June 11, 2020

By Jaisica Lapsiwala

More devices connected to the network, increased wireless access, and a steep increase in the volume of content and data can leave room for temptation from outside attackers. Security, however, is not just about hacks and stolen data, it's important to fix internal flaws and embed best security practice to avoid accidental errors and protect yourself from both insider and outsider threats.

With so much going on, knowing where to start and what you should secure can be confusing.

AVIXA™ spoke to a panel of experts about the need for secure systems when planning and executing a live event and how to mitigate the risk.

What security measures does the SANS Institute implement at their events?

The SANS Institute specializes in information security and cybersecurity training, so security is top of mind for their live events. John Pescatore, Director, Emerging Security Trends, SANS Institute, USA, reinforced the message of basic hygiene, “It’s the little things such as the password for Wi-Fi should not be the same at every event.”

“The worry in events is now not theft. The worry is somebody coming in and mixing compromised hardware with supplies.”
John Pescatore
Director, Emerging Security Trends, SANS Institute, USA
John Pescatore

He added, “Physical security is also increasingly important. Recently there's been malicious USB sticks and even worse, malicious charging cables. There's actual software running in the hardware that then launches malware onto the computer. So, when you think about operating in a hotel, where's your equipment left overnight? And what sort of giveaways are being left out for the attendees?”

What’s the current status of networked AV in hotels for corporate live events?

Matt Harvey, VP of Specialty Services, PSAV, USA, shared that, “Permanently installed systems in hotels and portable AV (often used for production) have different challenges. Permanent is much more mature and much easier to converge onto a network and you have more time to consider security. Portable AV is in its infancy in terms of its interaction with the venue’s networks. There's a huge advantage to thinking about how do you converge AV onto the venue network, and how do you make the venue network usable. Currently, we don't see this sort of adoption of being able to use the venue infrastructure for the production of events.

On the technology side, it is only in the last couple of years, we have got the point, performance wise, where technology on both sides is reaching an ROI point where it makes sense to start thinking about converging some of this stuff on the network versus running things separately.”

Harvey also added, “… there is definitely a level of trust between the production company and the venue network that we need to improve on as well.”

“The worry in events is now not theft. The worry is somebody coming in and mixing compromised hardware with supplies.”
Matt Harvey
VP of Specialty Services, PSAV, USA
Matt Harvey

Harvey explains, “I chair a workgroup called Hospitality Technology Next Generation. They exist to solve interoperability problems in the hospitality space. The aim is to develop some best practices around network designs and some best practices in terms of IT related standards that could be more broadly adopted by the manufacturers and that will give us a great base from which to work on a more consistent approach to how we get this gear on and off venue networks.

Currently, AV manufacturers don't really understand IT to the degree that we need them to, and IT network operators don't understand live event production very well at all. So, trying to improve the collaboration understanding of those two worlds is going to be huge.”

Watch the full roundtable discussion on Best Practice Security Measures for AV in Live Events.

Best Practice for Security Measures for AV in Live Events Screenshot | AVIXA