Will physical security integrators work with IT departments?

Expert Neil O'Connor shares a recent project that demonstrates how IP-enabled physical security may be changing the market.

How do you foresee the IP-enabled physical security changing the market? Traditionally physical security integrators do not work with IT departments and vice versa.
Interestingly this has been at the core of a project that we have been doing for a client of ours. The company is implementing an organisation-wide access scheme using a single card – this can then be used for building access and for single sign-on. It is a large multi-site organisation, so you can imagine the complexities involved.

IP-enabled physical security brings a number of benefits, particularly in multi-site organisations, allowing centralised access management as well as health and safety and environmental benefits (knowing who is in a building, automatic lighting etc).

From a security viewpoint there are key benefits such as:

  • Integrated management of building and IT access, which helps to solve those 'starters' and 'leavers' issues
  • Ability to collate audit trails – x had access to area y and then x accessed system z etc

    The difficulty with implementing these systems is in the understanding and agreeing of all the requirements from a diverse set of interests (business, facilities, physical security, IT, audit, HR etc.).

    One way we simplified the process to develop the requirements for our client was to develop a stakeholder plan identifying the stakeholders, their interests, their requirements, and what decisions required their approval.

    I don't think it really matters who takes the lead in a project such as this. The important thing is to get the right people involved and to get their buy-in.

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