S2 teams with Easy Lobby, Imprivata

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

WELLESLEY, Mass.--S2 Security Corporation announced in September two new partnerships to integrate IT security and visitor management into its access control software package.
The integration of IT security comes through working with Imprivata, an authentication house that has developed a network appliance that allows physical access control systems and IT networks to communicate, essentially authenticating based on location (see "Special Report," on page 23, for more on IT-physical convergence in access control). Imprivata is located just down the road in Lexington, Mass., and "in Massachusetts, there's a pretty active technical community," said S2 Chief Executive Officer John Moss. "[The integration with Imprivata's device] started as more of a thought experiment. Their chief technical officer came out and we were sitting with a bunch of engineers, and he said, 'What if we tried this? How hard would it be?'"
It turned out to be a months-long process, but the two companies were architecturally compatible, S2 especially being dedicated to open standards in the physical security space. "We make an appliance that gets you a solution," said Moss of the company's flagship NetBox. "They make an appliance that gives you a different solution. So now we have these two devices sitting on the network, and it was just, 'How do we make this work?'"
Similarly, visitor management software maker EasyLobby is based close by in Needham, Mass., so, when Moss decided it would be better to partner with a visitor management manufacturer rather than create his own, he didn't have to go far to find what he considered the best of breed. The collaboration with EasyLobby will allow end users to quickly issue access cards to visitors and manage their visits, rather than simply record their names in a book somewhere.
"People are realizing more and more that using paper and pen to keep track of who's in their building is pretty much a useless exercise," said Howard Marson, chief executive officer at EasyLobby. "You can't read people's handwriting, or someone scribbles 'Mickey Mouse' in the guest book and nobody notices. Further, the information itself should be kept confidential, and every time you walk up to one of those paper guest logs, you shouldn't be able to discover, 'Was my competitor here? How long did they spend here?'"
In this case, the integration was much easier. "We had that thing up and running in just a couple of days," said Marson. "[The NetBox] is all the things that John talks about, it's completely open, the way they've designed their system."