While there are myriad of benefits to the advent of IP-based surveillance systems, there are also plenty of challenges associated with them. By far, the greatest challenge is the threat of cyber-attacks because the web is crawling with malicious actors seeking entry to a valuable network like yours. Here are some facts about cybersecurity you’ll want to keep in mind:
New Viruses Are Born Everyday
Cybersecurity threats evolve just like the technology they seek to attack. It’s important to stay as up-to-date as possible on the latest trends in cybercrime as well as the corresponding defenses. After all, what may have been a sufficient safeguard yesterday may no longer be enough today.
Of course, it’s easier to do this if you’re working with a surveillance solution provider who takes a proactive approach and keeps you apprised of cybersecurity developments. Pelco regularly notifies and provides its clients with software updates to bolster their defense against viruses and other forms of cyber-attacks.
Passwords: The Harder to Guess, The More Secure Your System
Passwords are often a first step to securing video surveillance systems. While they have the potential to be a very effective means of encryption, it is crucial to choose the right kind of password that will reduce the risk of cyber-attacks.
The first thing to keep in mind is that an effective password is hard to guess. That means avoiding birthdays, names, sequential characters, and other similar examples. A great password is one that can only be known by you, and contains a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. This way, your system not only remains secure from cybercriminals, but also automated programs that can instantaneously cycle through thousands of common passwords.
Is Your Network Segmented? Is It Segmented Enough?
One of the best ways to be proactive in cybersecurity is to consider segmenting your IT network to ensure that an infiltration does not necessarily threaten the entire system.
There are many ways to achieve a segmented system. One way to do this is to use physical access control, which protects rooms, campuses, and other physical areas. Another way is through logical access control, which limits connections tocomputernetworks, system files, and data. Keep these questions in mind as you consider network segmentation: how much of the broader IT network are you willing to risk by connecting it to the Video Management System? What are the parts of the network that you want to safeguard in the event of an attack on the VMS?
This way, you can personalize your strategy to fit the needs and security level of your video surveillance system.
Planning for Incident Responses
Though an ideal world is one in which all cyberattacks are prevented, there is always the possibility that a hacker or virus could succeed in infiltrating your system. That’s why it’s not enough to implement prevention measures; it’s just as important to devise an Incident Response Plan (IRP) to reduce the harmful effects of a successful cyber-attack.
A well-crafted IRP should determine the processes that kick into gear as soon as the attack is detected. What activities should cease immediately to prevent the infiltration from metastasizing? Who will be called upon for assistance? Who will be responsible for communicating with employees, customer, or other potentially-impacted stakeholders?
Pelco puts their IRP in place through these seven steps:
- Train—training key personnel, conducting annual drills or exercises, ensuring that all personnel understand their role and responsibility in preventing cyber-attacks.
- Detect—determining indicators of a compromised system, whether through log reviews, help desk calls, IDS/IDP alerts, and anomalous activity.
- Analyze—getting the right people to determine the scope and severity of the threat.
- Contain—isolating the affected systems through access controls.
- Eradicate—removing the threat and addressing the vulnerability.
- Recover—restoring the system to a known good state.
- Learn—creating a post-mortem review, determining lessons learned, and taking steps to prevent future vulnerabilities.
An IRP is like car insurance. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it. But having one in place can mean the difference between losing a few seconds of video to losing control of your entire system. For information on how you can develop your IRP, Schneider Electric has an extensive library of insights on best practices for IRP, including white papers and case studies.
Take some time to incorporate a solid cybersecurity plan into your surveillance system. This means factoring it into every facet of the system, from passwords to network segmentation. Choose solution providers who prioritize cybersecurity and are committed to providing 24/7 assistance. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Learn more about Pelco’s approach to cybersecurity here.