January 31, 2019

Smart AV Systems Require Better Cybersecurity – Here’s What You Can Do

Audio-visual (AV) technology has become integrated with overall IT infrastructure in recent years. Gordon Moore’s famous observation (known as Moore’s Law) has been proven in the AV industry – circuit capacity roughly doubles every two years, as size and costs fall. This has sparked incredible innovation, as AV vendors look to integrate cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies into their systems.

Considering the enhanced capabilities and immersive experiences these technologies can deliver, it’s no surprise these smart AV systems are becoming increasingly popular. However, while smart AV systems provide more performance and value than legacy systems, they also present increased security challenges.

For example, voice control technologies cannot distinguish if a command is coming from an authorized user or not. Smart TVs and video cameras have been penetrated by hackers. And the move off premises to cloud computing means that man-in-the-middle attacks are possible, in which an attacker intercepts and potentially alters online communications.

According to the Data Breach Industry Report, published annually by Verizon, there were 2,216 confirmed data breaches in 2018. Considering that most data breaches in the private sector go unreported, there were undoubtedly far more than that number. AV integrators need to also be cybersecurity consultants to clients today when deploying smart AV technology.

Here are four steps any company can take to make smart AV technology and IT systems in general more secure:

Your People – make sure staff are well trained in proper cyber hygiene. The DBIR report found that simple internal errors resulted in 17 percent of all data breaches. 

Keep and Share Data on Need to Know Basis – upgrade IT systems so there is flexibility to limit data access to what users need to perform their jobs. And have the ability to revoke/change privilege levels when employees change roles. 

Encrypt Important Data – it is not possible today to attain 100 percent cybersecurity. But companies can encrypt their data, so that it is useless if lost or stolen. 

Two factor authentication – this is particularly important to defend against phishing attacks. People makes mistakes, especially as more phishing attacks move from desktop devices to mobile. Two factor authentication limits the damage of credentials being lost or stolen. 

The days when AV equipment was siloed and separate from the main IT infrastructure of companies are long gone. Any AV integrator needs to provide added value to clients by being versed in the latest cybersecurity processes and technologies. Clients deserve it, and integrators who don’t prioritize cybersecurity will not be successful in the current competitive marketplace.

Ryan Poe

Ryan Poe, Electrosonic’s Director of Technology Solutions, works and writes on the frontiers of advanced technology. He is a trusted adviser on leveraging technology in new ways and works within our Innovation Garage framework to evaluate new technologies and develop resources that support a portfolio of advanced services.