What is open-source security software?
Open-source software is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around since the 1990s when it was popularized during the dot-com boom. Open source software makes it free to use and modify the source code. While similar, open application programming interface, or API, software takes this a step farther. Open API still gives developers universal access to software programs, but it’s also a tool for making platforms communicate with each other. Through open API, companies can let outside users and developers access code resources to quickly and efficiently make different programs work together with less code to write from scratch.
Just because the software claims to be open, however, doesn’t mean it has good open API design. A great open API source will be easy to work with, straightforward, and contain all the necessary information to use the code properly.
Benefits of open API software for IT and physical security
Choosing the right business and security software is no short order. These are big, important investments, and it’s hard (and expensive) to switch systems once you’re already working with one. But open source and open API security software can make it easier to future-proof security systems and adapt to new challenges as they arise.
For example, when navigating the challenges of reopening an office building during the pandemic, buildings leveraged the open API of their access control to connect credentials to completed health forms or temperature screenings. This API structure allowed businesses to quickly pivot their security and health strategies while not needing to o rip and replace their existing access control system. Open API utilizes the existing platform to communicate in new ways to establish safe security processes for the new situation.
When deciding whether or not to use open API software, businesses should consider the following key benefits:
- Flexibility – Open software is often more adaptable and customizable than closed API or proprietary software, letting businesses choose how to use the software to fit their specific needs.
- Interoperability – Going with open software gives businesses the option to leverage and connect with more third-party systems. Open API is essential for creating powerful full-building integrations, in which all systems communicate with each other and datastreams are analyzed as a single entity.
- Performance – If you’re looking to improve security posturing through technology, open platforms often have more intuitive design, making them easier to use with less training than proprietary solutions.
- Cost savings – Proprietary software licensing is often expensive, and requires regular renewals to continue using it. Most API is available for free, but the better support and third-party management justifies the cost of SaaS products. The ease of implementation, without the need for expensive training, also adds to the cost savings.
- Security – Simply by being an open platform, providers need to fix bugs and address vulnerabilities as soon as they arise. On the contrary, proprietary system providers sometimes choose not to address an issue until they have a new release that fixes it, which can leave their customers vulnerable in the meantime.
Examples of top open-source security software providers
Openpath (a Motorola Solutions company)
As one of the top open API cloud-based access control providers, Openpath allows organizations to create full-building security systems that work together seamlessly. While the software itself is flexible and adaptable, the Openpath platform offers unlimited integration capabilities, and partners with the top technology companies to provide native integrations with video surveillance systems, identity management solutions, visitor and tenant platforms, communication apps, and analytics tools.
Video surveillance is seeing a surge in new technology thanks to new technology like the cloud and AI. With open API, providers like iSpyConnect have updated video security software to be more customizable and easier to manage. The iSpy’s system is unique in that their web-based platform can be easily set up and used by anyone, with just about any camera system. According to their website, most people use iSpy for small business security and home monitoring, but has become popular for wildlife watching thanks to easy live streaming.
With cybersecurity attacks continuing to wreak havoc across industries, Untangle offers a unique IT security solution, combining some of the top open-source cybersecurity software on the market, and packaging it with their own code. The product is designed to help block spam, spyware, viruses, and adware, and prevent unwanted content across the network. Using an open-source cybersecurity product like this alongside physical security components provides a clearer picture of security across an entire enterprise.
With two-factor authentication quickly becoming a best practice for account security, WikID leverages open-source software and personal devices like smartphones to generate convenient, one-time passwords for better network and on-premise security.
As a network security tool, Wireshark is a favorite in the open-source software community for its ease of implementation. The network protocol analyzer provides a detailed look at the activity across the network from a variety of traffic sources and transmission modes, helping administrators spot potential security risks and vulnerabilities.
The impact of open architecture on security strategies
As more businesses migrate systems into the cloud and shift models to accommodate remote and hybrid work, security strategies are also changing. Truly future-proof security strategies are designed to be adaptable, so the security systems and technologies need to be just as flexible to meet constantly changing business needs.
Being able to quickly and efficiently adjust the system for new protocols, scale operations up or back, and make adjustments to protect assets against emerging threats is key in today’s security landscape. Open-source software, and leveraging open API to build solutions designed for specific use cases and needs is not only a competitive advantage, it also means better security today, and in the future.