What’s the Buzz for 2009?

Critical sectors carve out convergence

Physical security and IT convergence
Fragmented, siloed and proprietary—is the industry permanently tethered to these words?
Time will tell. Driving the move to converged physical security is the access control sector, particularly the Department of Homeland Security’s Physical Access Control Systems. The Internet and IP-based video and other products operating on the network are further fueling integration.

Tyco’s Peter Boriskin said regulations like the Transportation Workers Identification Credentials and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12 and others are causing integration in the access control market to take off.

Boriskin, vice president of Product Development for Tyco Access Control Video Systems in Lexington, Mass., said the end-user realizes far-reaching benefits from integration. “The more they can automate, the lower their costs. This is especially important as companies tighten their belts. There’s value in integration,” he said.
Integrators are embracing convergence, Boriskin said, adding skill sets that include network topology, data mining expertise and building intelligence to get more out of video and physical security.

Seeing and believing
Companies like Tech Systems, Duluth, Ga., are participating in more convergence in the field, according to Wayne Smith, vice president of Network and Professional Services. Tech Systems is a Physical Security Authorized Technology Provider from Cisco®.

“Integration and convergence is beginning to move along quicker with network compliance in place and lower operating costs for solutions,” Smith said. “Users don’t want to be limited by geography and they can deploy IP and remote managed solutions globally,” he said.

Certainly, progress hangs in the balance.

“Real integration is still in its infancy,” said Richard A. Deer, chief executive officer, Magellan Integration Inc., Evansville, Ind. Deer said it’s not a single idea, application or device having the greatest impact on the state of physical security and IT convergence.
“It is this wide variety of knowledge and experience that has ‘pooled up’ in fragmented forms. Pools of knowledge have developed in narrow areas within the IT space, the physical security space and areas like strategic management and the like. Whoever ‘connects’ the dots between organizational needs and the innovations by our industry will drive this thing home,” he said.
According to Derek Brink, CISSP and vice president and research fellow, IT Security, Aberdeen Group, Boston, the main problem with logical/physical security convergence opportunities is the sheer number of them.

“Aberdeen’s research has shown that through their emerging capabilities in the area of security governance and risk management, companies are taking proactive steps in security and compliance controls. A consistent, enterprise-wide view of security risk–integrating both physical security and IT security–is a sensible element of this overarching strategy,” he said.

Brink said using a single device (smart card or other token) is one common starting point, a positive step to the greater vision of IT access, building access, photo ID and even inter-organizational trust housed within a single converged “container.”

“But issuing devices is merely the tip of the iceberg. Logical and physical identities must also be correlated at the management level,” he said.

Siloed systems
The notion of siloed systems still hangs heavy over the industry. “There needs to be a concerted effort to develop open protocols,” said John Frazzini, president of Behavioral Recognition Systems (BRS Labs) Inc., Houston. “We are beginning to be able to correlate what’s happening logically with what’s happening physically,” he said. “Before analytics and intelligence, we couldn’t take 1,000 cameras and know what they were doing. Now we can take that intelligence and import it into a converged security application,” he said.

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