Security and networked communications converge to create powerful enterprise solutions

Communications and security systems – they’re two different animals in your company, right? Phones, networks, video links – generally under the IT domain; whereas security systems are typically managed elsewhere.

But these organizational silos & technology walls are coming down. The lines that demarcate different types of technology are becoming blurred. This is being driven by the growth of “smart” networked solutions allowing new work-flows  to be connected. This blurring is a good thing because it breaks down the borders between previously distinct groupings of technologies and this enables more comprehensive, integrated outcomes to be developed and brought to enterprises.

Of course, creating converged capabilities such as these requires different types of organizations to work together to integrate the technologies, expertise and processes involved. We see this need more and more and that’s why we are collaborating with networking and unified communications specialist Avaya to develop integrated enterprise solutions that include security systems – video surveillance cameras, access control systems, door stations and speakers.  In fact, Avaya was one of our Partners of the Year in 2015, underscoring the importance we place on integrated communications and security capabilities.

Our two companies’ work is already bearing fruit and we demonstrated two use cases at the Avaya Engage 2017 event in Las Vegas in February. These use cases involved utilizing Axis’ access control products plus the Avaya communications platforms to support an access control use case. On top of that, an automated, secure onboarding of Axis networked cameras was enabled by Avaya’s secure Fabric Attach capability. Have a look here for more information on what we demonstrated at Engage.

Avaya

Converged networks for communications and security

The key to all of this is the networked security solution approach.  In the past, video surveillance solutions were analog and ran over physically segregated networks with no integration to a company’s corporate network or communications systems. Gradually enterprises replaced analog networks with IP networks, but security solutions were still effectively analog ‘add ons.’ Now, thanks to technologies like Avaya Fabric Connect, security data traffic runs over a converged network alongside other corporate applications such as unified communications (UC), video and data.

This opens up a new range of applications for security and other enterprise uses. A great example of this is the integration between access control offerings and communications. In this use case, when a visitor arrives at an organization’s location and presses the access control button on the door, a communications system can use call routing intelligence to alert the appropriate member of staff, giving them the option to remotely open the door or talk to the visitor before allowing or denying them access.

Automated Fabric Attach makes adding devices securely simple

The threat of security breaches is always a concern, more so as a network expands. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure the secure connection of devices to the corporate network. The recent spate of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, in particular the attack on Dyn last October that temporarily brought down Twitter, Spotify and other sites, has highlighted the potential threat posed by networked devices connecting to organizations’ networks insecurely.

To address this issue, a capability for fast, secure onboarding of devices is required. This should encompass automated setup of VLAN, assured quality of service (QoS) and the flexibility to make changes. Such systems should enable the service to be removed from the network at the same time as a device is removed, thereby removing any backdoor entry points or vulnerabilities to the network.

Avaya’s Fabric Attach (FA) is an extension to its Fabric Connect that delivers an “Autonomic Edge” capability to dramatically reduce the costs of adding or modifying new or existing services. Using FA, Axis cameras can now be securely connected to the network, be authorized for a network service, and attach to the appropriate network service instance – all automatically and based on IT policy. This enables Fabric Attach devices to come straight out of the box and onto the network with “Zero Touch” – virtually eliminating the chance of core network misconfiguration and enabling simple and secure deployment without the need to make any configuration changes.

For customers, the convergence and integration of technologies and attributes from different vendors brings significant benefits. Organizations no longer have to work out how to bridge the differences between different technologies and have a significantly reduced requirement for dealing with large numbers of vendors to assemble a single solution. Instead, they can buy more secure, more cost effective services from a smaller number of suppliers, achieving faster, richer deployments at lower cost than ever before.