich, untapped source of business insights for the enterprise. Cloud-based video surveillance technologies are increasingly in demand at the enterprise level because they provide new intelligence to physical security teams, with nearly unlimited flexibility, storage and insights. However, implementing a cloud-based video solution brings change and the need for team alignment between IT and traditional security teams.
A shift from analogue to cloud means that for the first time, surveillance and IT teams both report to the CIO. To make the transition a smooth and productive one, CIOs should take this opportunity to balance the teams' priorities to drive results, protect the organisation's assets and lower costs.

Why is it difficult for IT and security to work together?

While the advancement of video surveillance provides a chance for IT and security to converge their goals for the overall benefit of their company, shared priorities can be a challenge.

Physical security teams spend their days supervising facilities and managing security vulnerabilities that may place a company in danger. These teams grow accustomed to tools that allow them to complete their jobs effectively in times of emergency or uncertainty. Increasingly these tools are aging and lacking in newer capabilities. When a business decides to implement a new technology, in lieu of the familiar, physical security teams may grow apprehensive.  They are concerned about learning curve and disruptions while the new system is implemented. 

On the other hand, IT teams constantly seek technological improvements to better support new company initiatives that demand more storage, better networks and increased speed. IT already has enough on their plate, and there isn't necessarily the bandwidth to manage video surveillance. That said, their core responsibility is to find and create network and product upgrades whenever necessary to support the needs of every department, including security. In fulfilling their responsibilities, however, they may overlook concerns for security teams in favour of expediency. 

Although these differing priorities can be a challenge to overcome, security and IT teams can work together to reap the benefits of the cloud while also keeping the business's needs satisfied.

Merging teams: How two responsibilities can unite under the CIO

While it can be tough for physical security and IT teams to understand each other's priorities, their reorganisation to support modern video surveillance provides the CIO an opportunity to provide direction to both teams throughout the transition.

To create a positive and productive environment, follow these practices when merging teams:

Keep the eye on the big picture: Whenever a new product or system is considered for integration, it's best to consult both security and IT teams before moving forward. Both parties have differing priorities, and any changes may impact their operations in ways that may not be immediately apparent to an outsider. With both parties involved from the start, products that will not provide sufficient support are avoided and implementation difficulties diminished.  When both parties are recognised in the decision-making process, IT and security can focus on improving the business together.

Embrace the cloud: Two departments mean two different to-do lists. While the physical security team must abide by specific protocols to remain effective and efficient, the IT department is more concerned  the impact security operations have on the rest of their IT infrastructure. Cloud technologies alleviate challenges on both sides of the equation. The cloud will decrease business complications and demand for IT support, freeing valuable time for the IT team to invest in other projects and developments. In turn, the security team will gain new features that will help them manage protection of assets more efficiently and effectively. 

Communicate for total transparency: Security and IT should maintain open dialogue to stay on the path to success. Each team can choose a leader to filter the multiples voices into a productive conversation. This will make it easier to communicate the goals and objectives that are needed to minimise the gap between both sides. Technology confusion will be avoided if you troubleshoot issues right away. Not only will this keep goals aligned for the benefit of the business, but this organised exchange will allow employees to save time and work on their individual duties.

It's essential for the CIO and other executives to understand that both security and IT departments are part of a bigger whole that must work in sync to keep the business functional and safe. If they are reminded of what's best for the company, both security and IT teams will be able to create a unified strategy to business security.

Contributed by Andreas Pettersson, CEO and co-founder at Arcules.  

*Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SC Media UK or Haymarket Media.