By AMAG Technology, VP of International Sales, Ramon Grado
An industry colleague recently reminded me, “Perfection is the enemy of ‘Good Enough’.” So what does that have to do with Physical Security and Physical Security Information Management (PSIM)? As security professionals, shouldn’t we strive to do our very best to protect people, property, assets and reputations?
The answer is a resounding “Yes, but…” Most of us work under the constraints of limited resources, be they CAPEX and OPEX funds, time, personnel or energy. So, as a result, expenses get spared, people get cut, projects get scaled back or delayed and the goal of increased Situational Awareness and an improved response to threats becomes a faded or distant vision.
Borrowing from a fellow blogger, “PSIM systems are ungodly expensive. Not only that, but they take 12-18 months on average to implement. And at the end of the day, for all that valuable Security budget, PSIM doesn’t provide a complete solution.” While not all PSIM projects go that way, it is a fair description of most large-scale attempts to connect the unconnected. Most of you already manage physical security information to some degree. Increased Situational Awareness begins with defining objectives. The next step should be looking at existing tools, not always looking to place an overhead layer above them.
Surprise: some of the tools you are using, including AMAG’s Symmetry access control system, have the capability to provide increased Situational Awareness by allowing users to better manage the information they already capture, transmit, analyze, display and store. It is often a matter of adding context, not necessarily cost. This can be accomplished by activating existing functionality such as Visitor Management, Threat Level, Video Analytics or Workflows. Symmetry also offers integration with complementary systems such as VMS, intercom, biometrics, EAS, IDS and yes, if you require it and have the budget, full-blown PSIM systems.
So we return to my original point: what is good enough? This begs the question, “What are you trying to accomplish?” If we cannot define what we are trying to accomplish, then we are not prepared to evaluate solutions. As some end users of security systems are finding, often the solution to their particular security problem is just an enhancement to their existing system(s) or simply taking advantage of the features that are already embedded and available in them. Often all that is needed is some additional training or orientation, worst case a minor investment in expansion modules and/or Professional Services to create increased Situational Awareness.
Food for thought for next time: why do end users spend so much time, effort and money on systems to record and playback video of the horses leaving the barn instead of spending a little more on systems aimed at controlling access and keeping the barn door closed in the first place?