Physical security information management

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Physical security information management (PSIM) is a category of software that provides a platform and applications created by middleware developers, designed to integrate multiple unconnected security applications and devices and control them through one comprehensive user interface. It collects and correlates events from existing disparate security devices and information systems (video, access control, sensors, analytics, networks, building systems, etc.) to empower personnel to identify and proactively resolve situations. PSIM integration enables numerous organisational benefits, including increased control, improved situation awareness and management reporting. Ultimately, these solutions allow organisations to reduce costs through improved efficiency and to improve security through increased intelligence.

A complete PSIM software system has six key capabilities:

  1. Collection: Device management independent software collects data from any number of disparate security devices or systems.
  2. Analysis: The system analyzes and correlates the data, events, and alarms, to identify the real situations and their priority.
  3. Verification: PSIM software presents the relevant situation information in a quick and easily-digestible format for an operator to verify the situation.
  4. Resolution: The system provides Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), step-by-step instructions based on best practices and an organization’s policies, and tools to resolve the situation.
  5. Reporting: The PSIM software tracks all the information and steps for compliance reporting, training and potentially, in-depth investigative analysis.
  6. Audit trail: The PSIM also monitors how each operator interacts with the system, tracks any manual changes to security systems and calculates reaction times for each event.

PSIM based Integration[edit]

A key differential between PSIM based integration and other forms of physical security system integration is the ability for a PSIM platform to connect systems at a data level, contrasting other forms of integration which interface a limited number of products. PSIM allows use of open technologies which are compatible with a large number of manufacturers. These PSIM products offer more opportunities for expansion and can reduce implementation costs through greater use of existing equipment. PSIM solutions in general are deployed to centralize information to single or multiple control hubs. These are referred to as control rooms or command and control centres. Security systems typically integrated into a PSIM solution include;

Operator guidance[edit]

PSIM solutions manage all of the data produced by the various security applications, and aggregate them to produce meaningful intelligence. This in turn is converted to create graphical situation management; combining relevant visual intelligence, workflow based on screen guidance and automated tasks. This is used for both event management and for day to day security operations. Some of the more advanced PSIM products offer dynamic guidance, which can be changed according to the perceived threat level. This threat level is governed by both external intelligence, such as DHS advice and internal intelligence, such as the number of attempted breaches.

Typical deployments[edit]

PSIM solutions can be found in a wide range of industry and government sectors across the globe. The following are industries where PSIM deployments can be found;

  • Critical national infrastructure
  • Homeland defense
  • Utility Companies
  • Retail Security
  • Corporate security
  • Law enforcement
  • Local government CCTV
  • Education campus protection

Examples of PSIM deployments in corporate organisations include IBM, where it is being used to centrally manage security from 27 sites in the UK. PSIM solutions have also been deployed in Law Enforcement agencies, where the requirement has been more focused on visual intelligence and effective resource management, examples of this include Greater Manchester Police. The City of Davenport also uses PSIM to improve public safety and multi-agency coordination. PSIM has also been implemented in Fusion Centers such as the Joint Transportation Management Center in New York City for emergency response and coordination.

Also included are Utility Companies such as Bristol Water with 120+ dispersed Regional sites and Retailers such as Aurum owners of Goldsmiths the Jewellers, Watches of Switzerland & Mappin & Webb with 100+ stores Nationally within the UK. Another couple of examples are the Waste Recycling Group and East Surrey College all of which have downloadable Case Studies from a link below.

IT convergence[edit]

A key reason for the increased deployment of this technology has been its ability to bridge the gap between the security and information technology functions within organisations. Security applications and devises have until very recently been only available on proprietary technologies, which reduce the ability to use multiple vendors and have created vendor lock in pricing strategies. This opposes IT standards, where plug and play technology has allowed a greater choice of hardware and has helped reduce hardware costs. PSIM enables a greater degree of this type of interoperability, and comes at a time when security applications and devices are moving from analogue to network based connectivity. The combined effect has seen PSIM solutions score highly with IT departments globally.

Security at board level[edit]

The function of security departments has traditionally been to secure people and buildings, and has been slow to absorb new technology, relying more on manned guards and physical barriers. As Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) evolves to address all security and legislative risks across all stakeholders, physical security departments have come under increased scrutiny. Numerous examples of physical security breaches leading to major organizational losses, both in terms of assets and brand damage have led to physical security reporting to board level. Globally, new roles have been created within large organizations where Chief Information Security Officers (CISO), have responsibility for ERM, including physical security. Subsequently, management reporting, policy compliance and KPIs have entered the physical security function, requiring more efficient working practices and monitoring tools. Again PSIM software addresses these organizational requirements, and is therefore being stipulated by CISOs.

PSIM Market Growth[edit]

According to the Frost & Sullivan Analysis Worldwide Physical Security Information Management Market Report the worldwide physical security information management (PSIM) market is expected to grow from $80.0 million in 2009 to $544.0 million in 2015, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 37.6%.[1] There is a mix of companies which are either very strong in “pure” PSIM solutions and others that are adding functionalities to a basic video management system (VMS)

PSIM Training[edit]

In a June 2012 report, Frost & Sullivan noted there was a PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) education gap.


External links[edit]