Securing the AV Network and System

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Securing the AV Network and System

This is a good news blog, not a cautionary tale.  

For many years the AV community has been focused on ease of use, user experience, schedules, lower cost, and touch panel layouts as a function of construction and delivery. With this approach the industry has delivered some extraordinary results that surround us every day. Our dreams realized, we now have Silicon Core Video Walls that change from Art Scene to Interconnected Executive Boardroom with Cisco SX80 Speaker Track Systems, Shure Dante enabled MXA 912 celling array microphones, Wireless Mersive Solstice Pod Inputs and Controlled by a Crestron DMPS3-4K with only a Fusion Scheduling Interface and Occupancy Sensor; No visible wires and seamless user experience.  

Along with the experience comes the pre-eminent AV service model of a 1-year warranty period, that still spells out specifically, bi-annual cleaning the filters on the Digital Projection E-Vision 4500 data projector and more vaguely describes the AV enabled network equipment that should be focused on. 
The DM-NVX-350 DigitalMedia™ 4K60 4:4:4 HDR Network AV Encoder/Decoder, with 10/27/2017 Firmware - DM-NVX-350_DM-NVX-351_DM-NVX-350C_DM-NVX-351C ver.1.3450.00029 is just another black box and not necessarily as a place for continual attention. 
So, while the future seems to have arrived as expected, it has brought with it a host of vulnerabilities that require attention not inherently part of the AV mindset. I’m talking about the dreaded Network Security. CAPTUS was founded for just this very moment in time. 

Good News. Many of the newest products and firmware releases from Crestron, SVSI, Extron, Altona, AMX and others have addressed vulnerabilities in previous releases and products that interact on the network. A prime example of this is the Crestron DigitalMedia NVX that uses the SSH protocol vs Telnet protocol. This added layer of security provides encryption to devices and “boxes” with RJ45 jacks that were under the radar and not considered a problem for many years. 
 
And while this is an excellent start it means that there are still potentially thousands of open doors that may be visible to the outside world keeping many CSO, CIO and CTO up through the night.  

Many, but not all, of the larger enterprise clients have taken the necessary steps to ensure a solid defense to an omnipresent threat but the AV Industry has been slower than the IT community to adopt the new higher-level standards for securing the network. 

But make no mistake, the risk is real to everyone and it demands immediate action. Especially at risk is the Small and Mid-size business who may have a higher percentage of legacy vulnerable products and may have more limited resources. This risk extends to satellite offices of the larger enterprise where the AV procurement may be handled by an office manager or facility person who may not have the support or skills to implement the proper security protocol yet has been doing the AV for years. 

Thankfully this too is changing and CAPTUS is here to deliver by extending the warranty period and providing a qualified partner for the long term.  Our team of qualified, certified network AV specialists are distinguished by their knowledge and adherence to the CAPTUS process which means nothing falls through the cracks.