Most of us are eagerly watching the unremitting changes and evolutions taking place in the physical security industry. The technologies we utilize in our daily routines as physical security practitioners are gradually aligning us closer to the IT enterprise. This progression is also exposing opportunities for both end-users and integrators in their daily practices to increase their overall value and contribution to the organizations they serve.
Enterprise software solutions specifically developed for the physical security industry are driving this new position. Video over IP, VMS and PSIM are some of the more common platforms. We are now seeing the emergence of Identity Management solutions specifically intended to drive strategic and operational value for physical security departments.
As one of the newer enterprise software applications, Physical Identity and Access Management (PIAM) enable common policy, workflow, approval, compliance automation and life cycle management of the identity/badge holder (employee, contractor, visitor, temps) across disparate physical security systems. Additionally PIAM applications provide interoperability with existing IT and logical security infrastructure including HR, AD/LDAP, SSO, IDM and computer-based training systems to further benefit the enterprise.
Key benefits from PIAM solutions include:
Operational cost reductions
Automate what were once manual, repetitive and subjective processes tied to managing card holder adds/modifications/removals for access control, key management, visitor management, badging and intrusion detection systems.
Instead of "forklift" rip-and-replace efforts incurring huge capital expenditures, a PIAM platform would bridge the disparate systems while enabling attrition and strategic capital spending.
Software-based policies, workflows and approval processes are infused in software, removing the ability for identities to have access to places they are not entitled. Reports are only run to validate compliance not to determine where there is non-compliance which then requires remediation.
Continuity and future-proof
Continuously enabled to connect physical security infrastructure with relevant IT systems as well as other technologies or systems gained in mergers and acquisitions. These systems enable attrition versus rip-and-replace strategies. Existing systems continue to operate but new technologies such as "edge" or IP-enabled door locks can begin to be incorporated in to the enterprise.
Security and customer service
Risk is dramatically reduced as security practice and policy are automated through software. Security departments can begin to extend a "self service" environment to their customers to automate what were once manual, time-consuming activities such as access entitlement modification requests, incident reporting and badge replacement requests through a Web-enabled security portal.
In even the recent past it was not practical to think that security operations could contribute to the bottom line of the business. With the entry of software-based solutions such as PIAM this is no longer the case. Security managers and integrators can now present their value to the business in the form of a tangible return on investment. These solutions not only reduce operation costs but they ensure that the cost reductions are repeatable year after year even in the case of mergers, acquisitions, changes in compliance/regulations and the advent of new and better physical security technologies.
In the current state of tight capital, shrinking budgets and more pressure to reduce operational costs--all while maintaining the highest levels of security and customer service--security departments and their integrator partners are finding solutions like PIAM to be a game changing addition to their strategic tool sets.
Scott Sieracki is the vice president of Global Sales for Quantum Secure (www.quantumsecure.com) and a 20-year veteran in the physical security and enterprise software space.