The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2006

Feb. 3, 2006
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Is it hype or is it real?

Terry Hartmann, director of secure identification and biometrics for multi-modal government services integrator Unisys, says that it's traveler security that's going to push biometrics' acceptance in 2006.

For once, the predictions just might be right. There is, we think, a "perfect storm" forming for the world of biometrics. First, we've seen news that well-known biometrics company Bioscrypt has been stamped as a top growth company in Canada (see story). We've seen the inclusion of biometrics on IBM laptops, and it's even made an appearance at retail locations for payment verification. Add onto that a report in mid-January from market analysis firm Frost & Sullivan that predicted the biometrics market would triple by 2008. And don't forget to mix in the "hurricane" ingredient for this perfect storm in the merger of Viisage and Identix.

Is it hype or is it real, we ask again? This time, we think, the predictions are for real.

Why 'Going Postal' Is More than a Stereotype

It was sad news Monday out of Goleta, Calif., near Santa Barbara, that a female ex-employee of the USPS had entered a postal processing facility and killed six co-workers before turning the gun on herself -- and had killed a neighbor before going to the facility. caught up with three security consultants to talk about how to identify and prevent workplace violence conducted by disgruntled employees. See their thoughts here in a exclusive report.

One of the things you've heard time and time again on and in our related magazines Security Technology & Design and Security Dealer is that we have to look at access control revocation as part of the process when an employee leaves. We've talked about the integration of access control and human resources until we're blue in the face, but as much as a bunch of security editors and industry consultants may advocate strict, rules-based access control policy, nothing furthers the case for the adoption of these technologies and policiesas much as a single, high-profile incident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and co-workers affected by Monday's terrible act. Let that be your impetus for reviewing your own access control procedures.

Investigating a Breach

We hate to hear that it happened to a company in our own industry, but global firm Honeywell fell victim to a security breach when personal data of 19,000 of its employees appeared on a website. The info reportedly contained Social Security numbers and bank account information, and is believed to have been leaked (stolen, perhaps?) by a computer systems analyst. This is far from just a problem that the IT security boys and girls need to fix; these kind of breaches, whether they affect 19 or 19,000 have to be dealt with by not only IT, but by physical security, risk management directors, the legal staff, and human resources, just to start. Security can't stay under the radar, and it's instances like this which make the case for security being part of C-level operations.

There Goes the NBFAA?

Amid news that the venerable dealer organization was planning its spring conference in Vegas to tie in with the mammoth ISC West show, the NBFAA held its 2006 Strategic Summit, with 51 attendees planning the future of this almost 60-year-old organization. On the docket -- a slight revision of the organization's mission statement, but most newsworthy was a forthcoming name-change. SIW will be chatting with the NBFAA's Merlin Guilbeau this afternoon to get the full report -- look for an in-depth report on Monday in our Security Markets & Systems newsletter.

Changing the Central Station

No longer just a place where alarm calls come in, are verified (or not) before being piped to local police, the central station of 2006 and beyond is a full-fledged video and data powerhouse. Who's helping this along? Dice and U.S. Acoustics on one project, Bold and Knight Security on another. But those are just the tip of the iceberg -- tell us about how you're using video at your central station.

Finally, a look at the most read stories of the last week:

Until next week's column, be safe, be profitable and never let your guard down (and keep up on the latest industry news at