Slow Train Coming
Convergence sometimes has been -- to borrow a turn of phrase from Bob Dylan -- a "slow train coming." The fact is that you don't erase years of organizational infrastructure where security was perceived as the guys with uniforms, visitor badge stations and cameras, and where IT was perceived as pocket protectors and techno-babble. In magazines like Security Technology & Design, you've heard about how organizations have broken down those boundaries, but largely, the gap has persisted (even if the pocket protectors and uniforms aren't the de facto stereotypes anymore). I don't have to tell you, but it seems that changes in security technologies are driving this trend faster than ever. Even your traditional, non-network systems are today offering patches into network-hosted databases or remote network access to control systems.
When PSA Security Network, an affiliated group of security systems integrators, announced this week that it had tied in for service and sales with 1nservice, a like-minded group of IT VARs, I got in touch with PSA's Bill Bozeman to talk about what convergence means today for integrators and for corporations. Bozeman provided straight talk on what is happening in terms of network technologies going on the network and the inter-relations of service between security integrators and IT service providers.
I asked Bill: "What kind of financial advantages from combined service offerings (like what PSA and 1nservice have created) can corporate executives and IT expect? Or conversely, is it sometimes more about creating simplicity in service management than any definitive cost savings?"
Bozeman's answer provided insight into where business services stand today.
"My conversations with the CSO community is more focused on competition, not cost," he wrote back. "Cost savings will come, however the 'total network base security provider' remains elusive. Many CSOs are frustrated with security integrators who struggle with the network and just as frustrated with the network integrators who have never dealt and have little interest in life safety codes and door locking mechanisms. The answer is obvious: network integrators and security integrators need to partner as their services are needed now, not 5 years from now."
Bozeman said that the security integration community is, in some cases, sorely behind the times on technology. He added that while some are saying that corporate network bandwidth isn't a problem, he still is finding from many clients that bandwidth is a real concern.
What this whole discussion means, I think, is that end-users need to seriously examine how adept their integrator is in working with modern network-centric security technologies, and whether in-house IT or their outsourced IT contractor is prepared to work with a physical security systems integrator and face the challenge of loading more data streams on the network. It's getting over these types of hurdles that makes convergence a "slow train coming," but in the end, that train is indeed coming, and it's already arrived at some stations.
A Week of Acquisitions
PEI bought by Securitas Systems, BSM picks ups Netistix
Swedish firm Securitas Systems, a provider of security integration services (not to be confused with Securitas' international security officer services), has purchased New York-based integrator PEI Systems. The move gives Securitas Systems expanded presence in the New York Metro area, and brings aboard one of New York's most respected integration firms. The purchase price was reportedly between 6 and 9 times EBITDA.
Asset tracking and fleet management just seem to go hand-in-hand. BSM Technologies, which provides services for vehicle tracking and surveillance (especially to law enforcement's bait vehicle programs), grasps that and made the strategic move of acquiring fleet management technology provider Netistix.