Successful Security Addresses the Business Mission

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The common cash machine may offer the simplest model of how security processes contribute to strategic business goals, one of the industry's leading consultants told Houston-area contractors and resellers.

As security systems and processes converge, successful security integrators will focus on communicating and delivering solutions that allow customers to do business to the best degree possible, said Steve Hunt, founder of Hunt Business Intelligence. Hunt spoke at the Open Standards Security Alliance's Video, Security and Integration Summit, a traveling "lunch and learn" program that touched down in the Bayou City yesterday. The summit, which features presentations from a number of vendors on the convergence supply chain, will move to New Orleans tomorrow, November 12. Presentations are scheduled for Los Angeles and San Francisco December 8 and 10, respectively.

Selling solutions is not necessarily easy, Hunt said, given that outside the security staff, everyone in the organization, from rank-and-file up to senior management, perceives security "as an annoying layer of cost and inconvenience."

Integrators can change this perception when they help customers see security as a utility that provides information and intelligence that in turn empowers their business decisionmaking, Hunt said. Convergence makes it possible for the data used in traditional security applications--badge-ins and badge-outs, surveillance video files and perimeter sensors--to be processed and integrated together to yield useful information about business operations. Information, which then becomes knowledge that can be applied to the corporate mission, Hunt said. "Use security to solve a problem," he stated.

Hunt, who also publishers the Security Dreamer blog, said automatic teller machines (ATMs), although introduced in the mid-1970s, offer a lesson that resonates in the current converged environment. ATMs were a result of a need for banks cut the cost of employing tellers, he said. What was novel is that the machines let banks leave "piles of money" in a box on a street corner. The idea worked because there was a way of providing authentication, authorization, administration and audit--the four basic categories of security. "Security made it happen," Hunt said, "but security was never the point." Preserving business in lean times was. In the end, not only did the banks achieve that goal, but ATMs increased customer satisfaction by giving account holders 24-hour access to their money.

Hunt and the other speakers urged integrators to seize new tools that, through open systems interconnection, convert security applications to a means of gaining business intelligence. Key to this is building an interoperable security architecture around a physical security information management (PSIM) system that is faster than human observers at detecting events, provides a real-time response to based on policy and processes, and offers centralized command and control. "You're in the information business," Hunt said.

This theme carried over through the meeting. While the program permitted companies to tout specific products, it gave integrators the opportunity to see how those products fit together in a converged architecture using the same deployment example--a port security application. Such a perspective can be difficult to derive from individual meetings or briefings. Participants included Axis Communications, Cisco Systems, Hirsch Electronics, IBM, Intergraph and SightLogix.

Other highlights:

Craig Crawford, director of sales, western region, for SightLogix, discussed how surveillance cameras using perimeter protection analytics and geo-spatial data can feed into a PSIM system to detect, assess and respond to perimeter violations, and, in particular, reduce false alarms and equipment costs.

Robert H. Scott III, executive director, security solutions marketing for Intergraph, spoke on PSIM implementations at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, Port of Seattle and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, and how they collect and collate data to allow responders to assess a situation before responding. Calling PSIM "big S security" and "the system of systems," Scott said its value lies in its scalability and the way it can both push policy-driven information out to a number of agencies. 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina were dual watersheds after which security imperative shifted from need-to-know to need-to-share, he said.

The Intergraph system, Scott said, is largely high-end, suitable for port, airport and mass transit applications, adding that it does not scale down as well as PSIM systems from some of its competitors, such as Orsus and Proximex. Intergraph expects to have systems suitable for smaller campus installations--in the range of 1,000 cameras--in the next 18 to 24 months, he said. While it uses off-the-shelf software, the Intergraph system requires substantial configuration, he added.

John Piccininni, vice president of sales for Hirsch Electronics, discussed the access control component of integrated security, and emphasized that identity management has become the core of access control. Physical access control needs to be tied to logical identities, roles-based access policies (a Sarbanes-Oxley requirement) as well as protection against unauthorized access.
 
Hunt also urged attendees to seek Trustmark certification from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a non-profit trade association of IT professionals and companies. Trustmark was developed in 2008 and identifies solution providers that follow best practices in personnel security, security training and infrastructure.

