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AI and Security Cameras: The Future of Safety in Southern California


In the bustling landscapes of Southern California, from the vibrant streets of Los Angeles to the sun-kissed beaches of San Diego, the safety and security of residents and businesses remain paramount. Over the years, security cameras have played a pivotal role in maintaining this security, but with the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the game is rapidly changing. Companies like TeraPixels Systems are at the forefront of this evolution, blending advanced network cabling techniques with AI-powered surveillance systems to redefine security protocols.

The Intersection of AI and Security Cameras

Traditional security cameras served as the eyes on the street, providing footage that could be reviewed when an incident occurred. However, with the introduction of AI, these cameras have become proactive agents. Instead of just recording, they can analyze, detect, and predict unusual activities or potential threats in real-time.
For instance, AI-powered cameras can differentiate between a stray animal and a human, between a moving car and a person lurking around. They can recognize license plates, count the number of people in an area, and even detect loitering or unusual movement patterns that may indicate suspicious activity.

Network Cabling: The Backbone of Modern Surveillance

The fusion of AI and security cameras demands robust infrastructure. This is where advanced network cabling comes into play. The data flow between cameras and servers must be fast and uninterrupted for real-time processing and instant alerts. The cabling infrastructure, often overlooked, is crucial to support the vast amount of data transfer that AI algorithms require.

TeraPixels Systems, with its expertise in this realm, ensures that businesses in Southern California benefit from top-tier network cabling. This ensures seamless communication between AI-driven security cameras and centralized systems, allowing for swift data analysis and instant action when needed.

Southern California’s Push Towards AI-Integrated Safety

With its dynamic mix of urban centers, businesses, and residential areas, Southern California presents a unique set of security challenges. The region’s push towards smarter cities necessitates a safety infrastructure that is not just reactive but proactive. AI-equipped security cameras meet this demand.

Furthermore, as more businesses, institutions, and public spaces in the area adopt this technology, there’s a collective uplift in security standards. Cameras in one location can share data with those in another, creating an interconnected web of surveillance that constantly learns and adapts.

Why TeraPixels Systems Stands Out

TeraPixels Systems stands out as a beacon of innovation in this rapidly evolving landscape. With their commitment to integrating artificial intelligence with top-notch security cameras, they are setting new standards in the surveillance industry. Their in-depth knowledge of network cabling ensures that these high-tech cameras function optimally, making the most of their AI capabilities.

Furthermore, their understanding of Southern California’s unique needs and challenges enables them to tailor solutions for businesses and institutions in the region. TeraPixels Systems’ AI-driven surveillance solutions offer unparalleled security, from small retail outlets to sprawling commercial complexes.

In Conclusion

The future of safety and security is undeniably intertwined with artificial intelligence. As security cameras become more intelligent and proactive, the reliance on robust network cabling becomes even more pronounced. In this transformative journey, TeraPixels Systems emerges as a trusted partner, leading the way with innovative solutions redefining how Southern California perceives safety.

With AI at the helm and advanced infrastructure supporting it, residents and businesses in the region can look forward to a safer, more secure tomorrow.

Peace of mind is just a call away. Call TeraPixels Systems at 855-203-6339 now for a free consultation. Stay safe, stay secure.

Leveraging License Plate Recognition Security Cameras: A Look at the Power of Intelligent Surveillance


In an increasingly security-conscious society, harnessing technology for safety and crime prevention is a growing focus. One such innovation that is making significant strides is License Plate Recognition (LPR) security cameras. These advanced surveillance systems are equipped with software that can read and recognize license plates, providing a new level of security and utility for businesses, law enforcement, hotels, and restaurants.

Parking Management

One of the most prominent uses of LPR cameras is in parking management. Shopping centers, colleges, corporate campuses, and residential communities can automate parking access control with these cameras. They can automatically read and record each vehicle’s license plate entering or exiting, eliminating the need for traditional gate systems or parking tickets.

Traffic Law Enforcement

LPR cameras have significantly revolutionized traffic law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies can use these systems to detect and record traffic violations like speeding, illegal turns, or running red lights. They can also identify stolen vehicles or those associated with criminal activity in real-time, providing actionable intelligence that contributes to public safety.

Toll Collection

Toll roads, bridges, and tunnels benefit significantly from LPR technology. Automated toll collection systems can capture and process license plate data, facilitating a smooth traffic flow, reducing the need for vehicles to stop or slow down.

Enhanced Security at Sensitive Locations

LPR cameras can provide an additional layer of security at sensitive locations like airports, government buildings, or power plants. By monitoring and logging all vehicles that come in and out, security personnel can quickly identify any unauthorized vehicles, enhancing situational awareness and response time to potential threats.

Neighborhood Watch

Even on a smaller scale, residential neighborhoods can leverage LPR cameras as a part of their neighborhood watch programs. LPR systems can help identify and record unfamiliar vehicles that enter the area, potentially helping to prevent crime or assist law enforcement in the aftermath of an incident.

Retail and Business Security

Businesses can employ LPR cameras to enhance security in their parking lots. These systems can alert security staff of known shoplifters’ vehicles, vehicles lingering in the parking lot after hours, or cars that frequently visit but never patronize the business, enabling proactive responses to potential threats.

