Using one platform to reign in all security applications
- By Adlan Hussain
- Mar 01, 2016
There have been many discussions and articles about PSIM over the
last five years, but there is also a lot of confusion around exactly
what it does, how it is defined, and in what way it differs from other
forms of security management.
So, what is a PSIM solution? The easy answer is PSIM is the solution
to intelligently bring together all security applications from an enterprise onto
With the evolution of security management platforms and the shift to IP-based
technologies, the development of PSIM offers the opportunity to aggregate legacy
analog with digital solutions, create control room solutions of some complexity at
much lower cost, extract rich data from the connected systems and assist operators
with pre-programmed standard operating procedures (SOP). Advanced PSIM
solutions allow the addition of workflow technology to provide operators with
customized step-by-step guidance to manage situations with control of all of the
information supplied by the underlying systems.
The main difference between a traditional security management platform and
PSIM is that its SOPs are normally fixed and the company has to follow the predetermined
operation according to the platform. PSIM on the other hand molds
around the user requirements and is very customizable. It is flexible, and compared
to SAP, for example, the same system can be used for a manufacturer as well as a
bank, and it just needs configuring to apply to the clients’ specific needs.
Solutions of this complexity were previously only in the domain of government
and large corporations. They were bespoke systems, cost a small fortune and were
expensive to maintain. With PSIM, this changed to offer a solution that could
work with all the sub systems, bringing them together in a more economical way
while reducing the ongoing support costs as well.
Fast forward to 2016, the PSIM market has changed significantly. PSIM solutions
have become far more sophisticated, focusing on “intelligence” rather than
integration. At the same time, there have been an increased number of ACS and
VMS vendors who work with other systems to offer a basic amount of security
Some of the key developments that are distinguishing PSIM as a technology
and where there has been real investment in PSIM, particularly in large-scale
homeland security, state, government and police security operations are highlighted
CLOSING THE GAPS WITHIN INTELLIGENCE SECURITY MANAGEMENT
With the continually increasing diversity of security threats across the globe, there
will be closer integration between all systems within the security disciplines that
make up intelligence security management.
The lack of deep end-to-end integration between the systems driving the physical,
personnel, communications, information systems, security classification and
operations security disciplines highlights the need to challenge the mantra of
situational awareness. It also shows the benefit of accelerating the demand for
Situational Intelligence through integrations focused on empowering counterintelligence
techniques in preventing situations from occurring or at least providing
effective early warning signals.
IT/HYBRID CHANNEL PARTNERS ENTERING THE MARKET
These will become more prevalent and will get their revenues from consulting,
software sales and some PSIM implementation. These are more likely to be regional
than global to start with, but they represent a new breed of IT/IQ suppliers
who are increasingly attractive to end users looking for value based solutions.
IT VENDORS ENTER THE MARKET
Large IT vendors will enter the security market, selling at high levels within the
Enterprise and on a global scale, furthering the belief that the big SI’s of the IT
market will also soon be entering the physical security market, linking it to logical
security solutions in a one throat to choke basis.
The view is that the more traditional hardware based system, the more integrators
will carry out the installs, and have the ongoing maintenance, but the complex
integration will migrate to expert service partners.
This has been on the wish list of lots of organizations for some time, but budgets
and uncertainty on its usability have limited its growth until now. This will change
as its adoption increases, bringing costs down and simplifying its delivery process.
In the near future, 3D will become an affordable viewing platform, but it is not
a silver bullet, more of an emerging technology. In the meantime, 3D will be for
viewing and 2D will be for visualization of the situational response plans.
The need for video analytics is growing again. What is different, however, is that
there will be a number of absolute industry analytics specialists, for example, manufacturers
who only provide camera analytics for maritime-based needs.
There has also been a rise in the requirement for camera analytics connected via
PSIM for example in “tag and track” applications. As it requires deep integration
with the analytics providers, this is going to separate the real PSIM players from
the VMS-based entry level PSIMs.
Homeland defense, corporate security, government buildings and mass transit security
all vary in the technology they deploy and the challenges they face, but they
all have the requirement for escalation procedures and the need for centralized
control of processes.
This fast growing segment is generally referred to as “one to many and/or many
to one”. Typically, the development of responses to alerts and alarms are carried
out at the center and are then distributed out to the remote locations. The entire
network of control rooms can have the ability to operate as discrete systems, but
can communicate to the center when required.
Another fast growing segment and will include the following capabilities:
- Public/private co-operations
- Body worn cameras with mapping to static camera video to create evidence files
- Multi-tenanted operations centers with interchange of data
- Social media and tracking capabilities
- Large scale video aggregation and intelligent video retrieval
- Large scale asset management across all sub-systems
INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)
Prepare for lots of hype around IoT but it is something that is on its way; most
people, however, are still not sure what that will be and how it will affect the security
Expect solutions providers to attach leading SIEM products to ensure the device
layers are not providing an attack surface. When the new hybrid channels
begin working with large-scale corporates and start processing data held in the
SCADA systems, security and facilities will change from a facilities operation to a
business intelligence must have.
Projects are getting larger and larger as they spill over from semi military to homeland
security. PSIM is growing in size and complexity and this will be more visible.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that PSIM is a simple fix it all (so-called
silver bullet) solution. If you have issues with the network or failures in the underlying
systems, PSIM will not fix this and should be resolved before installing
a PSIM. Similarly, if you do not have an SOP, you will need to define and create
these in order for them to be implemented with the PSIM. Without having
the requirements specified and target actions for response to
an alert/alarm, guiding operators will not be as effective. It is
the role of a good PSIM integrator to be able to work with end
users to create and resolve all issues needed for a smooth PSIM
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Security Today.