Home > Identity & Access Management, Intelligent Video, Manufacturers, PSIM, Security Management / Operations, Software, Trends > Confused about PSIM? You can’t just blame me anymore

Confused about PSIM? You can’t just blame me anymore

Last month Martha Entwistle, editor of Security Systems News posted an interesting article commenting on the nature of PSIM (physical security information management) and a new report by IMS Research.  First I’ll comment on the content of the report, and then I’ll comment on the origin of the term PSIM (which she credits to me).

Thanks for writing this article, Martha.  As a security industry analyst for the last 15 years, I can say I’m not surprised.  I’ve seen reports like IMS’ before. You can’t blame them for confusing the issue, really.  Young researchers with no field security experience partially digest and regurgitate conversations with paying vendor marketing executives who have tremendous stake in the status quo.

The article here says “IMS’s Wong notes that products such as VMS and ACS software, which meet some, but not all, of the criteria above, are not considered to be PSIM for the purposes of the report.”

Hmm. I read these functional descriptions and think to myself that simply combining  any popular VMS and ACS and you’d have 80% of the functionality IMS declares to be PSIM.  So what does that mean? a solution has to have 100% of these technical requirements to be considered PSIM?  Does it mean that “real” PSIM is actually and merely the 20% delta of functionality between an access control/video solution and the remaining functions?


Regarding the term PSIM. Yes, I was the first person to publish the term PSIM and launch the global discussion on physical security information management.  When Chuck Teubner, CEO of VidSys, was CEO of e-Security (around 2003-04), he and I sat in the e-Security offices and discussed a new idea I was working on in my research: Security Information Management (SIM) for the physical security world.  At that time, SIM was a popular concept in IT security management.  Sadly, after I left Forrester and could no longer control the Forrester-Gartner debate on the topic, the acronym degraded to the current, utterly ridiculous SIEM.  Anyway, I digress.

About the same time, Kobi Huberman of NICE and I drew a PSIM-like diagram on the back of a napkin in London.  He was the VP of corporate strategy for NICE. Shortly thereafter, Arcsight, a leading vendor in the IT SIM world, contacted me and we brainstormed about SIM for the physical security world.  Then NetIQ guys started talking about a similar concept.

When Chuck Teubner called me again in 2006 and suggested that we name the new concept, PSIM was born.  I published it on my blog then.  I can also say definitively that VidSys was the first company to clarify the PSIM vision and set the standard for PSIM definition and execution.

As a footnote, NICE later got into the PSIM game by acquiring PSIM vendor Orsus in 2009.  NetIQ guys started PSIM-vendor Proximex.  ArcSight, dabbled in PSIM but  has not yet come up with an effective strategy to penetrate the market.

Please watch securitydreamer.com for more to come on PSIM.

  1. January 13, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Just curious, but regarding your comment of “Curious”, are you proposing that an integrated VMS and ACS system covering 80% of PSIM’s functions SHOULD be called PSIM? The only thing lacking is the open integrations that have become typical of PSIM’s, and the big one, the most impressive and useful one: procedures. But just because they don’t have procedures doesn’t mean they’re not managing information… naming them PSIM’s is a slippery slope, though. If managing information is all it takes, then a burg system with a keypad is a PSIM. Where’s the cutoff?

    • January 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      A slippery slope for whom? For marketing managers it may be. If you are a marketing wonk trying to identify PSIM “products” then ambiguity in the definition may work for or against you.

      If, however, you think of PSIM as a concept instead of a product, there is no problem. You could think of PSIM is the use of any technology in order to manage the information of security. In that way, VMS gives you a bit of PSIM value. PACS gives you some. Situation management consoles give you some. Technologies that “produce” data, like alarm panels, are part of the PSIM architecture, for sure. And products that consolidate and organize data produce even more PSIM value.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: