Preventative Maintenance: The Unsung Hero of Your Security Program (and 12 Steps to Take Today)
By Northland Controls, Jun 20, 2023
There is a mutual understanding among security professionals that reliable and functioning systems are crucial in today’s ever evolving threat landscape. But, without being able to tell the future, how can you make sure your systems will work when you need them to?
The answer to this question may be an easy one, but the application of it can sometimes be neglected in the real world. For example, we all know that scheduling annual check-ups can aid in your long-term health and support early detection of potentially significant illnesses, but how many of us have a regular cadence with our doctor?
For security professionals, the same principles apply to your access control and video management systems. By proactively addressing potential issues through preventative maintenance, before they become a significant problem, you can take a more proactive approach to system functionality and dependability.
However, much like our annual doctor visits, many organizations take a “wait and see” approach to the health of their security technology. Whether it’s time constraints, budget limitations, or lack of resources, omitting preventative maintenance from your security posture can lead to untimely failures, costly breaches, and lingering pain points.
But, prioritizing preventative maintenance activities, even once a year, can have a major impact on your security technology’s ability to support your overall goals and initiatives by:
Addressing vulnerabilities and mitigating risks: Physical security systems, including access control and video management, are subject to vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors. By conducting regular maintenance checks, you can identify and rectify any potential weaknesses or security gaps in your systems to significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access or breaches, and the costs associated with them.
Enhancing system efficiency: Over time, security systems can become clunky and inefficient due to wear and tear, software updates, and changing environmental conditions. Neglecting maintenance can lead to sluggish performance, delayed response times, or even system failures. However, proactive maintenance ensures your security systems can run optimally, allowing for seamless operations and timely incident response.
Prolonging system longevity: Just like any other technology, physical security systems require regular upkeep to ensure their longevity. Neglected systems are more prone to breakdowns, resulting in costly repairs or complete replacements. By investing in preventative maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your security infrastructure and minimize unexpected expenses.
Keeping up with technological advancements: The security landscape is continuously evolving, with new technologies and features being introduced regularly. By staying on top of preventative maintenance, you can take advantage of the latest advancements in access control and video management systems. Upgrading firmware, implementing software patches, and integrating new features can enhance the effectiveness of your security systems, providing better protection against emerging threats.
Meeting compliance requirements: Many industries and organizations have specific security compliance regulations that they must adhere to. Regular maintenance helps ensure that your physical security systems remain compliant with industry standards and regulatory requirements. Failing to meet these obligations can result in legal consequences, reputational damage, and compromised security.
Advocating for preventative maintenance in your annual budget is step one. Now, we must understand where to focus time and attention to make the most impact. Here are 12 items to add to your systems health checklist:
- Inventory your servers, applications, and devices to see when they go end of life and create a proactive plan to migrate them. While end of life devices may not stop them from functioning, manufacturers will stop producing critical vulnerability patches and technical support.
- Check the visibility of your camera lenses, especially exterior cameras, to make sure they are clean and unobstructed from overgrown trees, etc.
- Physically test your life safety systems with a preventative maintenance test (PMT). Panic buttons, fire alarm events, and emergency exits are critical to the safety of your greatest asset, your people. Verify they are still fully operational.
- Test and replace backup batteries on panels as needed.
- Audit all panel hardware to confirm all hardware is online and communicating and remove any decommissioned hardware.
- Run a network audit to see if there are unknown MAC addresses on your security network. If there are, start whitelisting security devices that are on your network.
- Dust off your password managers and change your device and server passwords on a regular basis.
- Run a user audit to see who has what level of access in the system. If there are any terminated users that still have admin access, remove the access to ensure nobody has unauthorized access to your system.
- Review your active directory permission settings to ensure only the right personnel has access to your platforms.
- Ensure proper backup of the security system to support business continuity efforts.
- Check to see if there are any critical OS updates for your servers to maintain hardware security.
- In a world where anything can happen at a moment’s notice, prioritizing preventative maintenance creates a more robust and resilient program by taking a proactive approach to security technology. As a best practice, these measures should be completed at least once a year, but ideally once a quarter, to keep systems clean and running soundly.
And if you’re thinking, “this seems like a lot of work,” Northland has you covered. Reach out to learn more about how our team is taking the guess work out of system maintenance, leaving you with peace of mind and confidence that your system will stand up against the test of time. Click here to contact us today!