However, while there are numerous benefits to LPR cameras, considerations around privacy should be a priority. Clear policies on data use, retention, and access should be put in place and communicated to the public. It’s a balance between security and privacy rights that should be treated with due consideration.

The potential uses for LPR cameras are broad and impactful. From improving parking management to enhancing law enforcement capabilities and providing businesses and residents with increased security, LPR technology is transforming how we manage and secure our spaces. It’s a powerful testament to how technology can enhance our safety, security, and convenience when used responsibly.

Call TeraPixels Systems at (855)-203-6339 for a complimentary Commercial Security Camera consultation.

Network Cabling Installation: Building the Backbone of Efficient Connectivity


In today’s digital age, a robust and reliable network cabling infrastructure is the backbone of any successful organization. Whether it’s a small business, a large corporation, or an educational institution, efficient connectivity is essential for seamless communication, data transfer, and overall productivity. And at the core of a solid network lies proper network cabling installation. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of network cabling installation and its key considerations.

Network cabling installation refers to setting up the physical infrastructure that enables data transmission within a network. It involves carefully planning, designing, and installing cables, connectors, and related components to establish a secure and efficient network environment. Here are some reasons why professionally designed and installed network cabling is vital:

  • Reliability and Performance: A well-planned and properly installed network cabling system ensures reliable and high-performance connectivity. It minimizes the risk of signal interference, data loss, and transmission errors, resulting in faster and more stable network connections. This is especially crucial for organizations that rely on data-intensive applications, video conferencing, and real-time collaboration.
  • Scalability: A structured cabling system allows for more effortless scalability and future expansion. With proper planning, additional network devices and endpoints can be seamlessly integrated without disrupting the existing infrastructure. This flexibility is vital for businesses that experience growth or need to adapt to changing technological demands.
  • Simplified Troubleshooting and Maintenance: An organized and well-labeled cabling system simplifies troubleshooting and maintenance. Clear documentation and labeling of cables and connections make it easier for network administrators to identify and resolve issues quickly, minimizing downtime and optimizing network performance.
  • Future-Proofing: A professionally installed network cabling system considers current industry standards and best practices. By adhering to these standards, such as using Category 6 or higher cables, organizations can future-proof their infrastructure to support emerging technologies and higher bandwidth requirements.
  • Enhanced Security: Network cabling installation is vital in maintaining network security. Proper cable management ensures that sensitive data remains protected, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches. Additionally, a well-designed cabling system can incorporate security measures such as physical access control and surveillance.

When considering network cabling installation, it’s essential to keep a few key factors in mind:

  • Professional Expertise: Engaging experienced network cabling professionals or certified installers is crucial. They have the skills and expertise to design and implement a cabling system that meets industry standards, regulations, and specific organizational needs.
  • Planning and Design: Thorough planning and design are essential for a successful installation. Factors like cable types, network topology, cable pathways, and equipment locations should be carefully considered to optimize performance and ensure future scalability.
  • Cable Management: Proper cable management includes organizing and labeling cables, utilizing cable trays, racks, and conduits, and implementing cable management solutions for neat and efficient cable routing. This simplifies troubleshooting, maintenance, and future upgrades.
  • Testing and Certification: After installation, rigorous testing and certification should be conducted to ensure that the cabling system meets industry standards and performs optimally. This includes tests for cable continuity, signal integrity, and network performance.

Network cabling installation forms the foundation of a reliable and efficient network infrastructure, an investment that pays off in improved connectivity, scalability, and productivity. By entrusting the installation to professionals and considering the critical factors mentioned, organizations can build a solid network infrastructure that meets their current and future connectivity needs.

Call TeraPixels Systems at (855)-203-6339 for a complimentary structured network cabling consultation.

Biometric Access Control and AI: Enhancing Security and Efficiency


In today’s digital age, security has become an ever-increasing concern, and organizations are exploring new ways to secure their facilities and data. Biometric access control systems and artificial intelligence (AI) have emerged as promising technologies in the realm of security, enhancing the security of access points and providing real-time insights and alerts to help prevent security breaches.

Biometric access control systems are advanced technology that uses unique biometric characteristics such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or voice recognition to authenticate a person’s identity and grant them access. These systems are much more secure than traditional access control systems that rely on keys, access cards, or PIN codes, which can be lost, stolen, or hacked. Biometric access control systems are virtually impossible to duplicate or fake, providing a high level of security.

One of the critical advantages of biometric access control systems is their accuracy and speed. In a world where time is money, biometric systems eliminate the need for manual checks, speeding up the process of granting access. For example, with facial recognition technology, individuals can gain access by simply looking at the camera, and the system will authenticate their identity in seconds. This makes the process much more efficient, particularly in high-traffic areas.

However, biometric access control systems could be more foolproof, and that’s where AI comes in. By integrating AI algorithms, biometric access control systems can analyze data from multiple sources, such as surveillance cameras and access control logs, to provide real-time insights and alerts. AI can detect potential security breaches, such as unauthorized access attempts, and send alerts to security personnel to take corrective action. Additionally, AI algorithms can be trained to recognize patterns and anticipate user behavior, allowing for a more streamlined and personalized user experience.