The common cash machine may offer the simplest model of how security processes contribute to strategic business goals, one of the industry's leading consultants told Houston-area contractors and resellers.

As security systems and processes converge, successful security integrators will focus on communicating and delivering solutions that allow customers to do business to the best degree possible, said Steve Hunt, founder of Hunt Business Intelligence. Hunt spoke at the Open Standards Security Alliance's Video, Security and Integration Summit, a traveling "lunch and learn" program that touched down in the Bayou City yesterday. The summit, which features presentations from a number of vendors on the convergence supply chain, will move to New Orleans tomorrow, November 12. Presentations are scheduled for Los Angeles and San Francisco December 8 and 10, respectively.

Selling solutions is not necessarily easy, Hunt said, given that outside the security staff, everyone in the organization, from rank-and-file up to senior management, perceives security "as an annoying layer of cost and inconvenience."

Integrators can change this perception when they help customers see security as a utility that provides information and intelligence that in turn empowers their business decisionmaking, Hunt said. Convergence makes it possible for the data used in traditional security applications--badge-ins and badge-outs, surveillance video files and perimeter sensors--to be processed and integrated together to yield useful information about business operations. Information, which then becomes knowledge that can be applied to the corporate mission, Hunt said. "Use security to solve a problem," he stated.

Hunt, who also publishers the Security Dreamer blog, said automatic teller machines (ATMs), although introduced in the mid-1970s, offer a lesson that resonates in the current converged environment. ATMs were a result of a need for banks cut the cost of employing tellers, he said. What was novel is that the machines let banks leave "piles of money" in a box on a street corner. The idea worked because there was a way of providing authentication, authorization, administration and audit--the four basic categories of security. "Security made it happen," Hunt said, "but security was never the point." Preserving business in lean times was. In the end, not only did the banks achieve that goal, but ATMs increased customer satisfaction by giving account holders 24-hour access to their money.

Hunt and the other speakers urged integrators to seize new tools that, through open systems interconnection, convert security applications to a means of gaining business intelligence. Key to this is building an interoperable security architecture around a physical security information management (PSIM) system that is faster than human observers at detecting events, provides a real-time response to based on policy and processes, and offers centralized command and control. "You're in the information business," Hunt said.

This theme carried over through the meeting. While the program permitted companies to tout specific products, it gave integrators the opportunity to see how those products fit together in a converged architecture using the same deployment example--a port security application. Such a perspective can be difficult to derive from individual meetings or briefings. Participants included Axis Communications, Cisco Systems, Hirsch Electronics, IBM, Intergraph and SightLogix.

Other highlights:

Craig Crawford, director of sales, western region, for SightLogix, discussed how surveillance cameras using perimeter protection analytics and geo-spatial data can feed into a PSIM system to detect, assess and respond to perimeter violations, and, in particular, reduce false alarms and equipment costs.

Robert H. Scott III, executive director, security solutions marketing for Intergraph, spoke on PSIM implementations at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, Port of Seattle and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, and how they collect and collate data to allow responders to assess a situation before responding. Calling PSIM "big S security" and "the system of systems," Scott said its value lies in its scalability and the way it can both push policy-driven information out to a number of agencies. 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina were dual watersheds after which security imperative shifted from need-to-know to need-to-share, he said.

The Intergraph system, Scott said, is largely high-end, suitable for port, airport and mass transit applications, adding that it does not scale down as well as PSIM systems from some of its competitors, such as Orsus and Proximex. Intergraph expects to have systems suitable for smaller campus installations--in the range of 1,000 cameras--in the next 18 to 24 months, he said. While it uses off-the-shelf software, the Intergraph system requires substantial configuration, he added.

John Piccininni, vice president of sales for Hirsch Electronics, discussed the access control component of integrated security, and emphasized that identity management has become the core of access control. Physical access control needs to be tied to logical identities, roles-based access policies (a Sarbanes-Oxley requirement) as well as protection against unauthorized access.
 
Hunt also urged attendees to seek Trustmark certification from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a non-profit trade association of IT professionals and companies. Trustmark was developed in 2008 and identifies solution providers that follow best practices in personnel security, security training and infrastructure.

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