A sense of security

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ASSA ABLOY is working in innovative ways to provide security solutions fit for the Information Age.

IT security keeps Jens Nielsen, ASSA ABLOY’s group chief information officer, awake at night. “If we don’t get this right we are out of business,” says Jens. “It’s a totally new game compared with when we dealt with mechanical keys. It’s now all about building digital trust in the market.”

Chris Bone, ASSA ABLOY’s chief technology officer, is responsible for product innovation. For him, digitalization and data protection have changed the nature of the business. “The two go hand in hand,” he says. “You can’t ensure data protection for a customer if you are not ensuring security. And by applying digital technologies to our products we are creating complexity, which is the enemy of security.”

Chris says a holistic approach needs to be taken towards security when providing smart digital door locks. Mechanical and electronic security, software, identity management and cloud infrastructure must all be kept secure. The new digital relationship with customers also means that ASSA ABLOY has to ensure the service works 24/7. “You don’t expect Facebook to ever be down – it is the same requirements with our keys,” says Jens. 

ASSA ABLOY is also collecting data, which needs to be secured. “Creating digital trust means ensuring data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands when it is transferred,” says Jens. “We are gathering lots of data and we need to make sure we are compliant with rules and regulations. But being able to handle regulations in different countries gives us a competitive advantage. Only professional companies like us can fulfill these regulations – and we have the scale. We can therefore sell digital trust.”

You can’t ensure data protection for a customer if you are not ensuring security.

Chris adds that no one organization can today secure all the different components of products, such as mechanics, electronics and software. “This is really a differentiator for us at ASSA ABLOY,” he says. “We go to third-party experts to test our cloud infrastructure and test the security of our product lines. But we also have people now with backgrounds in online identity management, cloud security solutions and in apps. It’s probably been one of the biggest demographic changes that we’ve had in the last five years.

“Security is a never-ending story,” Chris continues. “There is constant change in the market with new chip technologies, radio frequency technologies, cloud infrastructure, mobile phones and much more that we have to work with. ASSA ABLOY is working very hard to keep up with this, and I think we’re doing a good job, but it requires constant investment and diligence in order to maintain the customers’ trust.”