What IT Security Is the Best for AV Projects?

More and more AV installations are using the digital data highway to transmit signals via IT networks and must therefore also meet the requirements of IT security. When planning the connection between AV technology and corporate or organizational IT, there are many aspects to consider. We listened to the industry.

Security aspects also play a role that should not be underestimated in the area of ​​networked media technology, provided that a company or organizational network is used to transmit the signals as part of an AV installation. This must of course be considered when planning systems, installations or projects.

It is certain that AV technicians and system administrators will not always build new systems from scratch; Often enough, existing systems have to be used as a basis. This then also touches on the question of the compatibility of the existing, often older, equipment with current technical systems and software solutions. Naturally, there are then also capacity limits in the existing infrastructure that must be observed. More than ever, specialist planners sit at the interface between AV and IT .

While individual and creative work is of great importance in the AV industry, the IT world seems to be much more determined by standardizations and rules. It is not uncommon for specialist planners to act as “translators” between the sometimes very different work cultures.

Planner as “translator” between AV and IT

Even if there are a wide variety of projects in the AV area, planners. For example, with customers with a large number of conference rooms or multiple locations, it has been found time and again that, in addition to the need for creative working methods, standardization in technology plays a role. In addition to the most uniform possible component equipment and operation of the installed equipment in different rooms, this applies to monitoring and support which StriveAV providers to the users.

A large number of rooms must also be checked and monitored for any errors. Similar to the entire IT structure, standardized messages are processed and evaluated by a support team. Based on experience from a large number of projects, this task is usually carried out by IT support. These specialists are experienced in working in structures that are familiar to them.

Accordingly, it makes sense for media technology to adapt to these structures. Within the industry, the number of companies that operate in these standardized structures is increasing significantly.

For some, this has become the norm because they are repeatedly faced with the task of mapping the AV System Integrator into existing networks and monitoring in accordance with the specifications of the IT structure. It is helpful that most manufacturers of control technology are very well positioned with regard to IT structures. In addition: All components that cannot be neatly integrated into the IT world must be integrated via other interfaces.

Dual AV-IT structure also in the future?

Because AV-technical solutions are now regularly docking with the respective customer IT, the question arises whether there will still be dual planning of AV media technology and conventional company IT in the future. A cautious mood prevails among the industry experts. For the time being and for the time being, according to the assessment, this dual structure will continue to exist. The various fields of application of AV technology differ significantly – as far as the three major areas of image, sound and control are concerned.

The control with a mostly manageable amount of data to be transferred is relatively easy to integrate into existing structures. To ensure security, there are enough security protocols that map what IT requires. Some of the manufacturers have already adapted the relevant standards. The situation is completely different with image and sound transmissions. This is about much higher data throughput rates with the risk that the network will become slow or even close.

Obviously, this creates the requirement to keep these transmissions separate. The media technology is then based at most on the company’s IT structure. However, there are also projects that implement both in the company structure, which are based on this page or operate independently of it. Often people prefer to work with special switches. In such cases, the cabling is already in place, but detached from the active side. The active components are left out.

Efficiency over complexity

Of course, the user profile and the purpose of the system to be planned play a major role. In addition to conferences, there are also quite special scenarios such as training courses or Flex Office use.

However, they are rarely used in the standard conference area. What is more important here is the networking of the components, for example to provide room transmission or to carry out recordings.

Planners like to design a central architecture here in order to save components, because z. B. not every room has to be equipped with its own recording system. A special topic is the area of ​​video conferencing, which also allows a number of different implementation options such as audio video system integrators. It is possible to install your own systems for each room or a centralized structure so that the rooms can be used more flexibly.

Risks when integrating external media sources

With regard to media technology, external sources (keyword BYOD) are rather unproblematic as long as they are “wired” and transmitted to the company’s internal network without a connection. However, this is about the transmission via the company’s own IT network.

When working with BYOD components based on WLAN transmission, users access the company’s IT with their devices. External users would have to be given access to the company network. As a rule, this does not correspond to the security regulations of IT networks. From a security perspective, the use of a sandbox could be helpful, for example by establishing a VLAN (Virtual Local Network).

This approach would mean that internal company users would be forced to change the network settings of their devices if they want to use rooms equipped with BYOD devices. This is a scenario that cannot be implemented, especially since changes to the network environment are usually blocked for administered components.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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