Integrating AI and biometric access control systems offers several benefits, including improved security, efficiency, and user experience. However, it is also essential to consider the potential challenges and risks associated with these technologies. One of the main challenges is data privacy and security. Biometric data, namely facial recognition or fingerprints, is highly personal and sensitive information and must be stored and processed securely. Any unauthorized access or misuse of biometric data can have serious repercussions, including identity theft and fraud.

Another challenge is the potential for prejudice in AI algorithms. AI algorithms are only proportionate to the data that feeds them. If the data utilized to train AI algorithms is skewed, it can lead to inaccurate results and decisions, particularly in facial recognition technology. This could lead to false negatives or positives, leading to unintended consequences and creating distrust in the technology.

Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of biometric access control systems and AI outweigh the risks. These technologies offer higher security, accuracy, and efficiency, making them an attractive option for organizations looking to enhance their security protocols. By implementing appropriate security measures and adopting responsible practices for handling biometric data, organizations can fully realize the potential of these technologies while minimizing the risks.

In conclusion, biometric access control systems and AI are promising technologies that offer several benefits in the realm of security. By leveraging biometric characteristics and AI algorithms, organizations can improve their security protocols, enhance the user experience, and gain real-time insights into potential security breaches. It is essential to acknowledge the potential risks and challenges that come with these technologies and adopt appropriate measures to ensure their secure and responsible implementation. With the right approach, biometric access control systems and AI can be powerful tools to protect people, facilities, and data in today’s digital age.

Call us at (855)-203-6339 for a complimentary access control security consultation.

Top 10 Facts Tech Leaders Should Know About Cloud Migration

Cloud Migration Is A Harder Form Of Cloud Adoption

Cloud migration gained much popularity after Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent in 2015 and a revolutionary speech by General Electric’s (GE’s) CIO, Jim Fowler.1 Rather than focusing public cloud adoption on building new apps, Fowler referred to AWS as a preferred outsourcing option to host its existing applications. Prior to this, I&O leaders had disregarded cloud migration as hard, expensive, and detrimental to the performance of applications. The new storyline highlighted megacloud ecosystem benefits, reinforced outsourcing messaging, and, more importantly, promised that cheaper migration methods were no longer problematic and careful planning could mitigate the performance issues.

Decide Whether Migration Is An App Strategy Or A Data Center Strategy

After collecting hundreds of cloud migration stories, Forrester recognizes that enterprises view cloud migration from two vastly different points of view: 1) an application sourcing strategy or 2) a data center strategy. Depending on which lens they’re using, enterprises build their business cases around different timelines, drivers, goals, and expectations (see Figure 1). Organizations may view cloud migration as:

An app sourcing strategy. The goal is to optimize sourcing decisions for a full app portfolio. Typically, the scope of migration is limited to large packaged app hubs, subsets of apps with certain characteristics, or apps with location-based performance challenges. Major enterprise applications, e.g., SAP S4/HANA, commonly move to public cloud platforms with ongoing supplemental managed services support.2 Business cases usually outline mitigated latency, improved experience, or lower operational costs to maintain the migrated workloads.

A data center strategy. The goal is outsourcing as many apps as possible. The scale for this approach is large and usually tied to a “moment of change” (e.g., new executives, a data center refresh, a data center closing, or a contract ending). With such massive scale, these enterprises opt for less expensive migration paths and are more forgiving of performance drops that may occur during the initial migration. Data center strategists rarely complete migrations without the support of consultancies and tooling. Business cases usually rely on classic outsourcing benefits, cost avoidance, and reduced staffing (often through attrition) to justify the expense.


Forrester’s Top 10 Cloud Migration Fact

Today, 76% of North American and European enterprise infrastructure decision makers consider migrating existing applications to the cloud as part of their cloud strategy.3 This shockingly high figure is supported with powerful enterprise examples, including Allscripts, BP, Brinks Home Security, Brooks Brothers, Capital One, Chevron, The Coca-Cola Company, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), GE, Hess, J.B. Hunt Transport, Kellogg, Land O’Lakes, and McDonald’s.4 Despite cloud’s popularity, migration is still hard. It’s still expensive. And it still requires due diligence to mitigate these factors. Here are Forrester’s top 10 facts that I&O leaders should know about cloud migration:

