I engage in a variety of conversations in physical access that span manufacturers, integrators and end users in the physical access control space about systems that must live for the next decade or two. Traditionally, technology decisions had been made with a heavy influence from existing relationships, cost sensitivity, and feature sets from the perspective of those that will operate these systems. But for the end users conducting long-term strategic planning, that conversation is changing, and part of this new conversation surrounds physical access standards.
Physical Security Operations professionals now have to make decisions that serve the overall organization rather than a closed group. Their decisions are being driven by the need to offer more value and become more than just a cost corporate cost center. Physical access control systems need to reduce risk and cost, increase efficiency and add value. They also need to collect better intelligence and enable collaboration with other departments for improved incident response and remediation.
These requirements aren’t unique to physical access, as they reflect a common maturity cycle for organizations mandated to increase profitability. In turn these pressures place demands on vendors to design products that enable this goal.
The Legacy Challenge
Years of regional decision-making and acquisitions have led to a collection of disparate physical access control systems. The physical security industry has an uneven record when it comes to driving interoperability with the implementation of standards, which has resulted in silos of infrastructure. Traditional approaches to dealing with this have been limited – forcing organizations to “rip and replace” silos with yet another proprietary technology from a single vendor. But this isn’t sustainable. It requires end users to be highly dependent, if not “locked-in”, for the lifespan of the investment, a commitment that cultivates the same long—term dependencies, limits adoption of competing innovation, results in noncompetitive pricing and reduces pressure on the incumbent vendor to innovate and provide overall value.
IT has been working under the same set of drivers for more than a decade and the solutions available to them are much more advanced. The bottom line is that IT is far ahead of the physical access control side and pressure to align is catching up by taking a page from their playbook. This is why standards are the key ingredient.
What Standards Can Bring To The Table….
Discussed in the full article:
- The impact of standards in physical access
- How to measure specifications and standards for open-ness
- Current standards development in physical access
- Placing bets and making choices