Editor’s Note: This is the second article in Dr. Bob Banerjee’s two-part series on how organizations can leverage PSIM to better manage growth and adapt to change. In his first article, Leveraging PSIM to address security growing pains, Banerjee discusses nine ways that PSIM solutions can help large, multi-site companies manage growth while maximizing their physical security.
If there is one truth in life, it’s that very little ever stays the same. Perpetual change is part and parcel of our human existence. Organizations, and the environments in which they thrive and exist, are dynamic as well. Change is at the center of the security universe. Over its lifetime, a command and control center may need to keep pace with all kinds of change: changing roles, changing information sources, changing processes and policies, changing people, changing technology, and so on.
1. Changing roles
Historically, the command and control center has had a rigid scope of responsibilities, mostly security related, while other entities in the organization have maintained responsibility for other types of incidents related to their own specific areas of operation. But this model of the security universe is beginning to shift. For example, departments and functions such as facilities, HVAC, and the network operations center (NOC) may be unrelated to the security command center. Increasingly, organizations are expanding the role and responsibility of the command center to handle incidents related to these and other areas. This approach is gaining prominence in those organizations that perceive the role of the command center not just as security, but rather, as central to ensuring that the overall organization functions flawlessly. A downside of this expanding mandate is that it puts an added burden on the command and control center to handle a greater variety and quantity of incidents with the same amount of resources. PSIM’s embedded, automated response plans can help in this regard. Using the PSIM solution, control center operators are guided by step-by-step procedures so they can efficiently and effectively handle any one of a number of security or operational situations.
Different agencies or departments may also maintain their individual responsibilities and roles, but use PSIM as a kind of glue to connect them, so they can collaborate more effectively. PSIM links different departments through a common situational awareness/situation management software platform, while still giving individual departments a perspective (on the incident) that is unique and relevant to them. For example, in an airport a maintenance issue could cause gate closures and impact checkpoints, so different groups would need to coordinate on a resolution. PSIM facilitates this coordination through instant mutual situational awareness, streamlined communication, and coordinated, automated response plans.
2. Changing information sources
Let’s say you’ve acquired a new technology that allows you to detect something better than before — a camera with smarter video analytics, a fence shake detector that’s less prone to error, a more intelligent software algorithm that detects fraudulent activity at a bank’s ATM. Now the only question is — how will you add this “new thing” to your existing security infrastructure? Will it be a siloed system with its own screen? It doesn’t have to be. Using PSIM, you can integrate it with your other sub-systems to feed your ever-improving situational awareness.
Then there’s the issue of version control for the different systems that make up your security infrastructure. Without PSIM, version control is critical. Any new security technology needs to be version compatible with everything else, and it can be a nightmare to keep everything in sync. But with PSIM, the new sub system only has to be version compatible with the PSIM software to work with everything else that’s tied into it. This is one of the reasons why organizations turn to PSIM to connect a VMS to an access control system, an intrusion system and a fire system, for example. Otherwise it’s just too easy for one wrong version to cause everything to collapse. And it’s not just about situational awareness. If you use a communication system such as mass notification, or add a new radio handset or a new GPS tracking system, integrating these systems together can be the key to better incident management.