  1. Cloud migration won’t have the same benefits as SaaS migration. When you adopt a software as-a-service (SaaS) technology, you’re using a new app designed specifically for a cloud platform. An app specialist is managing and updating that app. The new app has a new interface that your business users access and recognize as different. When you’re migrating an app to a cloud platform, none of that is true. You’re placing the same app in a generic cloud platform without the support of an app specialist. Any redesign requires your time, and the business user ultimately experiences the same app and interface. The best-case scenario is that performance stays the same and your business users don’t notice. That’s a lot less compelling than the case for SaaS.5 Don’t equate the two migration terms.
  2. Business users don’t care about cloud migration. If all goes well, your business users will experience the same app with no decline in performance. That isn’t a very compelling story for business users. If your cloud strategy is supposed to inspire, don’t focus your marketing on migration. Instead, focus on the elements of your cloud IT strategy that deliver new capabilities. Although its potential is powerful — in that cloud migration can clean up inefficiencies or release spend that might help fund new investments — the migration itself isn’t inspiring. For enterprises with “cloud first” policies, cloud migration may involve a corporatewide awareness that requires technology professionals to engage with the business to help ensure a smooth transition
  3. Cloud migration is hard. Cloud platforms differ in a few fundamental ways from enterprise data centers; they use commodity infrastructure, extremely high average-sustained utilization levels, and minimal operational time per virtual machine (VM).6 Consumers also get a financial reward if their apps vary resource usage as their traffic varies. Knowing this, enterprises have accordingly designed new apps to mitigate cost and obtain high performance. But for existing apps — as highlighted in cloud migration — this is much more difficult. Redesign or modernization, although ideal, is costly. Organizations can systematically solve these challenges, but learning these best practices can be painful. For critical workloads, the tolerance for mistakes can be low, especially when the advantages of the migration itself are less apparent to business users.
  4. Cloud readiness means scalable, resilient, and dependency-aware. To ready existing applications for cloud, enterprises look at basic improvements that can make a big difference in a public cloud. They ensure financial alignment by making their apps scale, consuming fewer resources when they’re less busy. Dependency mapping is another key step toward readiness, eliminating low-value dependencies and grouping applications into ecosystems to inform sets for the migration plan. More-thorough approaches break apps into services to increase application resiliency by eliminating dependencies within a single application. Migration discovery tools provide some readiness findings, including version updates, dependencies, financial implications, minimal application code and architectural feedback, and grouping suggestions
  5. Mass migrations typically align to a moment of change. Rightsourcing decisions explore characteristics that favor cloud.8 Mass migration (e.g., the migration of an entire app portfolio or a substantial number of apps), usually aligns to a “moment of change.” This includes executive changes; acquisitions/divestitures; the end of colocation contracts; infrastructure refreshes; IT cyber security, drastic changes in sourcing; and fear of, or experienced, disruption, any of which motivate significant and costly action at a specific point in time. Aligning to beneficial timing can make it easier to gain support, overcome barriers, or justify the economics behind a costly change. Almost all mass migrations align to one of these moments.
  6. Four paths exist for cloud migration. You may hear references to “the six R’s of migration” — rehost, replatform, repurchase, refactor, retire, and retain.9 Occasionally, other favored “R” terms are mixed in — redesign, rebuild, refresh, etc. Forrester highlights four key paths to cloud migration: 1) lift-and-shift (minimal change and moved through replication technology); 2) lift-and-extend (rehosting the app while making significant changes after the move); 3) hybrid extension (not moving existing parts of an app but rather building new parts in a public cloud); and 4) full replacement (complete or major rewrites to the application).10 Each company uses multiple methods for migration. Lift-and-shift is less resource-intensive, as it involves little change; however, this may cause performance decline. Full replacement requires significant change and resources
  7. Creating a cloud migration business case isn’t easy. Cost savings are hard to come by in cloud migration. Certain characteristics may make it easier to cut costs, such as shutting down data centers, eliminating painful inefficiencies, making minimal changes, and relying on minimal support for the migration. These may not be plausible or even recommended. Some of the more compelling business cases rely on cost avoidance, not cost savings (e.g., not buying new infrastructure). Creating your business case means cost, benefits, and future enablers, as defined by Forrester’s Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) model.11 Although you can support your documentation with any of the case studies noted above, it’s impossible to create your business case before you’ve defined the scope of your migration or gathered data about the specifics of your applications.
  8. Native platforms, consultancies, MSPs, and tools aid migration. Cloud migration is a massive revenue opportunity for cloud platforms. As a result, major public cloud platforms have eagerly built out migration support services, tooling, and certifications. Consultancies provide dedicated assistance to evaluate, plan, and migrate workloads, especially for massive migrations. MSPs also assist in migration but largely focus on the ongoing management after the migration. Standalone discovery and replication software assist both self-run and supported migrations. If you’re looking for support, it’s easy to come by.
  9. Hosted private cloud can be a less painful incremental step. Hosted private cloud isn’t the flashiest cloud technology. In fact, it falls short of public cloud capabilities and expectations in almost every way. However, it has three characteristics that deliver a practical solution for many use cases: 1) It’s often built on VMware products; 2) it has dedicated options; and 3) it’s managed by a service provider. For cloud migrators, it’s far easier to migrate a portfolio of applications to a VMware-based cloud environment, isolated from other clients and partially managed to the OS or app so they can meet aggressive deadlines and stable performance more realistically. This approach can help control costs, avoid performance issues, and provide migration support to the public cloud, with the help of your hosted private cloud provider.
  10. Repatriation happens, but it’s an app-level decision. Applications occasionally go in the other direction. The term repatriation started with cloud-negative origins to save reputation when an ill-advised cloud migration occurred prior to market maturity. More recently, it reflects a one-off sourcing change for an app when its characteristics change during the life of that workload and no longer are acceptable on a public cloud platform. Organizations undertake this effort only when the current state is painful — not simply inconvenient or slightly more expensive. Usually, it’s regulation or significant cost escalation that would drive such a drastic change for an app. AI/ML is a common cost example. Regulation-driven repatriation can mean that the scope of the application has changed, the regulation has changed, or the company’s approach to complying with regulation has evolved. Very rarely do we see complete strategywide repatriation, but when it occurs, it’s large technology footprints or ASIC requirements (e.g., Dropbox) that drive this decision

