From the Nation’s Top IT Professionals: Security in Data Depends on How You Use It

From the Nation’s Top IT Professionals: Security in Data Depends on How You Use It

Hey, if you wear that FitBit in this office, you could be breaching national security.

Not something you hear everyday, but a very real concern for the four esteemed speakers at the SCN Technology Manager Panel Discussion held Tuesday afternoon during SYMCO’s Regional Technology Showcase in Fairfax, Virginia. On the stage and sharing a multitude of technological and anecdotal insights into what AV brings to the IT table were Brian Brustad, special projects officer, the International Monetary Fund; Joel Bilheimer, vice president, cybersecurity, Pershing Technologies; Carl Maurer, O&M team AV lead, General Dynamics Information Technology; and Tom Hope, AV systems manager, Maryland Live! Casino.

So yeah, just a few guys who sort of control millions of dollars worth of AV budgets, but they had some very familiar stories to tell about the way our business is going.

Seriously, the amount of “off the record” experiences and knowledge of this crew was pretty mind-boggling. If you’re not worried about what mobile devices and wearable technology (or subcutaneous technology, for that matter) can do to your clients via the AV equipment you install, then maybe you should brush up on your hacking techniques.

The gentlemen on our panel deal not only with whether a videoconference sounds and looks good, but it also must keep tabs on the persistent game of network operations attack dodgeball played by their colleagues across the operations desk. Working with government and military entities that could not be named in the session for security purposes, these panelists look at AV from inside-out and outside-in. As far as they’re concerned, a VTC is as likely to be pillaged as a bank vault. Even the lighting system is under threat, as hackers look for any way to gain access to the network.

Scary movie scenarios aside, these panelists also had more messages for the AV designers, integrators, and manufacturers that paid rapt attention to a panel that went over an hour and a half. I gotta say, it was a thrill and a pleasure to moderate a panel where each bit of information held the key to the mission-critical priorities that will drive the success of AV companies that embrace the fact that AV is very, very close to owning the network now.

You read that right. This was not a panel of convergence doomsayers, these were AV coaches on the sidelines shouting something like, “Yeah, people, there are far more network ports in use by AV than any ol’ data and printer equipment these days!”

It was actually quite cheering, even if there are a lot of network-level certifications that will be required in your future if you want to work on the enterprise level. These days, “IT” means transport, storage, campus management, physical security, VoIP, AV, enterprise management, and program management. IT teams are not pitted against AV anymore; they are specialists within the same group. Ultimately, everyone that hooks gear onto a network these days shares the same concerns, with security being chief among them.

So what can AV integrators bring to meetings with technology managers? Bring business analytics of AV systems data and present ideas on how to increase efficiency. Bring ideas about how your technologies can be integrated into a dashboard. The network is a numbers game, and it’s only getting bigger. So how are you going to make it easier to manage for your customer?

If you missed the DC event, it’s not too late! Come to Philly tomorrow and see Kirsten Nelson lead another amazing SCN Technology Users Panel Discussion right before the InfoComm Philadelphia Regional Roundtable!

Panelists for the Philly event are:

• Gregg Heimer, senior network engineer at Montgomery County Community College
• Eric Woebkenberg, director of multimedia and classroom support, Widener University
• Dave Costanza, CBNT engineer at the Senate Video Facility for the Senate of Pennsylvania
• Billy Silar, AV systems specialist with the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Details can be found here

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.