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ISJ Exclusive: Q&A with Viakoo CEO


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Bud Broomhead, CEO of Viakoo tells International Security Journal why it is so important that organisations focus on their cyber-hygiene.

What makes Viakoo stand out from the competition?

Our focus on automated service assurance and cyber-hygiene solutions is truly unique in the industry – our solution operates at the system level, is vendor-agnostic and is easy to install and operate. Other methods of service assurance and cyber-hygiene are typically manual and require a lot of setup, programming, data entry and management. Viakoo also delivers outstanding return on investment; typically customers see payback within weeks or months, not years.

How can Viakoo solutions ensure video surveillance systems do not stop recording?

There are three ways in which Viakoo prevents “missing video”, or the assumption that video is recording when it really isn’t. First, Viakoo detects subtle issues that may be building up within the infrastructure (camera device, switch, network, server, storage) and applications (camera firmware, VMS, storage management). Viakoo continuously analyses the paths through the infrastructure that a video signal is carried across and reports a “video stream deliverability index”. This is a key performance indicator on the ability for the video streams to be successfully recorded. It provides early warning of issues so they can be prevented from impacting video recording.

The second way in which Viakoo prevents “missing video” is by continuously analysing the storage environment and for every video stream being recorded assessing the ability for it to meet the retention requirements. If the storage is not sufficient (for example, because of disk corruption or running out of space) Viakoo will analyse the situation and propose solutions to achieve full retention compliance such as reducing the frame rate on non-critical video streams.

Finally, the third way is by immediately detecting and alerting when video stops recording, with automated diagnostics providing a root cause analysis and fix-it plan delivered to the service technician.

What risks should organisations be aware of when working with IoT connected devices?

The greatest risk we see is with organisations not adapting to the unique nature of IoT-connected devices, especially around the issue of scale – getting by with what has traditionally been done just won’t cut it. Almost everyone is aware by now of the cybersecurity risks, the operational risks of device failures and the risk of being out of compliance. But to manage these risks requires using automated methods; at scale it is near impossible to manually keep device firmware up to date, enforce password policies or even know when to perform routine maintenance.

Do you think there will come a time when passwords are obsolete?

Yes, especially at the device level. Within the next year you’ll start seeing authentication certificates used at the device level (such as replacing camera device passwords). With a large number of devices, utilising other methods of trust and authentication will need to happen.

What are the benefits of the increasing convergence between physical and cybersecurity?

Physical security teams are benefitting in a number of ways from convergence. The need for cyber-hygiene is prompting organisations to be more focused on knowing what their inventory is and how it is managed in terms of passwords, firmware and metrics. Likewise, it is prompting more dialogue and coordination with other parts of the organisation, especially IT. And while it may seem like a subtle factor, this current convergence is accelerating new and innovative approaches to physical security. Some cybersecurity solutions can be adapted from existing approaches (e.g. virus and malware detection), but other solutions need to be crafted within and for the physical security industry specifically (e.g. camera firmware updating), thus spurring innovation.

What is the plan for Viakoo over the next three years?

Viakoo is one of the fastest growing companies in physical security and we expect that will continue as we deliver innovative solutions for some of the most demanding problems faced by physical security teams. Our core product focus is on service assurance and that will continue. Our second product area is in cyber-hygiene solutions, where there are a number of areas we can expand into. The third product area is in compliance; we recently announced a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories to develop Compliance-as-a-Service solutions for physical security and that will drive interesting new efforts over the next few years.

Bud Broomhead, Viakoo
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