Prepare Yourself For Your Migration Strategy

Our team of IT Service Professionals in Orange County can start your cloud migration strategy off by educating your migration team, executives, and business users about how cloud migration fits into your larger cloud strategy. I&O professionals should use this report to help outline the key concepts to ensure better communication and accurate expectations. Moving forward, here are the steps you’ll need to tackle:

Identify the best-fit scope. Before jumping into cloud migration, first determine whether you’re seeking gains at the application level or the data center level. This is the first stage of determining scope. For those seeking app-level gains, start with your application portfolio. Create your own sourcing framework. This may include cloud readiness, variability, scalability, location challenges, dependencies, compliance requirements, data types, need for additional support, expected lifetime, and app satisfaction. For those seeking gains at the data center level, the framework will be similar but the results will heavily skew in favor of public cloud or SaaS migration as the preferred options. The framework itself may ask “why not” host in a certain solution rather than whether it’s the best fit or optimized in that platform. Rather than app-level optimization, the goal is system-level optimization, where the enterprise data center is seen as a source of inefficiency

Determine (and find) the support you need. Support is expensive but valuable, depending on your scope, experience, and executive sponsorship. Most migrators leverage some level of support, whether it’s tools, workshops, best practices, early guidance, or full migration support. After determining the right level of support, you’ll need to decide the type of provider that will deliver it and which set of partners meets your needs

Obtain real estimates based on your own numbers. The most common cloud migration inquiry question — “How much will I save from cloud migration?” — is impossible to answer accurately without inputs from your own estate. Your scope, current configurations, trust in autoscaling, anticipated changes, use of consultancies, cost avoidance, and team skill sets will all determine this figure. Each major cloud provider offers calculators. Each consultancy gives its own estimates. Before making definitive claims in your business case, get some real estimates and determine which costs won’t be going away

Five common data security pitfalls to avoid

Data security should be a top priority for enterprises, and for good reason

Even as the IT landscape becomes increasingly decentralized and complex, it’s important to understand that many security breaches are preventable. While individual security challenges and goals may differ from company to company, often organizations make the same widespread mistakes as they begin to tackle data security. What’s more, many enterprise leaders often accept these errors as normal business practice.

There are several internal and external factors that can lead to successful cyberattacks, including:

  •  Erosion of network perimeters 
  •  Increased attack surfaces offered by more complex IT environments 
  •  Growing demands that cloud services place on security practices 
  •  Increasingly sophisticated nature of cyber crimes 
  •  Persistent cybersecurity skills shortage 
  •  Lack of employee awareness surrounding data security risks

How strong is your data security practice?

Let’s look at five of the most prevalent—and avoidable—data security missteps that make organizations vulnerable to potential attacks, and how you can avoid them.

Pitfall 1

Failure to move beyond compliance

Compliance doesn’t necessarily equal security. TeraPixels System and their team of IT service professionals in San Diego, focus their security resources to comply with an audit or certification can become complacent. Many large data breaches have happened in organizations that were fully compliant on paper. The following examples show how focusing solely on compliance can diminish effective security:

Incomplete coverage

Enterprises often scramble to address database misconfigurations and outdated access polices prior to an annual audit. Vulnerability and risk assessments should be ongoing activities.

Minimal effort

Many businesses adopt data security solutions just to fulfill legal or business partner requirements. This mindset of “let’s implement a minimum standard and get back to business” can work against good security practices. Effective data security is a marathon not a sprint.

Fading urgency

Businesses can become complacent towards managing controls when regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), mature. While, over time, leaders can be less considerate about the privacy from IT service provider, security and protection of regulated data, the risks and costs associated with noncompliance remain.

Omission of unregulated data

Assets, such as intellectual property, can put your organization at risk if lost or shared with unauthorized personnel. Focusing solely on compliance can result in security organizations overlooking and under protecting valuable data.


Recognize and accept that compliance is a starting point, not the goal

Data security organizations must establish strategic programs that consistently protect their business’ critical data, as opposed to simply responding to compliance requirements

Data security and protection programs should include these core practices:

  • Discover and classify your sensitive data across on-premises and cloud data stores. 
  • Assess risk with contextual insights and analytics. 
  • Protect sensitive data through encryption and flexible access policies. 
  • Monitor data access and usage patterns to quickly uncover suspicious activity. 
  • Respond to threats in real time.
  • Simplify compliance and its reporting

The final element can include legal liabilities related to regulatory compliance, possible losses a business can suffer and the potential costs of those losses beyond noncompliance fines.

Ultimately, you should think holistically about the risk and value of the data you seek to secure. 

Pitfall 2

Failure to recognize the need for centralized data security

Without broader compliance mandates that cover data privacy and security, organization leaders can lose sight of the need for consistent, enterprise-wide data security. 

