Any device visible on the network is at risk of cyberattack, including audio/visual technology, which is why certified audio/visual integrators should be consulted. An AV system manufactured by a reputable brand and installed by an experienced integrator will offer a degree of security against intrusion, but there is still room for improvement. An experienced AV integrator is essential for your organization because they are familiar with the methods hackers use to attack AV technology. Although calling an expert in this area is essential when setting up an AV system for maximum security, it is your IT personnel and AV partner who will be responsible for maintaining the system's security.
Intruders target AV equipment for many reasons, but the most insidious of them is infiltrating other network devices, exposing employees' personal records and company financial information. Once hackers and intruders are inside AV technology, what can they do? For starters:
- Join conferencing sessions, including video conferencing, discreetly and anonymously
- Listen in on people by starting a conferencing session while the system is inactive.
- Configure the system so that other features and components become visible or vulnerable.
- Exploit a weakness in the network's security to gain access to other network devices and systems.
While that list should alarm any network administrator, it barely scratches the surface of what damage can be done once an attacker is inside.
Network security plays a crucial role in preventing attacks. Since today's AV systems are rapidly merging with organizations' networks, all due consideration must be given by IT departments when implementing security plans. AV technology cannot exist as an isolated entity - it must be integrated into the organization's broader network security protocol, or it may soon be compromised.
The following methods can be used to strengthen AV equipment and the network on which it depends:
1. Before any AV technology is integrated into the space, a plan must be developed for physically securing it when not in use. Attacks can originate from within as well as from exposed components, so it is a good idea to lock away any non-operational components behind secured doors and inside secure cabinets as the first line of defense.
2. AV performance should always be monitored. For years, IT has relied on monitoring software to ensure their devices are functioning properly. System performance changes like unexpected surges in activity may be signs of something malicious.
3. Professional IT teams have a wealth of security tools and techniques at their disposal to safeguard AV systems from external intrusions. For example, systems can be protected behind a firewall, rely on in-system programming, or be connected to a virtual local area network. It is also important to take into account the operating system of a network since the most common ones are the most susceptible to malicious programming.
A secure network requires both audiovisual and information technology to operate as one, even though they were developed independently. In order to ensure that your AV system is as secure as possible, you will need the advice of a certified audio/visual integrator as well as your IT department.