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Physical Security Information Management (PSIM):

Physical security information management (PSIM) is a software platform created by middleware developers, designed to integrate multiple unconnected security applications and devices and control them through one comprehensive user interface. PSIM integration enables numerous organizational benefits, including increased control, improved situation awareness and management reporting. Ultimately, these solutions allow organizations to reduce costs through improved efficiency and to improve security through increased intelligence.

PSIM based Integration:

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:

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 change 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:

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;

Examples of PSIM deployments in corporate organizations 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.

IT convergence:

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 organizations. 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 technology plug and play has allowed a greater choice of hardware and has helped reduce hardware costs. PSIM enables a greater degree of this type of interpretability, 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:

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.