Chair: Martin Gill

Panellists:
Graham Bolton – International Director at CSL Group (UK)
John Fleming – General Manager at ASIAL (Australia)
Richard Jenkins – Chief Executive at National Security Inspectorate (UK)
Joe Masciocco – President at SI Technologies (US)

Sponsored by CSL

Key points

Richard Jenkins outlines his position as head of an organisation that inspects 1800 companies and works with the police and the regulator effectively creating a hallmark for recognition, and to provide guidance to good practice. When the crisis started the NSI was shut down but is now functioning again albeit in the context of the new normal which has sped up the transition to remote audits where they are reasonable. Clearly visits generate Covid related dangers and all inspectors have been given authority to walk away from any situation they deem unsafe; so far none have. One way to ensure good practice is to have a standard to work to, and with colleagues he has been working with the BSIA on a standard for cyber secure practice for installers. The key of course, is to get installers to follow it, not just the conscientious ones, but the rest. Educating end-users to help them understand the benefits of using qualified people is key. Richard makes the point that trade bodies need to generate momentum amongst the key players in industry to bring about change.  

Joe Masciocco locates the purpose of installers and integrators in terms of always being about providing a safer workplace and more secure communities and Covid has not changed that, indeed it provides the opportunity to highlight the relevance. He stresses the point that the world needs to live with Covid, even with vaccinations it won’t be going away; its shadow will be there. In more practical terms work has involved measures such as frictionless access controls. There is an engaging discussion about cyber risks which are elevated when staff are interacting from remote devices, sometimes not on secure wifi when there is no guarantee firewalls are being used, either effectively or at all. Joe makes the point that amongst installers and integrators there are those that make big investments and are committed to excellence but there are many ‘trunk slammers’, who are not, and that lowers the quality of what is produced of course the perceptions of the work overall. Getting customers on board is key, and in the USA there are lawsuits, inevitably, if you fail, that may well sharpen the minds and focus of all parties.

John Flemming picks up on the theme of the difference between good and less good work noting that it is how systems are designed as well as implemented and managed that impacts on performance. Pointing directly to installers and integrators he highlights that Covid has caused some failures in the way systems have been maintained and that, unintentionally, has compromised systems and put safety at risk. Against this, in some circumstances, where building occupancy has been down it has facilitated the maintenance of systems, and updates have sometimes occurred where clients have decided to invest. John underlines the importance of following hygiene practices around people’s work, both employers of installers and integrators and those they work with; employers must take responsibility. He also notes the context of elevated stress and aggression in the world. You will witness an interesting discussion about what some perceive as the diminished status of installers and integrators in the security world. John argues much of the work of installers and integrators is not deemed a trade, a lot of security industry people learn on the job and emerge with basic knowledge and with the greater reliance on IT can get left behind.

Graham Bolton makes the point that the requirement to adapt applies to everyone and the Covid implications will remain for a long time. Remote access is growing in prominence and many are using the new world to generate positive changes, but to maximise the potential of systems upgrades will frequently be required. This means, and this is a key point of Graham’s contribution, new opportunities are emerging; one example is the greater need for remote access for the elderly. Discussing the perceived diminished status of installers and integrators in the security world Graham argues that often they don’t have a voice because they have to be customer focussed, they have to meet guidelines, and they feel they don’t get heard and recognised. Changing this is another opportunity.

This webinar has shown that the range of implications we have discussed previously that apply to many areas of security, not just the work of frontline security officers, applies to installers and integrators too. They are also customer facing and face health risks, they are also perceived to be under represented amongst security leadership, they too have excellent companies but need the rest to meet quality standards when the commercial imperative gets in the way, and here too sometimes buyers lack knowledge of the difference between good and bad service. This all highlights the need for the security world to speak with one voice, that too remains a challenge.

Martin Gill

30th July 2020