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Maintaining Security Systems in a Corporate Merger Can Be Tricky

Ensure a smooth migration during and post transition through detailed infrastructure documentation, necessary upgrades, and thorough testing and confirmation.

Bob Stockwell Leave a Comment
Maintaining Security Systems in a Corporate Merger Can Be Tricky

During a corporate merger or acquisition, all intrusion systems hardware and software should undergo a hard reset.

A corporate merger or acquisition can be a chaotic time. Because of the disorder that accompanies the corporate reshuffling of a merger or acquisition, businesses are more vulnerable to security risks and must have a plan in place for maintaining their security system during and after the transition.

At some point during the process of a corporate merger or acquisition, Company A would like to meld the legacy security system from newly acquired Company B into their existing enterprise system. This can potentially create issues and cause an otherwise existing stable platform to become less reliable.

An older installation of hardware may not have been maintained, serviced or even upgraded as needed. Sometimes, there may not be the necessary documentation to show where custom components are mounted or how they are powered. Too often, important information, such as cable or network infrastructure limitations — and how these limitations may have affected the system’s custom installation — exists only as tribal knowledge passed verbally between employees, and is often lost in the transfer of a facility from one company to another.

Too often, important information, such as cable or network infrastructure limitations and how these limitations may have affected the system’s custom installation — exists only as tribal knowledge passed verbally between employees, and is often lost in the transfer.

It is highly recommended that every system being acquired and integrated into another enterprise platform is documented and updated before being merged into an existing platform. Confirmation and testing (including a complete power sourcing survey with load testing information) of all powered devices and affected components, including IT-related integration hardware access points to ensure the complete operational functionality of a system. Load testing, with strict load balancing, should be conducted on every lock, card reader or any other security device to ensure every single component is fully functional during power outages.

As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a single malfunctioning lock or card reader that goes undocumented can easily undermine the stability and integrity of the entire security system.

In addition to ensuring the integrity of a system’s hardware, all software support agreements and recurring licensing requirements that may exist on the legacy platform must be reviewed and confirmed before being merged with an enterprise platform. Often, in the middle of the systems integration process, it is discovered that all port licensing has been used and additional port licenses must be purchased from the system’s security provider to complete the merger of enterprise platform. In these situations, the system conversion is stopped in its tracks, causing unplanned expenses and the system migration may be delayed.

Next: These Common Issues Make Security Systems Vulnerable to Failure

Even in some of the most straightforward security system integrations, some hardware or software components from the legacy system will simply not be compatible with the new corporate standard. In these cases, work solutions may be available through third-party software data conduits that will bridge or convert data from one platform to another.

All intrusion systems hardware and software should undergo a hard reset. All previous user and installer codes (including all factory default, service and dealer codes) should be purged from the system, as well as any remote functions that may have been programmed. This will eliminate the possibility of anyone having access who may have serviced the system in the past.

Conversion and consolidation of CCTV systems are also extremely important aspects of maintaining the integrity of a security system through a merger. Fully engaging IT departments and personnel is critical to moving any network device from one host to another to ensure networks are isolated and no device (or camera) is left behind.

Because global enterprise systems can easily exceed thousands of cardholders, the synchronization of information between platforms is a crucial element for maintaining user access privileges through the transition process of a corporate merger or acquisition.

Bob Stockwell is CTO of Stanley Security and “IT Intelligence” contributor for CI sister publication Security Sales & Integration

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