In late 2013, Convergint made a strategic investment in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region by purchasing leading security integration firm ICD Security Solutions. By purchasing ICD Security, Convergint established itself as a top global security integrator serving Fortune 500 companies in both North America and Asia.  (Convergint went on to purchase Beacon Security in early 2014 and Enion Security in 2016, establishing Convergint’s global presence in Europe.)

An area of significant growth for ICD Security in APAC has come from Fortune 500 companies expanding their data center infrastructure in the region.  When it comes to electronic, physical, and perimeter security for data centers, there are few people with a better understanding of this market than ICD Security’s Derek Chan. Derek has helped several dozen Fortune 500 clients establish rigorous physical and electronic security protocols for their data centers in the APAC region. Here Derek shares some of his insights for Fortune 500 firms looking to establish or grow their data center infrastructure in the region.

Tell us about your professional background.

I have been working at ICD Security Solutions for more than seven years, starting as a Key Account Manager out of ICD’s Beijing office. At present, I am the Senior Business Development Manager for our Singapore office where I focus on the data center market across Asia-Pacific. Prior to joining ICD Security, I was a police officer with the Singapore Police Force.

Tell us about ICD Security: what markets do you serve? How is ICD different from other security firms in the region?

ICD Security is one of the leading security system integrators in Asia, serving Fortune 500 companies in the region.  In addition to system integration services, we also provide consulting services, advanced solutions, and professional services, including embedded specialists, hosting and monitoring, tender management, and security audits and assessments.  For service and support, our customers rely heavily on our 24/7/365 service center, which allows us to quickly resolve issues in the region around the clock.

ICD has offices across Asia, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, India, Australia, Singapore. We also manage projects in areas where we do not have an office, such as Bangladesh, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Many of the security integrators in Asia do not have a strong regional presence in Asia, as they mainly focus on their local markets. When ICD Security was acquired by Convergint, it established us as a global security integrator with the ability to service  Fortune 500 and other global companies looking to expand in Asia.

When it comes to technology solutions, ICD is a value-added-reseller (VAR) to many of the top access control, surveillance, and alarm system manufacturers, including Lenel, Avigilon, Milestone, Tyco, S2 Security, GE, Honeywell, Arecont, and more.

How did you begin to focus on data center security?

Our first major data center project was for a global technology company in Singapore. The 9-story data center project was one of the biggest data centers in southeast Asia at the time and is still one of the largest data centers in South East Asia today.  This project really demonstrated the capabilities of the ICD Security team to manage and deliver an extremely complex project successfully.

Beyond global technology companies, Singapore has seen a booming growth in the internet data center market in the last 3-4 years. In addition to this, major data center service providers have been acquiring and building data centers in Singapore and across Asia. Since ICD has a successful track record in complex projects and is uniquely positioned to deliver security results for global companies, it was the logical decision for the ICD executive leadership team to continue to expand our capabilities in the data center vertical.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges faced by data centers as it relates to security?

Unauthorized access has to be a top concern. Some data centers are housed in a third party commercial building with potential for high human traffic counts. With high amounts of traffic, it is very common to see unauthorized personnel roaming around the premise of a data center.  This is very alarming and an issue that needs to be addressed with electronic and physical security measures.

I think it is a mistake to ignore terrorism threats. Terrorists know that data centers store the most important data owned by a company. Some data centers advertise their company signage openly so everyone knows the building is a data center – I prefer a more discreet facade and better perimeter security protection when taking into account the many potential security issues faced by a data center.

Natural disasters are also among the top of the list for potential security threats. Being able to detect and respond to smoke, water, and temperature changes in the data center environment and being able to react quickly are extremely important.  A comprehensive disaster recovery plan should also be considered as it relates to security. ICD offers services to assist with these issues.

What are some common mistakes or pitfalls you see repeated with data centers as it relates to security?

A lack of spare equipment is a common issue. This always leads to longer downtime and increased vulnerability. Along these same lines, the lack of security system maintenance is a continuous issue, as well as older legacy systems. Old systems cost more to maintain over the long-term, as opposed to upgrading to a newer, modern solution.

Having a security standard increases both efficiency and reliability of data centers. One of my passions, and something I think Convergint Technologies and ICD Security Solutions are uniquely positioned to help with, is creating a security standard for global data centers, many of which do not have one currently. Another common issue that I find is the lack of anti-passback, which restricts a user from passing their credentials to another individual, thereby allowing unauthorized access into a controlled area. It is also typical to see emergency exits that are not equipped with buzzers or alarms which help to prevent theft of hardware an intellectual property.

Who are some of the security partners you work with in APAC?

Apart from those partners I mentioned above, we also work closely with:

Anixter – Security and structured cabling distributor
Axis – IP video surveillance solutions
Salto – Physical security solutions
Traka – Key and asset management solutions
Walk Horizon – RFID tracking solutions

Contact Convergint
Security Line Card