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New Concept: PSIM, Physical Security information Management

December 6, 2006

It occurs to me that the physical security industry needs a new market category to be defined around event management.  Managing events is the largest and most complex area of physical security – making it the most confusing.  By breaking out PSIM, buyers, sellers and consultants will be better able to manage customer expectations and create innovations.  Here is my first attempt to define the new category, PSIM.

Physical Security Information Management

Technologies and processes to collect, understand, and
respond to data relevant for security. Products in this
category variously offer aggregation, visualization, system control, incident
response and reporting.

Problem Solved

Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) products
help to solve two problems. They glean
the most relevant and interesting data from the deluge of security information
sources, including cameras, video analytics, access control event logs,
intrusion sensors, HVAC & environmental sensors, fire and other alarms,
crime statistics; and PSIM products give us a view into security system usage, performance,
regulatory compliance, and general security anomalies previously very difficult
to acquire.

PSIM technologies and processes enable their users to

  • identify threats, trends and security incidents more quickly/easily (how much
         more?)
  • Plan security purchases better
  • Install systems for better integration and information sharing
  • Distribute and analyze surveillance video better
  • Deliver information to the right people at the right time
  • Monitor and manage security systems better
  • Deploy personnel and resources more efficiently (how much more?)
  • Measure success with more accurate, timely and relevant reports

PSIM processes are those that classify and organize security
information. Signing up for a daily news feed on the Internet, like Homeland
Security Daily Wire is one step in a PSIM process. Another could be working in committee to
draft a disaster recovery or building evacuation policy.

PSIM technologies are that capture, collect, display and
process security information. Command center software is one class within PSIM.
Surveillance video management is another. Policy compliance and control is
another.

Just consider this incomplete list of PSIM sources to begin
to understand the need for organization of security information.

  • Access events
  • Building management systems
  • CCTV images, various formats
  • Compliance reports
  • Crime statistics
  • Digital video recorder logs
  • Electronic fences
  • Environmental sensors (temperature, moisture, etc.)
  • Guard tour observations
  • Identity systems
  • Intrusion sensors
  • Threat assessments
  • Video analytics systems
  • Video displays
  • Vulnerability assessments
  • Weather reports
  • And so on…

Then imagine an organization with many video formats
(Mpeg-4, VHS, etc) and multiple access control systems (Software House, Amag) –
try to organize that information using Excel spreadsheets!

In the grand scheme of things, physical security technology
orbits around identity management and event management. But from the end user’s point of view, both
rely utterly on the organization’s ability to capture, assemble and use
security information.

Who is this person? What are her privileges? How are we managing the person and her
privileges? Is our process working?

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