The Security Week That Was: 9/28/07

Sept. 28, 2007
A weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession
Aligning Business and Security at ASIS International 2007

This week, of course, was most marked by the ASIS International 2007 Seminars and Exhibits, held in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. From systems integrators to dealers to the core of security directors working for some of the world's top companies, the 2007 seemed like a strong cross-section of the industry.

The amazing thing of ASIS 2007 was the diversity of security solutions you can find in the aisles of the exhibit hall. Walk down an aisle and you'll find a company creating hard-to-remove caps for manhole cover security two booths away from where Lenel is showcasing integration with logical access systems and incident notification software. I, for one, love this place, and having spent three days touring the exhibit halls and meeting new faces, I have to say that the show most impressed me with the way that technology providers seem to understand that the market has shifted. People, after all, aren't really buying technology because it gives 480 TV lines or 2 terabytes of storage. They're buying such systems because it solves a business need.

A case in point was Red X Defense, a company which does explosives detection. In talking with their booth staff, I had the pleasure to see a unit that is designed to be used at entrances to facilities like theme parks. As it goes through the guise of giving you a program (it could be a map, your pass, or a schedule), the system tests the would-be entrants hands for traces of explosives. According to their staff, the idea is to do screening in such a way at an amusement park that you don't create alarm, and in a manner, the station is fairly covert at what it's doing. It's that kind of thinking that proves that security is aligning with the business role.

Chicago and Security
Threat on nearby train rails, and IBM rolling out analytics for city's video surveillance

While everyone at ASIS had their phones on their "out of the office" message and emails set to respond to "away", that didn't mean the activities for security stopped everywhere. Chicago's Metra train system was on alert after scores of the spikes that help mount the train tracks went missing.

Meanwhile, on the streets of that windy city, IBM and the city announced plans to add "anomaly detection" (a.k.a. analytics) to processing of the volumes of video surveillance footage. The city had already done some elements of analytics by linking audio records of gunshots with cameras so that the surveillance cameras were automatically panned and pointed in the believed location of the gunshot, based on audio analytics. The video analytics work, it seems, is somewhat exploratory, and is part of overall preparations for the 2016 Olympics.

What I'm Reading
TSM for the Transportation Security Business

Having received a recommendation from the ASIS International Transportation Security Council for the book "Securing Global Transportation Networks" (Luke Ritter, J. Michael Barrett, Rosalyn Wilson, from McGraw Hill, 2007, pp. 276), I started reading this text when I returned from the seminars and tradeshow. The book prescribes the "total security management" approach to securing global trade, which you might also call a holistic approach.

Ritter and company seem to recognize that business are not practicing security for security's sake, but are practicing security to ensure the business stays in business. While much of the book is driven with a focus on overall positioning for the security manager, the authors get down and dirty with specifics on things like CT-PAT, physical barriers, container protection and even a template for your vulnerability assessment. The appendix sections are excellent reference documents as well. If your business touches on shipping (or receiving), put this one on your read list.

In our Forums
Working with fire marshalls

One of our members, a fire-installing dealer, faces a technical code challenge involving monitoring over T1s and what is prohibited and/or allowed by NFPA 72. The discussion helps solve the question and even reaches back to way-back machine of early telecom line communication problems. Read the thread here. Membership in the forums is open to anyone in the industry.

We close, as always, with a look at our most read stories of the week: