Industry Standards

Oct. 27, 2008
The baseline for predictable performance

The Security Industry Association’s work to establish performance metrics for security components and their applications can give the industry much-needed tools to evaluate technology.
SIA is leading an effort to create standards that enable the integration of disparate security products within a security enterprise. These standards will provide a means to establish predictable levels of performance.
“Our standards development activities are based on SIA’s Standards Roadmap,” says Gary Klinefelter, vice president of strategic innovation for HID Global, and chair of SIA’s Standards Committee. “The Roadmap, a guiding document for SIA Standards, encompasses the entire security enterprise. All proposals for new activities must be aligned with its strategic goals.”

Cross-sections of stakeholders gather to define capabilities and performance metrics for a given standard. Product developers participate because they want to get ahead of the curve when it’s time to deploy next-generation security equipment. Also, standards-based products are more extensible and adaptable to meet ever-changing end-user requirements. End-users and integrators participate to ensure the requirements for their business needs will be met. The specification of capabilities and performance metrics facilitate that effort. “Time to market, industry intelligence and evaluation tools are just a few of the benefits,” Klinefelter says.

SIA’s Open, Systems Integration, and Performance Standards (OSIPS) include a number of standards activities. It addresses component-specific standards that detail performance for specific security technologies. With industry agreed-on test case definitions and reporting of component interface capabilities, these standards provide the specifier of the technology with the appropriate metrics to gauge the right technology for a particular security solution. These component standards are based on a range of implementation uses.

“Implementations for a standard are determined by looking at use cases,” says Monica Rigano, SIA’s director of standards. “These scenarios help flush out common end-user requirements. The power of OSIPS is the ability to be extensible and measurable. In addition to assuring interoperability performance, OSIPS can also be extended to meet specific end-user requirements.”

More recently, new proposals for standards activities are feeding SIA’s Security Applications Standards (SAS) subcommittee. These efforts focus on the requirements imposed on a given technology as it pertains to a given application. The SAS subcommittee is currently defining access control requirements for gate operations.

There are a number of implementations associated with gate operations — including military bases, ports and industrial facilities. This group will specify expected behavior of the gate operations application and the associated technologies that may be used in the security solution. Similarly, there is additional activity and work being done to define a common user interface for command-and-control for large enterprise solutions.

“As we map out use cases for end-user needs, it is important to include a broad set of stakeholders from various vertical markets and industries,” Klinefelter says. “This kind of participation will ensure industry-wide solutions that provide for easy integration.”

SIA’s standards development activities — both component and application-centric — are ground-breaking because for the first time, performance metrics are being established and expected application behaviors are being defined. This provides stakeholders with the tools to evaluate a given technology for whatever security solution is being considered.
As an ANSI Accredited Standards Developing Organization, SIA focuses on developing standards for security systems that are open; enable easy integration of diverse components; and provide a means to establish predictable levels of performance. If you aren’t participating, get on board. If you are unfamiliar with the activities, get familiar. A standards-based industry is a win-win for all parties involved.

Mark Visbal is director of Research and Technology for the Security Indistry Association. For details, contact Monica Rigano at 703-647-8492 or [email protected]; or visit