The irrational fear of being forthright – how Cisco teaches a lesson in customer service to Honeywell and Tyco
Honeywell announced a recall of fire alarm panels this week. Chips in the Apex Destiny 6100 and 6100AN Security System Control Panels, made by Xicor, might lose programming during a power outage of more than four hours, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The system failed to alert homeowners in at least three incidents.
If you search the Honeywell website, or Tyco’s for that matter, for software or hardware bugs or security vulnerabilities, the best you can hope to find is the announcement of a recall like this one.
However, there is a standard for error reporting used in IT for the last 15 or 20 years that would serve the physical security industry well. An excellent example is a page on the Cisco website that shines light on a philosophical difference between the old guard of the physical security industry and the convergence leaders.
Cisco actually publically reports bugs. I recommend that Cisco’s Security Vulnerability Policy ought to be required reading for everyone in the physical security industry. Search a physical security vendor’s website for software bug, security vulnerability, patch, or any other word indicating in interest in proactively improving products and you’ll come up empty. Searching for "software bug" on Tyco’s website brings up a bunch of hits of the company’s Software House marketing collateral (Is Tyco saying that Software House is all bugs?!) 🙂 . On Honeywell’s site, the closest you get is a link to Microsoft’s hotfix schedule. On Axis.com you can find a few bugs reported, but nothing like the infrastructure Cisco has built.
Cisco uses the error reporting policy to improve its products and boost its reputation. Cisco looks for problems in its products, encourages users to report new problems through a public forum, promptly notifies customers, then fixes the problem. Now that’s a company with the welfare of its customers and its brand in mind – in sharp contrast to the insular, protective, paranoid behavior of Honeywell, Tyco, Bosch, Pelco, HID, and so many other of the older names of physical security.