As the shock of America’s worst-ever terrorist attacks subsides, corporate management and government

Because of the events of Sept. 11, a shift in attitude towards physical and electronic security has occurred and protection from terrorist acts is priority No. 1. Now, many corporate executives, as well as government officials, are examining scenarios that just this past summer were only the subjects of Hollywood movies. What was formerly considered unthinkable is now feared to be a distinct possibility.

What were once deemed unrelated specializations of security—physical (guards), electronic (access control, CCTV, etc.) and information technology (IT) (computers)—are now considered vital parts of the fabric of national safety.Requests for Security System Information Increases

According to many systems contractors, there has been an increase in the demand for security system information, design and assessment by corporations as well as local and national governments. The integration of CCTV and access control systems continues to be a trend.

For those enterprises that already have updated security systems, the emphasis has switched in many instances from asset management and personnel tracking to perimeter security. Additionally, some of the security dealers and systems integrators interviewed indicate an increased interest in biometrics, particularly hand-geometry and iris-recognition mechanisms.

The most profound effect the terrorist attacks have had on industries, government facilities and other enterprises is the fact that security is a top priority and money is now being set aside for installations and upgrades.

Selling more equipment isn’t enough. To be truly successful in achieving security, dealers and integrators must help end users in coordinating physical, electronic and IT security.Electronic and IT Security Presents Challenges

One of the most crucial steps in improving corporate security involves the integration of physical (electronic, barriers and guards) and IT security. The integration of the two usually involves some fierce turf wars, but the tone for the changes can be managed to a great degree by the parent company through fostering an atmosphere of cooperation.Jeff Whirley, vice president of business development for Infrasafe in Orlando, Fla., says there are many hurdles to overcome. One of the most difficult aspects, according to Whirley, of managing the integration is understanding the different needs of the two kinds of security. Changing the Definition of Risk Assessment

It used to be that risk assessment called for a survey of a corporation’s physical plant. Today, that assessment must include an evaluation of the risks posed to IT. Computer hacking is now being evaluated in a broader context, as a single, ongoing threat, even if the culprit changes with each new attack.Gage-Babcock and Associates Director of Corporate Security Bob Cizmadia, CPP, says that evaluating and managing risk starts with the process of analyzing particular threats and vulnerabilities.

Threat analysis has taken on a new importance in the wake of the attacks. Nowhere is it more crucial than in our nation’s airports.Airports Tighten Security, Weigh Electronic Options

Since Sept. 11, airline security has been at the highest level and has received wide media attention. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now reassuring Americans with heightened security measures and restrictions it has put in place at all major airports.

On Oct. 9, the FAA issued rules allowing airlines to quickly strengthen cockpit doors without having to follow normal requirements for modifying planes. The rules also drop the requirement that all crew members, including flight attendants, have keys to the cockpit. Now, only flight crew members will have keys. The new rules expire April 9, 2003.

Biometric-based access control systems are becoming the focus of many inquiries to security companies. Officials at Chicago’s O’Hare Int’l airport, however, were already considering implementing some kind of biometric system. Decision-makers there have been working with SecuGen Corp. of Milpitas, Calif., and two of its partners to incorporate smart card IDs with fingerprint-recognition technology. The new smart card fingerprint-recognition biometric readers will replace mag-stripe badges and traditional readers on approximately 1,100 doors at both O’Hare and Midway airports. Dan Riley, vice president of software development for SecuGen, says that increased awareness exists, and more than ever airlines are evaluating biometrics and other technology that can easily be integrated into their existing systems. New Bill Could Allow Expensing of Security Systems

The Securing America Investment Act of 2001 was introduced to Congress on Sept. 25. If passed into law, the bill, known as HR 2970, would allow businesses to expense up to $24,000 of the cost of purchase and installation of security, fire and life-safety equipment in the year it was purchased. Such tax relief could give the security industry a substantial windfall of new business.

The bill seeks to add a paragraph “B” to a portion of the tax code, specifically, section 179. As written, for a business in the 38-percent tax bracket, this results in an actual cost of $14,880 for a $24,000 system.

The text of the bill can be read at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ query/z?c107:H.R.2970:. To support the bill, you can write to your congressmember at http://www.house.gov/writerep/.

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