Not a day goes by, it seems, that we are not hearing about some sort of security breach involving a major retail operation or corporation. Hackers seem determined on getting at protected data, such as credit card information or Social Security numbers, by any means possible.
For the security industry, every such attack brings new concerns about the safety of network-based systems. The network is the back door to accessing all kinds of information, whether it is financial, personal or something specific to the security of an operation.
For instance, a cyber-criminal may be looking to interfere with a security system by interrupting the video stream, altering camera views so someone can make a physical attack on a location or hijacking the servers to perform illegal functions. Even a camera, if left vulnerable, may be used as an entry point to a larger network.
As a result, it is increasingly important to know what steps a security system provider is taking to ensure that its network-based equipment such as NVRs and video management system software are hardened against cyber-attacks.
While the U.S. Federal Information Security Act mandates a specific level of compliance, it is critical to work with a supplier that understands what is involved in the compliance process, and is invested in taking a lead on this critical issue.
Here are some questions to ask a security system supplier:
- How often are updates provided for the product and how are security vulnerabilities handled? More frequent updates to the product means more opportunity to remove vulnerabilities. Also, by monitoring new vulnerabilities found through international databases a supplier can release a patch quickly to address a critical vulnerability.
- Is the company undergoing third-party assessments of its products? Having an independent, third-party undertake penetration testing will point out what vulnerabilities exist and allow the company to take the proper action to harden the system against cyber-attacks.
- How often does the vulnerability testing take place? Each time the software within a product or system is altered, there should be a new test so the development team can address any new software issues before the product is released.
- Has the company documented what it is doing? Knowing what the vulnerabilities are and how they have addressed them can go a long way toward ensuring your comfort level with a product. Ask if the company has prepared a white paper or some other document on its products and processes.
Cyber criminals continue to develop new methods for gaining access to information and systems. Knowing how a supplier is safeguarding its products is a good first line of defense.