For enterprises with hybrid multicloud environments, which constantly change and grow, new types of data sources can appear weekly or daily and greatly disperse sensitive data.

Leaders of companies that are growing and expanding their IT infrastructures can fail to recognize the risk that their changing attack surface poses. They can lack adequate visibility and control as their sensitive data moves around an increasingly complex and disparate IT environment. Failure to adopt end-to-end data privacy, security and protection controls—especially within complex environments—can prove to be a very costly oversight.

Operating security solutions in silos can cause additional problems. For example, organizations with a security operations center (SOC) and security information and event management (SIEM) solution can neglect to feed those systems with insights gleaned from their data security solution. Likewise, a lack of interoperability between security people, processes and tools can hinder the success of any security program.


Know where your sensitive data resides, including on-premises and cloud hosted repositories

Securing sensitive data should occur in conjunction with your broader security efforts. In addition to understanding where your sensitive data is stored, you need to know when and how it’s being accessed, as well—even as this information rapidly changes. Additionally, you should work to integrate data security and protection insights and policies with your overall security program to enable tightly aligned communication between technologies. A data security solution that operates across disparate environments and platforms can help in this process.

So, when is the right time to integrate data security with other security controls as part of a more holistic security practice? Here are a few signs that suggest your organization may be ready to take this next step: 

Risk of losing valuable data 

The value of your organization’s personal, sensitive and proprietary data is so significant that its loss would cause significant damage to the viability of your business.

Regulatory implications 

Your organization collects and stores data with legal requirements, such as credit card numbers, other payment information or personal data.

Lack of security 

oversight Your organization has grown to a point where it’s difficult to track and secure all the network endpoints, including cloud instances. For example, do you have a clear idea of where, when and how data is being stored, shared and accessed across your on-premises and cloud data stores?

Inadequate assessment 

Your organization has adopted a fragmented approach where no clear understanding exists of exactly what’s being spent across all your security activities. For example, do you have processes in place to measure accurately your return on investment (ROI) in terms of the resources being allocated to reduce data security risk?

If any of these situations apply to your organization, you should consider acquiring the security skills and solutions needed to integrate data security into your broader existing security practice.

Pitfall 3

Failure to define who owns responsibility for the data

Even when aware of the need for data security, many companies have no one specifically responsible for protecting sensitive data. This situation often becomes apparent during a data security or audit incident when the organization is under pressure to find out who is actually responsible.

Top executives may turn to the chief information officer (CIO), who might say, “Our job is to keep key systems running. Go talk to someone in my IT staff.” Those IT employees may be responsible for several databases in which sensitive data resides and yet lack a security budget. 

Typically, members of the chief information security officer (CISO) organization aren’t directly responsible for the data that’s flowing through the overall business. They may give advice to the different line-of-business (LOB) managers within an enterprise, but, in many companies, nobody is explicitly responsible for the data itself. For an organization, data is one of its most valuable assets. Yet, without ownership responsibility, properly securing sensitive data becomes a challenge.


Hire a CDO or DPO dedicated to the well-being and security of sensitive and critical data assets

A chief data officer (CDO) or data protection officer (DPO) can handle these duties. In fact, companies based in Europe or doing business with European Union data subjects face GDPR mandates that require them to have a DPO. This prerequisite recognizes that sensitive data—in this case personal information—has value that extends beyond the LOB that uses that data. Additionally, the requirement emphasizes that enterprises have a role specifically designed to be responsible for data assets.Consider the following objectives and responsibilities for choosing a CDO or DPO:

Technical knowledge and business sense 

Assess risk and make a practical business case that nontechnical business leaders can understand regarding appropriate security investments

Strategic implementation 

Direct a plan at a technical level that applies detection, response and data security controls to provide protections.

Compliance leadership 

Understand compliance requirements and know how to map those requirements to data security controls so that your business is compliant.

Monitoring and assessment 

Monitor the threat landscape and measure the effectiveness of your data security program

Flexibility and scaling 

Know when and how to adjust the data security strategy and IT embedded services, such as expanding data access and usage policies across new environments by integrating more advanced tools.

Division of labor 

Set expectations with cloud service providers regarding service-level agreements (SLAs) and the responsibilities associated with data security risk and remediation.

Data breach response plan 

Finally, be ready to play a key role to devise a strategic breach mitigation and response plan

Ultimately, the CDO or DPO should lead in fostering data security collaboration across teams and throughout your enterprise, as everyone needs to work together to effectively secure corporate data. This collaboration can help the CDO or DPO oversee the programs and protections your organization needs to help secure its sensitive data.

Pitfall 4

Failure to address known vulnerabilities

High-profile breaches in enterprises have often resulted from known vulnerabilities that went unpatched even after the release of patches. Failure to quickly patch known vulnerabilities puts your organization’s data at risk because cybercriminals actively seek these easy points of entry. 

However, many businesses find it challenging to quickly implement patches because of the level of coordination needed between IT, security and operational groups. Furthermore, patches often require testing to see if they don’t break a process or introduce a new vulnerability. 

