Two decades means a lot of change
DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—Edward Levy remembers the days when those in the security industry were looked upon as “knuckle-draggers” beholden to a strategy of “guards, gates and guns.” Levy says a lot has changed in the security industry over the past two decades.
“Twenty years ago, it wasn’t very glamorous,” said Levy, VP and global head of security for Thomson Reuters and keynote speaker at the eighth annual TechSec conference being held here. “Security wasn’t very cool, and it wasn’t very technical. There wasn’t a lot of respect for the industry.”
Times have changed, Levy said, due in large part to the fallout from 9/11. Now, security is viewed by much of the business world as indispensible to the bottom line, and he said it will continue to gain in importance as technology evolves.
Levy said that with this acceptance, security providers are now tasked with not only keeping up with technology, but also aligning a company’s range of systems to find solutions that work as one.
“We’re all trying to save money, and the technology has progressed to a state where systems can be easily converged and integrated,” he said. “But the ‘bull in the china shop’ approach doesn’t cut it. A security solution is a business solution, and it needs to be a collaborative approach.”
That means developing solutions that work for HR as well as IT by identifying the requirements of all, then using the right tools to put the solutions into place. The tools come with a caveat, however: Let the buyer beware.
“Don’t let the technology drive your requirements,” said Levy, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel whose previous corporate security experience was with Pfizer, CIT Group and the Empire State Building. “A lot of solutions will talk the talk, but a lot don’t (follow through). One of the biggest gaps is that some systems will sell themselves as security—HVAC, then add cameras. They may sound cheaper up front, but the lesson is you buy a security system from a reputable manufacturer whose primary mission is just that.”