Those of us at Cygnus Security Group (SecurityInfoWatch.com, Security Technology & Design magazine, and Security Dealer magazine) have been preaching the whole "convergence" message for so long that if we preached it again, we'd probably go blue in the face (but we're taking pills for that). It's something we believe in; it's something we believe is going to impact the industry, and it's our goal to keep you as current on these changes as possible so your security department or your integration business doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
There was further encouragement this week that convergence is alive and well as GE Security announced it had formed a partnership with Sun Microsystems. The two companies have formed an OEM agreement which will allow GE Security to integrate Sun's JAVA System Identity Management Suite into its access control solutions. The result of the OEM partnership is that it allows GE and Sun's customers a merged network and physical access control solution.
Steve Lasky, publisher and editor-in-chief of Security Technology & Design, and the head of the converged physical security/IT security track for SecureWorld Expo, just returned from the Philadelphia stop on that road show. He shares his insight on what panelists and users are seeing as the significance of Sun and Cisco tying in closely with physical security:
"In most of the panels at SecureWorld, it was made apparent that when IT security folks get in bed with a partner, theyâ€™re often partners for life," said Lasky. "They become the Cisco house, or the Microsoft house, or the SAP house or a Sun house, or an IBM house. But that doesn't typically happen on the physical side, where they often take disparaging vendors as partners and then try to put them together, rather than going with a unified solution. What people are thinking is that if the IT side tends to become a decision-maker in buying security, you may see broader partnerships with security directors choosing just one vendor to manage their entire security platform."
Lasky also filed a live report from the SecureWorld Expo, discussing how some of today's physical security directors are being impacted by convergence and what convergence means for their departments.
Guns in Parking Lots?
An ongoing story that tends to resurface in different states' legislatures is the issue of whether a company can ban guns from being kept in employees' private cars while they're parked in company parking lots. Oklahoma said that companies cannot ban employees from keeping guns in their cars in a piece of legislation last year. Earlier this year, the Georgia legislature was considering a similar law, but outcry from businesses has kept that from being passed. As of now, the bill is dead, and there is no law in Georgia stopping a company from creating a security policy that would prohibit employees from keeping firearms in their cars while in the company lots.
VARs Still Coming
Ray Payne, CPP, wrote a column for SecurityInfoWatch.com in March that discussed what the Cisco physical security acquisition meant and how the computer industry's value-added resellers (VARs) were that industry equivalent of security dealers and integrators. He warned that, without proper training on IP-based systems, security dealers and integrators would feel a crunch as the VARs business looked toward physical security.
It turns out he was right (we knew it all along). VarBusiness, a trade publication for VARs, recently published an article promoting physical security applications as a place for VARs to turn to for business. That article is cross-posted on SecurityInfoWatch.com (see article), and is a sure sign that if our industry's dealers and integrators don't get the training, they will find their customers' doors being knocked upon by a different type of competitor.
Trained on IP