The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Oct. 15-21, 2005

Oct. 21, 2005
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Most of my "security week that was" was spent in Seattle attending my first SecureWorld Expo. I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with this roving IT-meets-physical security show, but here's a quick overview:

The show, at its core, is an IT security show. In the vendor hall, you're going to see Computer Associates, Symantec and all the big names you expect in IT security. That said, SecureWorld Expo had the smarts about them to partner with Security Technology & Design (a sister pub to to develop a convergence track. Now vendors like Bosch, HID and IPIX - all three are sponsoring the SecureWorld convergence track -- are seeing the value of bringing cutting-edge content to a combined audience of IT and physical security professionals.

We've been saying for years now that IT and physical security are going to have to merge operations. That "merge" can either be a temporary, project-based collaboration just to build an IP surveillance system or a company-wide decision to integrate the two departments under one CSO. It doesn't really matter, honestly, how this merger happens, because the important thing is that it will eventually occur.

Apparently the folks attending this convergence track really get this "merger" concept. They're already working with their IT folks (or physical folks, if the attendee was from the IT shop). While at the show we looked at a number of converging areas, including using smart card technology with biometrics for physical and logical security. We saw a vision for how enterprise access control would integrate with network access, and we saw what was happening with "edge-driven" CCTV technology to alleviate network bandwidth issues.

We've got a couple stories already up on the site from the show. Check them out:

Rough Week for Biometrics

Sometimes product areas just get beat up. Sometimes it's the critics saying that CCTV doesn't stop crimes (but a lot of towns who've built surveillance systems would disagree and have the police data to prove the point). This week it was biometrics.

In the UK, they're saying they have problems with biometric reliability on the proposed government ID. Among the claims of things that screw up the recognition: Brown eyes, black skin color, bald heads. I just ran the numbers, and by that estimate, 71 percent of the people in our office might be affected.

Biometrics got beat up again when a CIA "master of disguise" went up against a facial recognition program and defeated it.

One of our other affiliated magazines, Advanced Imaging, also ran an article about the state of the biometric sensor technology and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of today's technology.

But before we leave biometrics bruised in a corner from a couple public flubs, I do want to point out that biometric technology is used all the time and it rarely fails. Sure, you can force biometrics to fail, but there's a failure point to any technology if you push it hard enough and long enough. That's why biometrics is often used as a redundant or "second-factor" authentication protocol as the technology develops.

More, More, More

Monitoring companies, have you been paying attention to HSM (formerly Honeywell Security Monitoring)? They picked up another company this week when Colorado-based Jackson Burglar Alarm signed the papers. This was the same company that kind of went silent for a bit after their sale and then appeared at ASIS of all places to make a big, splashy reappearance in the industry.

Also in the more, more, more category: Systems integrator Henry Bros. picked up Securus -- incidentally another Colorado company.

Looks Good on Paper

OK, it's not really on paper, but at least on your screen... Here's what your peers found of most interest on this week: