Security Systems News

AUG 2018

Security Systems News is a monthly business newspaper that reaches 25,100 security installers, product distributors, central stations, engineers & architects, and security consultants. Our editorial coverage focuses on breaking news in all major se

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s EC u RI t Y s Y st EM s NEW s August 2018 Monitoring 19 on software upgrades. "There were some pretty sig- nificant changes that they used in the new software to address the 1981 and 827 requirement," Newhook explained. "So it is a challenge because we have had to train all of our people on that and then we've got to make sure that the software integrates with our system of record—our accounting and sales software, for example. And because all of that information is now dropping down to a new database through a new API, there are a lot of plates spin- ning." He continued, "Our central sta- tion has had to corral resources in IT and Facilities to make sure we are hitting the marks required. Network security and topography, communications platforms, access, as well as our infrastructure at our location comes into play on this." Coles added, "With UL 827 we had to take account of that in our cloud data centers but the bigger changes were in 1981, which really affected us more as a software company. There were things that we had to do in our software for it to be compliant and to be honest it was one of the more major updates that UL has done. Some of things that they focused on in 1981 were encryption, security networks, VMs (virtual machines), which are becoming more of a fact of life but were not covered with 1981 prior to this. A lot of the things that we have done within our software are on the reporting side of things. Part of the other requirements was being able to monitor things that are happening within the equip- ment the automation software is running on, including things like CPU capacity." Coles pointed out that the emer- gence of cloud technology has also impacted standards. "We've got a lot of customers on the cloud now and we just opened our second data center because we flew through the UL requirements and had to open a second one," he said, noting that one of the key advantages of the cloud is immediate redundancy. "So if you are a small central station with a few thousand connections, you have that redundancy that usu- ally only the bigger centrals have." Staying Relevant One of the challenges for UL, Hertel noted, is getting these stan- dards to a level "that even moder- ately conforms to what other data standards are like today." Hertel still works closely with UL and the industry to drive change and relevant standards. "UL is trying to figure out how to stay relevant, and has been get- ting feedback from the industry they serve on what they need to do to be and stay more relevant moving forward," he explained. "For example, they've hired some people that are in the network security space, and they've hired some outside engineers and some newer people to come in and take a look at this new para- digm, and I think that they will eventually get there." Coles agreed: "UL has done a lot in the last five to 10 years to bring their level of understanding of IT up, and I think they are doing a whole lot better and have definitely improved their game." "We need UL to be a part of the equation," added Hertel, who noted that it is key that the industry has a third party organization that not only has minimum stan- dards but is a partner who provides more of a value proposition. "They have to be much more performance-based and prescrip- tive based," Hertel said. "They have to look at how to create processes, requirements and standards that address the new business model of today, because it is different." Coles sees cybersecurity as one area where UL can provide increased guidance moving for- ward. "We see customers hit with viruses and ransomware, and that kind of stuff, and I think UL can do a whole lot more in regard to standards for central stations in this area—bring it under the umbrella of some of the UL standards for central stations," said Coles. In addition to cybersecurity, Coles said that new technologies also pose a challenge for UL when it comes to creating standards and requirements for central stations. "The big area that is going to change things is artificial intel- ligence," Coles noted. SS n Continued from page 18 Rod Coles

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