At the ISC West Show this month, and at boutique shows like Secure World Expo, you will see many exciting, innovative technologies.  But none with as much potential to transform your security enterprise as those falling into the category of PSIM: Physical Security Information Management.

PSIM technologies make your business better and your security operations, too. We all are watching as the IT security field evolves. Let’s remember that IT access control is valuable and mitigated threats but not necessarily in a coordinated way. IT created a more sophisticated information security effort that includes aggregating, collecting and coordinating related data.

Fortunately, some vendors understand this and came out with technical answers.

PSIM has measurable value. I have spoken to many security directors and they tell me that the reason they cannot get approval for their original budget is that their supervisors see them as second-class executives. They might be thinking and talking about of bad things that could happen, instead of good business things that could happen. Think about value.

Emerging Vendors

PSIM can report on how many unauthorized access attempts to doors were reported but also relative to one another. That piece of technology can produce reports showing operational improvements, how fast security personnel responded to incidents and class levels.

Orsus and Proximex dominate the situation management tier of this new category. Proximex is a bit prettier and more intuitive to use, but faces such challenges as funding and ability to execute enough sales to stay afloat.

Orsus is more feature-rich and very well funded and already includes some impressive video management, incident escalation and audit and reporting capabilities. Orsus’ customer list is impressive, too, with major enterprise deployments already in place despite a late 2006 start of U.S. sales operations.

Quantum Secure is the far and away leader of policy management across disparate security systems. 

VidSys has new ideas about how to manage video.

Augusta Systems has useful tools for the do-it-yourselfer.

Sentry Port is a newcomer with lots of potential, especially with an artificial intelligence engine designed to find the nuggets of very useful security information by mining all data flowing through many systems and correlating it.

I’m generally not prepared to be surprised when I come to the largest IT security trade show.  Like its counterparts in physical security (ISC and ASIS), there is not much new from one year to the next.  But that’s kinda nice, too.  Like walking into a McDonalds anywhere in the world, RSA feels familiar each year.

Maybe this year I had more of an open mind.  Or maybe it’s because I started my tour of the show floor at the extreme end where the smallest booths and newest, most innovative companies set up shop. I’ve seen Trusted Network Technologies before.  This year they were giving away rubber chicken squeak toys.

I know these guys at Trusted Networks are on to something cool.  They use a network device to monitor, then learn, then control access to resources. It’s a good idea.  And I’m certain there is an application for physical security, not just network security.  But I haven’t put my finger on it.