Breaking Down Security Silos

The case for physical security information management solutions


The Physical Security Information Management Market

Until now, there has been a void in the physical security market at the intersection of IT security. Despite the staggering number of cameras, alarms and sensors feeding data to an operations center, there lacked a physical security information management platform that could take in all the data, correlate it with data from IT security systems, and provide security personnel the insight to make effective decisions and respond to security events.

Security event management (SEM) and security incident management (SIM) are used in the IT security field, and have long served as the data collection and correlation engine that enables an IT security manager to filter out false alarms and false positives from true events that require attention and response. SEM enables organizations to pull data from firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, anti-virus software and log files to create a clearer view of network activity and how to respond swiftly and effectively.

Companies are now applying these concepts to the physical security field, producing greater insight into what is going on in your physical environment to provide real time situational awareness, and determine how best to handle a given situation. Enter physical security information management (PSIM). By correlating the data feeds and alarms from various sources, a PSIM solution can provide the context that enables the right response to real threats and security events and disregard those that are false alarms or not real threats.

The emerging PSIM product category addresses the need for security organizations to integrate all their disparate systems and devices into an overall security network that provides true collaborative situational awareness. The market for these products will emerge in 2007 and, according to Steve Hunt from 4A International, will grow to more than $3 billion in 2011.

The next phase in the convergence of security systems will need to address the dramatically changing security requirements - from physical to logical, from gates and doors to bits and bytes, from analog to IP video - to provide the context security decision makers and operations center personnel need to make effective, timely decisions about how to respond to security events.

One Consolidated, Correlated View of Physical Security Events

It is our belief that this growth of the PSIM market will provide great value to today's security organizations. By converging video surveillance and other physical security systems together with IT security, taking in the enormous load of information and distilling it into the most pertinent insight, organizations can significantly improve cross-organization communications and efficiencies while fortifying a comprehensive security posture. The devil is in the details, however.

Many vendors, whether physical security or IT security, will develop their own proprietary solutions that require expensive tie-ins with other products they offer. The primary value a PSIM solution can deliver is through a standards-based approach that can interconnect an organization's existing proprietary systems - be it analog or digital, cameras or alarms, firewalls or intrusion prevention systems - enabling the organization to leverage and build off its existing investments rather than a rip-and-replace approach.

The shift toward an integrated physical and IT security system is underway with the convergence of analog and IP video and other data sources into a physical correlation environment that leverages an organization's existing technology investments. As companies get more comfortable with the inevitability and value of a fully-integrated physical and IT security environment, as physical security products collapse onto the IP network, the developing PSIM market will blossom into a full solution category segment that will help enable security personnel to achieve their primary goal of protecting people, assets and infrastructure from the flood of new threats that emerge daily.