CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Convergence between physical and IT security will be real by the end of the year. That’s the assessment made by a new study by Forrester Research Inc., which says more companies are merging the historically separate markets and that convergence won’t be a passing fad.
Steve Hunt, the head researcher on the study “Security Convergence Gets Real,” says the main drivers of IT/logical security integration aren’t the vendors, but the customers.
“End users have some business goals they’re hoping to achieve that seem to lead them to the conclusion that convergence of their security operations is a good idea,” Hunt says.
The study says companies will nearly triple their spending this year on projects that combine physical and IT security. However, Forrester says integration spending may expand even more. Hunt says physical security contractors are open to convergence as a way to increase their profits, while IT companies are more like sleeping giants that aren’t as in tune with the integration trend.
“If the IT side of the house ever wanted to get into the physical security business, they could create much more efficient panels, controllers and access control than the physical security side can,” says Hunt, who is also and advisor to the Open Security Exchange. “The danger is Hewlett-Packard, or IBM, or Microsoft or Intel could just decide one day to get into the physical security business.”
At the same time, Hunt says electronic security companies have had a head start and IT companies are more willing to strike up partnerships than compete. That has been the case with IBM, which has struck up partnerships with Honeywell and GE’s security companies.
“The IT market has enough to focus on,” Hunt says. “There’s no real motivation for IT security companies to get into convergence space, but a huge motivation for physical security.”