Leveraging PSIM to address security growing pains

Nine ways PSIM can help large, multi-site organizations

6. Command center consolidation: PSIM also makes it easier for a company to consolidate multiple control centers. This is made possible through PSIM’s integration capabilities. Even if the companies have standardized on different access control systems, video management systems, etc., all of these systems can be seamlessly unified through the PSIM interface. The underlying complexities are totally transparent to the security operator. It all looks the same to him, and that means a shorter learning curve and less training. Additionally, experience shows that PSIM can reduce response time (the time it takes handle an incident) by as much as 75 percent, which means that all else being equal, a command center can monitor more sites without having to add staff or space.

7. Centralized management of critical security functions: For industries that have undergone extensive consolidation, commercial banking being one example, there is a heightened need to centralize and simplify management of critical security functions. According to the FDIC, the number of commercial bank brands declined from roughly 12,000 in 1990 to 6,000 in 2011. During the same period, total bank branches grew (from about 51,000 to 83,000). Simply put, that means there are many more branches per bank to monitor and manage. Empowered by PSIM, a bank security control center can become the focal point for managing critical security functions. For example, this can include monitoring panic buttons across every bank branch in the network. In the event a branch is robbed and a panic button is pushed, an alert would automatically be generated in the control center. A map would immediately pop up on the operator’s screen showing the exact location of the alarm, along with the surveillance video associated with the specific panic button pressed and step-by-step emergency procedures. Information would instantly be routed to bank security management, local law enforcement or other responders. Depending on the situation, the PSIM system could also automatically secure doors or contact key personnel by phone, text or email.

8. Regulatory compliance challenges: PSIM also address challenges that extend far beyond day-to-day security operations, such as regulatory compliance issues. Electric utilities are a good example as they may have dozens of critical and regulated sites that need to be monitored across a multi-state footprint. For example, a standard of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP) program stipulates that unauthorized access attempts to CIP locations must be reviewed immediately and handled in accordance with the utility’s CIP-compliant incident response plan. PSIM can help to ensure compliance with this specific aspect of CIP. Compliance with NERC CIP is enforced through NERC audits and utilities found to be in violation can be subjected to large fines. The burden is on the utility to provide documentation and proof of compliance. PSIM can help minimize this compliance reporting burden because reports can be generated automatically in a fraction of the time it would take to manually pull the information together.

9. Operational uses: Large organizations have broad needs beyond security that require situational awareness and situation management. For example, a utility could integrate grid devices into a PSIM solution, so error messages or device alerts could be sent automatically to operations personnel when maintenance was required. This could in turn initiate work orders, or instruct personnel to follow-up or escalate situations if work was not completed on time. There might be a need to monitor water levels in a river, temperature or oil level sensors in a transformer, vibrations in a turbine generator unit — all of these things are possible. In a bank setting, security operators could be alerted to equipment issues, such as an ATM video camera failure or ATM failure, for fast troubleshooting. This is critical because in some states, such as New York, ATM security regulations require that a surveillance camera be installed and properly maintained for every ATM. Failure to meet such regulations could result in costly fines. Asset tracking is another banking application for PSIM. Because of the portability of bank bags, financial institutions are faced with the constant threat of money theft. According to the FBI’s Bank Crime Statistics, thousands of bank bags are stolen each year and less than half of the stolen funds are ever recovered. By integrating with location tracking systems such as GPS, RFID and blue force tracking, PSIM technology can help track and monitor infinite numbers of far-flung and movable bank assets, including armored vehicles and bank bags.