In cloud environments, sometimes it’s difficult to know if a contracted service or application component should be patched. Even if a vulnerability is found in a service, its users often lack control over the service provider’s remediation process.


Establish an effective vulnerability management program with the appropriate technology to support its growth

Vulnerability management typically involves some of the following levels of activity:

  • Maintain an accurate inventory and baseline state for your data assets. 
  • Conduct frequent vulnerability scans and assessments across your entire infrastructure, including cloud assets. 
  • Prioritize vulnerability remediation that considers the likelihood of the vulnerability being exploited and the impact that event would have on your business. 
  • Include vulnerability management and responsiveness as part of the SLA with third-party service providers. 
  • Obfuscate sensitive or personal data whenever possible. Encryption, tokenization and redaction are three options for achieving this end. 
  • Employ proper encryption key management, ensuring that encryption keys are stored securely and cycled properly to keep your encrypted data safe.

Even within a mature vulnerability management program, no system can be made perfect. Assuming intrusions can happen even in the best protected environments, your data requires another level of protection. The right set of data encryption techniques and capabilities can help protect your data against new and emerging threats.


Pitfall 5

Failure to prioritize and leverage data activity monitoring

Monitoring data access and use is an essential part of any data security strategy. An organization leader needs to know who, how and when people are accessing data. This monitoring should encompass whether these people should have access, if that access level is correct and if it represents an elevated risk for the enterprise. 

Privileged user identifications are common culprits in insider threats.5 A data protection plan should include real-time monitoring to detect privileged user accounts being used for suspicious or unauthorized activities. To prevent possible malicious activity, a solution must perform the following tasks: 

  • Block and quarantine suspicious activity based on policy violations.
  • Suspend or shut down sessions based on anomalous behavior. 
  • Use predefined regulation-specific workflows across data environments. 
  • Send actionable alerts to IT security and operations systems.

 Accounting for data security and compliance-related information and knowing when and how to respond to potential threats can be difficult. With authorized users accessing multiple data sources, including databases, file systems, mainframe environments and cloud environments, monitoring and saving data from all these interactions can seem overwhelming. The challenge lies in effectively monitoring, capturing, filtering, processing and responding to a huge volume of data activity. Without a proper plan in place, your organization can have more activity information than it can reasonably process and, in turn, diminish the value of data activity monitoring.


Develop a comprehensive data detection and protection strategy

TeraPixels Systems and our security and IT services professionals in Orange County are typically tasked to secure a variety of businesses. To that end, when starting on a data security journey, you need to size and scope your monitoring efforts to properly address the requirements and risks. This activity often involves adopting a phased approach that enables development and scaling best practices across your enterprise. Moreover, it’s critical to have conversations with key business and IT stakeholders early in the process to understand short-term and long-term business objectives.

These conversations should also capture the technology that will be required to support their key initiatives. For instance, if the business is planning to set up offices in a new geography using a mix of on-premises and cloud-hosted data repositories, your data security strategy should assess how that plan will impact the organization’s data security and compliance posture. If, for example, the company-owned data will now be subject to new data security and compliance requirements, such as the GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Brazil’s Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD) and so on.

You should also prioritize and focus on one or two sources that likely have the most sensitive data. Make sure your data security policies are clear and detailed for these sources before extending these practices to the rest of your infrastructure. 

You should look for an automated data or file activity monitoring solution with rich analytics that can focus on key risks and unusual behaviors by privileged users. Although it’s essential to receive automated alerts when a data or file activity monitoring solution detects abnormal behavior, you must also be able to take fast action when anomalies or deviations from your data access policies are discovered. Protection actions should include dynamic data masking or blocking.


Encryption: Protect your most critical data

Encryption is all around us. Our emails can be encrypted. Our video conferences can be encrypted. Even our phone calls can be encrypted. It’s only natural then to assume our most sensitive business data should also be encrypted. Yet according to Ponemon Institute’s 2019 Global Encryption Trends Study, the average rate of adoption of an enterprise encryption strategy is only 45 percent for those surveyed.

How can you be sure that all your sensitive data is encrypted? First, you need to know where it is located. With siloed databases, cloud storage and personal devices in the mix, there’s a good chance that at least some of your sensitive data is exposed. A data breach could lead to the worst kind of exposure — the kind where you notify millions of customers that you failed to protect their privacy and their personal information.

But that doesn’t have to be your reality. The right encryption strategy will not only help protect your data, it can help strengthen your compliance posture. IBM Security Guardium helps identify your sensitive data — on premises and across hybrid multicloud — and helps to protect it with robust encryption and key management solutions. Plus, IBM Security’s strategic consulting can work with you to align your encryption strategy with business goals.

Encryption for a world in motion

The most successful businesses are driven by data and analytics. A recent study from Forrester found that such businesses, on average, grow at least seven times faster than global GDP2 — and driving implies movement. Your data can move between clients and servers. It can move over secure and non-secure networks. It can move between databases in your network. It can move between clouds. Safeguarding your sensitive data on these journeys is critical. Customers expect it and many regulatory agencies require it. So why doesn’t every business do it?

