Eurosatory 2014

Strategic security – the role of technology in addressing evolving threats (ES14E2)

17 June 2014

Security is a major trend in today’s world, affecting governments, businesses and most importantly, people.

Global security markets are highly fragmented, have unique market characteristics and are experiencing an increased convergence of technologies and suppliers.

With the increasing number of threats, security is no longer a ‘good to have’ but a ‘must have’.

However, there still remains a significant need for education on the advantages and benefits of having security.

The changing face of threats

The threats and risks facing individuals, organisations and societies today have evolved in complexity and scale. These now range from the traditional isolated crimes such as thefts to increasingly ruthless terrorist attacks to highly co-ordinated attacks across the physical and information domains on individuals, businesses and society. Such an evolution of the spectrum and complexity of threats has thrown new challenges to individuals, organisations, society and governments.

A major challenge to law enforcement agencies and citizens alike is to deal with the increasingly anonymous nature of threats. With the proliferation of information and communication technologies, so unknown online threats are often exposed only after the attack has occurred. Organisations of today no longer face one type of threat. Physical and cyber threats are converging and the disparate solutions and tools of today won’t serve the purpose of securing the future.


In the past decade, the influx of IP-based technologies and the increasing need for integration has driven a wave of convergence. Convergence of security systems, building management systems and IT networks has clear advantages in terms of operational cost savings and automation of many processes. This convergence has also substantially increased the level of security and has helped in transforming security from just being a cost centre to a functional and value-creation centre for many organisations.

In broader terms, as risks become increasingly complex (both from a physical and IT perspective), enterprises and governments alike take a systematic approach to security. Efficient allocation of security resources requires a risk-based approach and greater transparency related to security strategy.

The benefits that convergence bring to an organisation range from increased security for different types of assets (both intellectual and physical) to increased efficiency and savings brought about by single-point provisioning of multiple systems/applications, and savings due to shared infrastructure such as cabling.

As we proceed further to converged systems and applications, the approach to security also changes radically from risk assessment parameters and management of single systems to a more consultative one based on policies and automated procedures and practices. This is also applicable to the components that are comprised of physical electronic security systems.

Achieving complete situational awareness Situational awareness is the process of recognising a threat at an early stage and taking measures to avoid it.

This was first a concept that was used by government and intelligence personnel; however, the concept is now widely adopted by operators of critical infrastructure environments such as utilities, chemicals, transportation, etc.

Security as a function, however, is still seen as a cost by many end users. But as mentioned earlier, with the increasing number of threats, security is now a ‘must have’.

Traditionally, security effectiveness was undermined because of direct calculations based on investments and gains from the investment, and for evident reasons, security was always perceived as a function that never offered tangible return on investment. However, organisations of today have started realising the value and applications of security tools and solutions beyond just their security functionality and current calculations are based on investments, direct gains, loss prevention, risk management, operational efficiencies, cost savings, and revenue implications, etc.

The thought process of end users is shifting and increasingly they are beginning to see integrated security as an enabler to increase situational awareness, achieve business efficiencies and mitigate business risks.

The way forward

The complexity and anonymity of threats and risks to people, organisations and society is driving the need for a proactive approach to security.

Security of the future will be characterised by architectures that provide high levels of situational awareness, accessible and comprehensive intelligence, are based on open architectures and provide interoperability, drive multiagency collaboration, and act as an end-to-end solution.

Unified threat management solutions that enable seamless real-time monitoring of physical and information domains while providing predictive capabilities for law enforcement agencies are the future.

Such solutions will be supplemented by advanced next-generation security technologies such as high-resolution visual sensors, biometrics, unmanned systems and sensors, and advanced next-generation communication technologies SATCOM, 4G-LTE and WiFi-enabled edge devices.

Technology will be a key enabler for situation managers to respond rapidly while mitigating the adverse business impact from events as they unfold.

(765 words)