AUSTIN, Texas — In an effort to build an industry consensus definition of physical security information management (PSIM) software, IMS Research has suggested a list of criteria the platform should meet.
In its report titled, “The World Market for Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) Software — 2010 Edition,” IMS Research examines the growing market for PSIM software platforms. The research firm discovered that most security professionals are unsure of the definition of PSIM. When individuals were questioned about the platform, answers ranged from “It deals with the management of physical security information” to “It’s not just systems integration?”
“PSIM is a buzzword circulating around the floors of security trade shows this year, but when questioned, few people are able to agree on what defines PSIM software and what its key capabilities are,” says research analyst Gary Wong, who authored the report. “The low awareness of what PSIM software is and its capabilities is a key limiting factor in the initial growth of the market.”
Prior to starting the research for the report, IMS Research contacted the major vendors of PSIM software to build an industry consensus definition for PSIM software based on the prior work by Steven Titch and Sharon J. Watson of SecuritySquared magazine. As a result, the firm came up with a list of seven criteria:
- Connectivity and Integration: A PSIM software platform must connect and manage multiple disparate security systems, examples include (but are not limited to) video surveillance, access control, intrusion, fire and life safety, perimeter protection, mass notification and building automation. The PSIM platform should be capable of integration with other business systems within a corporate IT-infrastructure such as ERP systems, data warehouses, provisioning systems, etc. The PSIM platform should be open, therefore hardware and vendor agnostic, and capable of connecting to any input sensors and external applications.
- Real Time Policy/Configuration Management: A PSIM software platform must be able to define and change policies and parameters related to various connected devices in the underlying subsystems (such as access control, video, etc.).
- Correlation and Verification: A PSIM software platform must be able to automatically connect and cross-reference multiple events from multiple disparate security systems in real-time and give the ability to flexibly set rules.
- Visualization: A PSIM software platform must be able to visualize the actual situation independently from active events. In case of an event, the PSIM platform must be able to graphically display situational information in a manner that provides responders with a picture of the nature of the event, the location and the scope of the threat it presents. It must be able to integrate real world information as a geo-spatial representation.
- A Rules-based Workflow for Response: A PSIM software platform must be able to immediately offer a step-by-step action plan, based on pre-determined rules and policies, to respond, manage/counter the threat and control response operations. The rules based workflow should be sufficiently complex as to adapt to escalating situations.
- Availability/Resilience: A PSIM software platform must have capability for redundant functionality (e.g. servers, communication gateways and databases) to support continuity of business and disaster recovery. This includes the ability to integrate backup systems to automate transfer of control room capabilities. It must be able to watch and monitor the functionality and integrity of the underlying subsystems and detect possible threats on the network.
- Post-Event Reporting and Analysis: A PSIM software platform must provide an audit log that allows for post-event forensic review detailing the event situation and the action taken. It must be capable of developing customized reports that allow for analysis of multiple events in order to optimize policies and response.
While there are a wide number of products that fulfill some of the aforementioned criteria, such as video management software (VMS) and access control system (ACS) software, the products are unable to fulfill all of the criteria and are not considered to be PSIM software platforms by IMS Research.
By 2014, the world market for PSIM software is forecast to be worth around $200 million, according to the study. However, the firm predicts that the combined global market for VMS and ACS will exceed $1 billion by 2014.