The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Dec. 10-16, 2005

There's been a lot of debate about where convergence between IT and physical security would really strike first. It's something we all have to pay attention to, whether you're a dealer selling equipment, an integrator hired to merge disparate systems, or the physical security director recognizing that today's equipment means you'll need to walk down the hall and meet with your IT staff.

Some predicted that the increase in popularity of IP video systems, which requires secure transmission and issues of bandwidth issue, might be the keystone for convergence. Others predicted, such as Phare Consulting did, that access control would be the facility tool where convergence would most likely happen first.

If today's news that Bioscrypt and Assa Abloy companies HID and Omnikey have partnered for end-to-end access control is any indicator, the folks over at Phare Consulting may have been correct. According to Bioscrypt's Matt Bogart, director of corporate development, the challenge is that there are too many authenticators moving around most enterprises. Today's employees, he says, use passwords in addition to tokens, prox cards and smart cards in their daily duty to use the facility and access data and applications on the corporate network. Bogart says that the company's partnership, which would allow all that to be controlled by one smart card (HID's iClass system is the choice of today's announcement) and a principal access control management system (Bioscrypt's Verisoft system), is a reminder that IT security's chief concern is network access control, and that a move to simplify access control is the move that's going to create convergence over time.

Air Marshals Back on Their Feet

Just a week after the U.S. Air Marshals were being publicly lambasted for the death of a Colombian man who claimed to have a bomb but apparently suffered from some form of mental instability, the organization was back on its feet. On Tuesday, the organization announced that it was testing its operations outside of jetliners. The Air Marshals' operations were being tested at other transit-type facilities, including bus stations, transit stations, public trains and in other mass transportation locations.

It Was to Be Expected...

Dallas has finalized its alarm ordinance policy, and as all the indicators pointed to, verified response is part of the new policy. Despite a hard fight and a letter-writing campaign from North Texas Alarm Association members and these companies' customers, the Dallas City Council voted 8-5 to put commercial alarm systems on a verified response plan. Residential customers will still be on a full response policy.

Integration at the Government Level

HSPD-12 preparations aren't going so well, according to an interview with Hewlett Packard's Paul Fleishcmann. According to Fleischman, the challenge is that while the physical security industry is well aware of the FIPS 201 specs and the presidential mandate toward unified access control for federal buildings, the intelligence just isn't getting across to the IT community. Fleishcmann assesses why this is, and what it's going to take to make the process happen; see our Q&A.

NICE move...

On Monday, NICE Systems caught up with to discuss what the FAST Video Systems acquisition means for a company that has made its name in video analytics and high-end, custom surveillance solutions. NICE's Ian Ehrenberg noted that the move expands the integrator set for both companies and diversifies the company's hardware offerings -- and, in the future, will provide another platform for the support of NICE's analytics. Read more here.

Tis the Season for Events

Security Technology & Design's traveling convergence seminars (a partnership with SecureWorld Expo) were in Dallas on Wednesday and Thursday, and the report from ST&D editor Steve Lasky was that turn-out and interest was especially strong, with a 50/50 mix between physical and IT security staff. The series will return in 2006 with five of the expo's eight stops featuring the ST&D security convergence panels. Get more info on SecureWorld's website and look for a show report on Monday of next week.

On the dealer side of the fence, Security Dealer's publisher Peter Harlick filed a report and photos from the last 2005 stop of the ADI Expo Series. Check out his report here.

Also in the news:

Linear picked up more access control product lines with the acquisition of GTO, a Florida-based gate control company. Securitas Security Services made the news a bit this week, once with the announcement they were buying Black Star, a guard services company in Spain, and secondly that they had been awarded a high level of protection from liability by the DHS' U.S. Safety Act.

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