Last Updated: 06/27/2012*

Security forces are in a constant battle against not only adversaries, but the clock. Threats to a government’s security systems change rapidly, and the speed with which those systems can respond ultimately determines their effectiveness.

"Our security forces and our adversaries are locked in a cycle," Brian Seagrave, Raytheon's vice president for Homeland Security, says in a new report, The New Era of Security Risk Management. "When adversaries develop a new method of attack that addresses a vulnerability of ours, we develop a new countermeasure to defeat it. They then develop their next method of attack, and so forth."

The answer: develop security systems using an “app store” model with open-standard interfaces that can be constantly updated.

Just as third-party developers can build applications that operate on a smartphone or a tablet’s operating system, security technology with an open architecture allows for innovations by any company, not just the vendor who created it.

The results: lower costs, fewer risks and better performance. Open-architecture systems are more flexible, independent and mobile.

Systems that fail to change quickly become sitting ducks for attackers, Seagrave warns.

"Monolithic and proprietary systems leave the security agency less resilient, less adaptive, and the nation facing higher risks," he says.

The New Era of Security Risk Management, presented at the 2012 International Conference on Border Security in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, also gives guidelines on testing security systems, sharing information and avoiding information overload.

The report was co-authored by Seagrave and two other Raytheon experts, Adam Isles and Michael Dougherty. Isles is the director of strategy and policy consulting for Raytheon Homeland Security, while Dougherty leads the Law Enforcement Solutions department. It is available for download.

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