Many organizations simply don’t have the skills and the resources needed to effectively protect all the critical data in their business. Maybe they have a general security on-site imbedded IT service strategy but have not dedicated the time and effort to creating a data encryption strategy. It’s a common problem, and one that cybercriminals prey upon by extracting unencrypted data and gaining unauthorized access to under-protected encryption keys. 

What can you do to help protect your business? You can start by encrypting your sensitive data, implementing strong access controls, managing your encryption keys securely and aligning your encryption efforts with the latest compliance requirements. Without these safeguards in place, your data might not be as protected as it could be.

Is your critical data protected?

Securityand IT Service professionals in San Diego are typically tasked with preventing data breaches, stolen passwords and internal espionage — should be concerned about the level of protection of their data, since data is the lifeblood of their businesses. Encryption can help to make data unusable in the event it is hacked or stolen. Think of it as the first and last line of defense that can help protect your data from full exposure.

There are steps you can take to protect your organization’s data. A good place to start is identifying what data needs to be protected and where it is located. (The answer: more data than you realize and in more places than you expect.) Customer and financial data are obvious choices for encryption, but many companies fail to realize that even older, seemingly non-critical data can contain sensitive information, partly because the definition of what constitutes personally identifiable information (PII) has broadened considerably in the last decade.

Controlling and monitoring data access represents an important part of any data encryption strategy. It’s something that organizations need to balance with frictionless access to data. You want to make sure the right people have quick access to the data they need, while blocking the access privileges of unauthorized users. This is where security best practices can be invaluable:

  • Keep your encryption keys stored in a safe and separate location from your data 
  • Rotate your encryption keys frequently and align your key rotation strategy with your industry’s best practices for key rotation 
  • Always use self-encrypting media to help protect data on your devices 
  • Layer file and database encryption on top of media encryption to provide granular control over access and cryptographic erasure 
  • Use techniques such as data masking and tokenization to anonymize PII data that you share with outside parties

Use encryption to defend against threats

Most security professionals can include firewalls protection services to their IT Service package and are aware of the threats of data breaches and ransomware. They’re on the news, they’re on their minds and stopping them is at the top of most companies’ strategic imperatives. So why do data breaches still occur? Because, for cybercriminals, data breaches and ransomware attacks still work.

Ransomware attacks and data breaches are on the rise, so businesses should be prepared for these types of threats.2 It’s important to note that preparation is different from protection. You can try to protect against network attacks and insider threats 100 percent of the time, but you won’t always be successful. There are simply too many variables, too many chances for human error and too many cybercriminals looking to exploit those vulnerabilities to stop everything. This is why preparation is important — because you actually can encrypt your most sensitive data and render it useless in the event of a breach.

Encryption should be your first and last line of defense against attacks. It protects your data and your organization against internal and external threats and helps safeguard sensitive customer data. But encryption isn’t your only line of defense. Secure and consistent access controls across all your environments — on premises and in the cloud — as well as secure key management is important for keeping sensitive information out of the wrong hands

Use encryption to help address compliance

TeraPixels Systems and our security and IT services professionals in Orange County aren’t the only ones concerned with data protection. Countries, states and industry consortiums are entering the privacy picture with increasing frequency. For example, in 2019 and 2020 respectively, Europe’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) introduced new security requirements that can levy heavy fines for non-compliance.

Keeping up with regulations can be difficult work. Understanding what data is impacted by specific regulations in each jurisdiction, the reporting requirements and even the penalties for non-compliance can be a full-time job. And in a world where full-time compliance experts are in scarce supply, many organizations have much to do before achieving compliance readiness.

Encryption, to borrow an expression, can cover a multitude of security sins. It can help to make your critical and sensitive data — what cybercriminals desire — worthless to would-be thieves. In many cases, compliance regulations mandate data encryption on some level. But beyond basic encryption, there are additional measures that every organization can take to protect their data. For example, using pseudo-anonymization strategies such as data masking and tokenization to selectively hide sensitive data as it’s being shared with partners can help make your data productive and protected. Using self-encrypting media on any device that stores data is another important safeguard that can help to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to data on stolen or salvaged devices.

How IBM Security Guardium can help protect your data

IBM Security Guardium can provide you with advanced and integrated solutions that help your organization identify, encrypt and securely access your most sensitive data. In addition, IBM Security offers security services and expertise to help your organization develop effective, efficient data protection strategies. At the heart of our encryption solutions are the IBM Security Guardium Data Encryption family of products and IBM Security Guardium Key Lifecycle Manager (GKLM).

IBM Security Guardium Data Encryption (GDE) helps protect critical data across all your data environments, helping to address compliance with industry and government regulations. The integrated family of products that make up GDE feature encryption for files, databases, applications and containers, as well as centralized key and policy management. GDE also provides data masking and tokenization, in addition to integration with third-party hardware security modules.

IBM Security Guardium Key Lifecycle Manager (GKLM)* helps deliver a secured, centrally managed encryption key management solution that supports the Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) — the standard for encryption key management — and features multi-master clustering for high availability and resiliency. GKLM can help organizations follow industry best practices for encryption key storage, access, security and reliability. GKLM simplifies encryption key management, synchronizes encryption keys between on-premises and cloud environments and automates many encryption functions, including self-encryption for storage media