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This article originally appeared in AV Nation's 2020 Tech Bible, available for download here.

The key to understanding AV/IT Security is the recognition that audiovisual information is just another form of data -- a very particular and UX-centric form of data, but data nonetheless.


In this sense, there is no distinction between the AV and IT industries. Every part of our connected world involves the collection, organization, distribution, and management of data. Microphones? Audio data. Control systems? Organizational and system data. Projection screen usage statistics? Yup, that’s data too.


And data has value.


You will be hard-pressed today to find a single user who is not actively engaged in protecting the value of their data. Security is no longer just for governments and banks -- it is now a vital part of the user experience.


From the user’s perspective, the supply chain – devices, components, systems, and services – is only the beginning of the production process. Each element must be integrated, implemented, operated, and sustained, and every step of this “production chain” is a potential target for attackers. When a weakness exists in the production chain, the other elements must compensate, or the whole enterprise will be overrun.


With apologies to Linus, security is not a blanket; rather, the threads of security must be woven into the very fabric of the production process itself. The best partners in the struggle to protect user data are those who incorporate active security methodologies into their developmental and operational processes. For example, when designing components and systems, consider how the AV/UC element interfaces with the user’s information environment. When planning for implementations or operations, identify potential sources of error or manipulation.


Above all, never assume that your job is done. Just as suppliers, integrators, and users enhance their security approaches, attackers continuously improve their methods. Ultimately, it is up to you to protect your AV data. Be vigilant.


To access the full 2020 AV Tech Bible, please click here


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