Enterprise security - Go for the globe

Just what is an enterprise solution and what is this market all about? Suffice to say it has a lot to do with the infrastructure and legacy equipment, the level of analog and IP video, access control and the software running at the protected premises. It's a puzzle if you will, and it's the integrator's job to put the pieces together-using existing and new equipment and software sprinkled with a good knowledge of IT-so the end user can get the solution they need with as little 'pain' as possible.

It may seem a bit daunting at first, but there lies the beauty of it. Although it's all across the board as far as what's being used and what comprises an enterprise system, it could be anything from a few regional offices to a larger commercial customer with numerous locations, maybe even spread across the globe. That means opportunities for multiple streams of new recurring monthly revenue, as well as service and maintenance contracts and upgrades and of course hosted and managed services and anything that allows for remote access via the Web browser. So what makes a true enterprise system? An expert integrator who makes it all work together.

State of the market

A good starting point is a full analysis of the systems in place. Right now the end-user overall seems to want to keep what they have and make it more efficient. They don't have much in the way of a budget, but they may be convinced to perform a forklift upgrade if they can see in hard fast numbers just how much they will save long term in deploying the system or how they can use the solution for more than security. That's where the integrator has to know what they are talking about and have the manufacturer-partners to perfect the solution.

Software that fosters integration is definitely the up and comer in this market-as it ties all sorts of physical and logical security together. Physical security information management (PSIM) solutions seem to be the rule rather than the exception for larger enterprise applications and Siemens Industry Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill., has been perfecting this model for some time, taking the total building approach to market.

According to Carey Boethel CPP and vice president and business unit head for Security Solutions at Siemens, the recession has the end-user thinking about the real value proposition in enterprise solutions and return on investment.

"The goal is to improve and expand the value proposition to the enterprise end user," Boethel said. "Two key trends in enterprise solutions are PSIM/command and control and hosted and managed services. The economic downturn reminded us as an industry that everybody has to create value and focus on the bottom line. There comes a point where we need to build consensus and the consensus is that there's a need to share information."

Software as a service is also critical to the enterprise customer, Boethel added. "Now they can manage the enterprise through a Web portal for total situational awareness of all their facilities. Our strategy is to make it all work together-a convergence of thought processes."

Per Mar Security Services, Davenport, Iowa, handles larger enterprise accounts that are mostly regional, especially utility customers in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. According to Brad Tolliver, vice president and general manager of Electronic Security for Per Mar, these customers are upgrading access control and CCTV across the enterprise with a focus on IP. Outdoor video verification, in the way of an alarm system or detector that has video verification and sends a clip of activity to the user, is also coming on strong as customers spread across a large geographic location may not have resources to send response, so they want to verify activity first. Other requests Per Mar receives inquiries on more frequently is wireless mesh, he said.

"Mesh networking for multiple sites ties everything together," Tolliver said. "It creates an environment of communication without trenching and cabling and is cost effective. The reliability has really improved. It's also emerging strong for colleges and campuses. They'd rather build that infrastructure so patrols and personnel can view cameras remotely," he added.

Some larger customers of Per Mar, such as chain retail accounts, are using remote video and storage-especially as they are required to keep video evidence for three years according to the statute of limitations for prosecution. "We developed software and we host the servers at our UL- and FM-certified central monitoring facility," Tolliver said. Video management software, he added, can streamline processes for customers, allowing them to manage, view and lock and unlock doors remotely, and control two-way voice and intercoms. "Customers are looking for ways to augment labor for a cost savings; eliminate time and labor and as such they are doing managed access."

Tolliver said Per Mar's customers most often have a large base of analog cameras, but selling them on IP isn't a problem. "We beta install IP and HD cameras and show the customer how it actually looks and works and at that point the technology sells itself."

Sentry Security, along with its integrated enterprise security division, ABC Security, is a Wheeling, Ill., provider of security solutions for a wide range of clientele, including large enterprises. The company specializes in the installation, service and monitoring of security and fire alarm systems, as well as access control and video surveillance.

Many of the enterprise customers of Sentry Security are using integrated access control and video solutions with door communications, all IP, according to Domenic LoBello, systems integration manager.

"Integration with the IT or logical side is really big right now," he said, adding customers are relying almost exclusively on IP solutions because they see the efficiencies and long-term value. "With IP, we do less wiring and more systems programming, and we rely on our vendors to help train us. We are doing some hybrid solutions using analog, but for the most part analog enterprise customers are making the switch to IP." LoBello said with existing access control systems Sentry Security has the ability to write software drivers to integrate with video when necessary.

With enterprise customers, the solution is often tied to policies and procedures as well as standards, risk management and compliance, according to Charles Baxter, PSP and a licensed-certified physical security consultant based in Dallas. Baxter chairs the North Texas Chapter of ASIS and is president of Baxter Consulting. "The challenge is the base of existing systems and getting card access, cameras and intrusion to all speak to the access control so there is one process," Baxter said. "Reports are important to the enterprise customer. They are constantly struggling to have everything talk to each other," he said.

Baxter said the enterprise customer is lagging in keeping up with rapidly changing technology. "You don't see it evolving as quickly in enterprise solutions. But change also creates an opportunity for the user to do some housekeeping, establish policies and procedures and protocols and also gain compliance," he said.

For enterprise and national customers, there's a compelling reason to move to integrated technologies, and that's long-term cost savings and efficiencies in workload and procedures. For the systems integrator who can piece it all together by using their expertise, that business and more is in the offing.

PAIN POINTS MEAN GAIN POINTS

Knowing the pain points and challenges of the end-user is the place to start with the enterprise market. What are they trying to accomplish and what technology can help them overcome cumbersome areas? Have they lost personnel and want to offset this with technology? Do a full site survey and look at all diagrams and plans that may exist for legacy equipment. Find the vendors who are good partners, ones to help train you and implement the system. Software as a service and hosted video and access control are perfect for the enterprise end-user. They provide Web access and control over vast landscapes.

VIRTUALIZATION ON THE ENTERPRISE

Microsoft Global Security is using a software product called Visual Fusion from IDV Solutions in their operations center. The Microsoft Global Security team deployed the software to monitor company facilities around the world. With Visual Fusion the team has successfully integrated over 50 products and systems into a cohesive visualization for greater situational awareness. From this visual mashup of asset locations, video camera feeds, card reader information, disaster alerts, current weather, etc., responders can do incident management with defined workflows and processes set up within Visual Fusion and Microsoft's SharePoint Server. Visual Fusion quickly builds business intelligence applications that unite disparate data into interactive Web-based data visualizations (maps, timelines and analytics) for superior context, rapid insight and decisive action.

STANDARDS OPEN DOORS

Standards and open operability organizations, like ONVIF and PSIA, will drive more integrated solutions to the market and the enterprise, which will continue as a robust user of those systems that merge physical security, logical access control, video and other portions of the larger customer's solution. Because they are developing open architecture specifications and real world documents that allow products to work with each other, the groups are facilitating a faster growing integrated market.

 

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