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Situational Awareness

It could be argued that effective Security Management is largely about situational awareness.

There are many systems and products that have been developed to inform the security management team and enable real-time decisions to be taken with the intention of delivering the most appropriate response possible.

One of the main developments in this area in recent years has been Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) Systems. The key objective of a PSIM System is to enable security personnel to manage an enterprise's exposure to security risk.

The PSIM System provides the framework for the many disparate security systems and devices to integrate and adds an ability for intuitive prioritisation and escalation according to a range of predetermined criteria that might include chronology, location, priority and prevailing threat. The PSIM software will select the correct response procedure, which will conform to both the regulatory requirements and the procedural and operational needs of the enterprise.

After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on the 11th September 2001 it became apparent that emergency response systems needed to change. No longer could it be acceptable that critical information from numerous sources was left to system operators to interpret and act upon consistently and correctly. In the analysis that took place in the months and years following the attack, a belief emerged that security system management and the emergency response could be improved.

As PSIM solutions have developed, with the backdrop of interoperability and the willingness of system manufacturers to develop 'open' system architecture, the proliferation of the range of interconnected systems has grown exponentially. Whilst adding complexity, the additional reference information available at the initiation of an incident helps refine and improve the accuracy of the prescribed emergency response and adds other value-added functionality. This can include identity management, credential management, logical/physical integration and facilities management, in addition to improved analytics.

It's these types of features and services that will deliver improved return on investment opportunities and help heads of security develop not only their broader security measures, but also the integration of security with other mainstream business services.