Mark McCourt

Henry Ford was asked why he didn’t research demand for the automobile before building the first automotive assembly line. His answer, “Because they would have asked for faster horses.”

The history of technology-driven change is rich with similar stories. In studies of perceived future needs, the personal computer, the Internet, e-mail and iPods were never identified by the eventual customer.

Similarly, security solutions, innovations and technology were not top of mind until the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. And even then, many customers could not articulate what they would need to secure their business. Since then, focus on security, the subsequent investment in new technologies and the resultant applications of these technologies have skyrocketed.

So, perhaps it is a little reassuring to know that while you were not surveyed nor did you ask for physical and logical security to converge; it is happening. And your role is to leverage its benefits by understanding that what you are managing is first and foremost a business issue. From this base, Fredrik and I penned these thoughts on possible blind spots and thoughts on the business of security in today's enterprise.

What is the cost of implementing a security plan, including convergence?

Cost should be measured in several ways such as risk and total cost of ownership (TCO). Once the risk of a potential security event is measured, the question becomes dollars and cents: What if we do mitigate? What if we don't? The tipping point has come and most measured "understood" risk is mitigated as best possible. TCO: Cost is the total cost of buying, installing and maintaining "anything" – in this case a security system. While it is logical that networked and IP telephony are more efficient platforms for security applications, the total cost should be measured. Request TCO projections from the integrators and dealers that supply your solutions. TCO will become more prevalent.

Does convergence means a loss of security’s management control and responsibilities?

No, convergence actually brings the organization together. While IT will focus on delivering the technology platform, this enables you to be the pure application and execute your security plan as IT’s customer. Finance automated with data processing departments long ago. Today, finance runs finance. IT runs IT. And as partners, they accomplish tasks that could not be reached without collaboration.


Yes. A successful convergence project takes a lot of effort to plan and execute. But no more than any other transition from one system to another. Agreed, this is not the sales database, this is “SECURITY” and proper execution is critical. But let’s understand that a successful project will not happen by itself.

If you work together to increase communication between organizational silos, identify the business outcomes and focus on the benefits, not ownership, then successful convergence implementations will happen through your leadership.


Does convergence give too much responsibility to IT for the execution of a sound and successful security policy? Let’s look at a few arguments.

  1. Convergence and integration are too complex and unreliable. Actually, IT systems have much higher reliability than security systems. IT systems are essential for business continuity and there are all kinds of redundant systems available.
  2. There is too much dependence on ever-changing computer and communications technologies. The opposite is true. It may be negligent to not take advantage of available technologies.
  3. There is a loss of integrity in the “pure, unique” security mission. Partnering with IT allows more focus on the application and more integrity.

Whether the study results would identify the desire for faster horses or faster guards, it is these revolutionary applications that drive change. Convergence is happening and you should use the service and reliability of IT to achieve your goals.