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An Interview with Curtis Nikel, President of Vunetrix USA

By September 11, 2017October 17th, 2017Interviews

What’s your background in the security industry?

I have been working in the security space as an integrator since 1990. Back then, we managed video in an analog way: through radio frequencies. Those were the days when long video transmissions would not travel down a copper cable without first converting it. We introduced security-as-a-service (SaaS) to enterprise businesses, and after a while, Norsat became a recognized player in our area. This experience uncovered an interest in and passion for expanding my role as a security integrator. That is why, in 2005, I founded CONTAVA with the vision to become a leader in the security integrator space.

At the same time, a new challenge was surfacing in physical security. Much of the hardware IP-based equipment caused numerous issues for every industry. Most difficulties emerged from the newly-discovered need to have security and IT teams work together to safeguard their environments. These previously siloed teams did not understand each other: security professionals had no experience with IT hardware, and IT saw IP-based physical security equipment as a burden. Often, IP devices were feared to occupy more of the network than it had been designed to handle, and it was thought video produced an immense amount of data.

Coming from a business / data background, I understood how to support security teams and knew that I could help them bridge the chasm between them and their IT departments. My dual skill set presented a great opportunity and defined CONTAVA’s mission: to become the bridge between IT and Security departments who now needed to work together.

Why Vunetrix?

As the years progressed and CONTAVA cemented its reputation in the security integrator space, I discovered a very forward looking new technology called Vunetrix. This purpose-built technology was designed specifically for physical security. Once I saw how it worked, a light came on. I thought to myself, “Here’s a product that sits in the background and reports instantly whether or not the IP devices connected to the security infrastructure are working.”

As integrators, we at CONTAVA dealt with customers who’s security was critical to their operation and they expected their systems to work flawlessly once implemented. Their expectation was, “We bought it, you designed it—it should just work!” However, IP systems require continuous monitoring after implementation. This post-implementation monitoring made Vunetrix critical to security environments: Vunetrix helped us, the integrator, take better care of the customer. Using Vunetrix, we knew before our customers whether something was working or not or if anything was behaving abnormally inside their security networks. This foresight was a win-win! When security devices fail, they put the entire company at risk. With Vunetrix, integrators can keep a finger on the heartbeat of their clients’ security networks.

What sets Vunetrix apart from other security solutions?

As I shared before, Vunetrix was purpose-built for the physical security environment. Its entire design unites IT security products across the network. No other product in the security space today combines devices and IT infrastructure monitoring and reporting on a single dashboard.

Vunetrix addresses every performance metric for a physical security system during its entire life cycle. Our technology helps you proactively manage your security infrastructure and move away from a “break/fix” model.” That way, you can address issues before they become problems.

When you deploy Vunetrix to monitor your physical security network, you can expect instant reporting of performance and security concerns. The system notifies you in real-time if any of the devices on your network are acting “abnormally.”

What’s more, Vunetrix is both product and integrator agnostic. It does not matter who makes your network devices, what software you are using, or which integrator is your favorite: The Vunetrix tool integrates into your system and instantly begins reporting meaningful data.

How does Vunetrix help security professionals?

Vunetrix helps Security professionals monitor network life cycles, generate real-time metrics, and manage limited human resources. We believe our clients call the convergence of these three areas their “Quality of Service Assurance.”

To start, the Vunetrix software logs state-of-health changes across your network, giving your security professionals the ability to review life cycle maintenance and to schedule suitable replacements. Using the tool also assures accurate budgeting and quality service based on real metrics. Vunetrix produces meaningful and actual numbers to verify that your team has delivered high-quality security service.

Vunetrix also helps your security department address issues related to limited staff resources. When running enterprise security systems with more than 1,000 cameras or multiple locations across the nation, it is impossible to monitor the health of your infrastructure unless you have adequate support. When using Vunetrix technology, the tool is always on, logging and reporting. You know instantly if your devices are offline or behaving abnormally. Even with limited staff, your security team will have all the support it needs to keep your network secure.

When your Security professionals can report that the system has been up 99% of the time instead of throwing out excuses (like “We don’t have video!” and “We didn’t even know about it!”), everyone wins. Our Quality of Service Assurance guarantees that security teams and their clients conquer network and physical security gaps and challenges.

How does Vunetrix help IT departments?

Your IT professionals face a lack of time every day: there never seem to be enough hours or workers to support the company’s infrastructure. Time constraints are incredibly frustrating with ever-changing cyber security threats that tend to sneak up on security teams, introducing potential system or service quality failures at unexpected times.

When your security team uses Vunetrix, they receive factual reports and need only to reach out to IT when something is not right. When Security professionals do reach out, they can have a meaningful conversation about what is happening because they have real data—in context—that defines the problem: they do not have to guess what the problem is. Reaching out only when needed with meaningful conversations backed by real data saves your IT department valuable time and resources.

What future challenges do you foresee for the security industry?

As Governments continue to take bigger roles in overseeing businesses, I expect to see more and more regulation. Compliance is already a big issue in many industries, especially healthcare, security in public spaces, and international shipping and logistics. Businesses must be able to ensure that their security and networks function as designed to meet regulatory requirements. New and existing mandates hold companies accountable for assuring and proving compliance. Fortunately, Vunetrix reports compliance on demand and is flexible enough to change as regulations evolve.

Any last insight you would like to share?

Operations and labor costs are at all-time highs and still rising. Therefore we understand the quality of the tools and technologies we use daily give companies and departments their competitive advantage. When you have access to quality and timely information, you find efficiencies which permit you to respond to issues immediately.

At Vunetrix, we take pride in sharing the results businesses achieve when using our software. Security and IT professionals as well as C-suite executives are amazed at how quickly they have meaningful, accurate information. In my experience, Security Leaders always want to know what they don’t. Thus, Vunetrix was developed. It was built specifically for tomorrows Security Leaders!