It may be a cliché, but in today’s security industry, knowledge is power.

With the breakneck speeds at which technology evolves and the ever-increasing demands from end-users for sophisticated and state-of-the-art security systems, education is the lynchpin in every success or failure.

It is also the most important service PSA Security Network provides its members, who rely on us to deliver an education program that is second to none. Learning is a life-long process. The day one stops consuming knowledge is the day he or she ceases to grow intellectually, mentally and even financially. One driver for education: the current trend of convergence, which is bringing the IT and physical security worlds into one, rather large, entity.

There is no hiding from the fact that IP-based security systems are the wave of the future, and PSA recognizes that to keep up with the runaway train called IP, system integrators and enterprise security operations need to familiarize themselves with courses such as CompTIA Network+, Cisco CCNA and CWNA. PSA is offering these courses to enhance its security integrators’ knowledge on topics such as IT, networking and wireless technology, and how each one can actually be deployed via a security device or security system in the field.

Many of you are probably wondering why certification in networking and wireless technologies is so important. The industry is changing. No longer are the security decisions of the world left only to a facility’s security director. Today, security departments and IT departments are working together – or converging – to implement the best possible solution for their operations.

It is these IT specialists – now sitting across the table from you – who expect and demand that contractors, eventually hired to design and implement the security system set to be deployed in their facility, be familiar with terms like wireless mesh, Cisco routers, local area networks and switches, routers and hubs. Without hesitation, security integrators will be able to explain how, for example, the latest network video recorder, IP camera or IP access control reader may impact that company’s corporate bandwidth and communications infrastructure.

Although technology is setting a future course, systems integrators cannot afford to lose sight of the basic principles of business that drive their operation on a daily basis. That’s why PSA also offers education related to business development and general market trends.

Manufacturers and training

As the security world continues its integration with its IT counterpart, the need for proper training has become evident to manufacturers. Those offering enterprise and networked digital video and access control products looking to partner with integrators who are interested in a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship that, in the end, benefits the most important cog in the security machine: the end-user. One way to strengthen their bond with integrators is by offering certification programs that provide the requisite knowledge needed to properly implement respective products and technology. Certification also enables integrators to handle the inevitable technical support questions bound to be asked by end-users when initially learning how to operate their newly installed system.

In addition, we believe it is inevitable that future governmental regulations will require security systems integrators to possess industry certifications to install and maintain physical security systems. Organizations like National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) with its EST certification, NICET with its new video technician certifications and BICSI with its cabling and network certifications are all vying to make sure their respective certifications will be among the mandated standards.