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What the heck is PSIM anyway?

What the heck is PSIM anyway?

The security industry loves its acronyms and one of the most talked about acronyms in recent years has been PSIM, Physical Security Information Management system (or software). I think Steve Hunt was given credit a few years ago, by SSN anyway, for coming up with that particular acronym.

Today, IMSResearch released a report about PSIMsoftware, in which they define the acronym and, further, forecast that "the world market for PSIMsoftware will be worth around $200 million" by 2014.

IMSanalyst Gary Wong said that the lack of an agreed-upon definition of PSIM has affected the growth of the PSIMmarket thus far. "The low awareness of what PSIM software is and its capabilities is a key limiting factor in the initial growth of the market," he's quoted as saying.

IMSResearch staff contacted major vendors to help them define PSIM, and they came up with seven criteria that they believe a software platform must meet in order to be considered a true PSIM.

Complete with some wacky British English spelling, here's the list from their press release:

1) Connectivity and Integration: A PSIM software platform must connect and manage multiple disparate security systems, examples include (but are not limited to) video surveillance, access control, intrusion, fire and life safety, perimeter protection, mass notification and building automation. The PSIM platform should be capable of integration with other business systems within a corporate IT-infrastructure such as ERP systems, data warehouses, provisioning systems, etc. The PSIM platform should be open, therefore hardware and vendor agnostic, and capable of connecting to any input sensors and external applications.

2) Real Time Policy / Configuration Management: A PSIM software platform must be able to define and change policies and parameters related to various connected devices in the underlying subsystems (such as access control, video, etc.).

3) Correlation and Verification: A PSIM software platform must be able to automatically connect and cross-reference multiple events from multiple disparate security systems in real-time and give the ability to flexibly set rules.

4) Visualisation: A PSIM software platform must be able to visualise the actual situation independently from active events. In case of an event, the PSIM platform must be able to graphically display situational information in a manner that provides responders with a picture of the nature of the event, the location and the scope of the threat it presents. It must be able to integrate real world information as a geo-spatial representation.

5) A Rules-based Workflow for Response: A PSIM software platform must be able to immediately offer a step-by-step action plan, based on pre-determined rules and policies, to respond, manage/counter the threat and control response operations. The rules based workflow should be sufficiently complex as to adapt to escalating situations.

6) Availability / Resilience: A PSIM software platform must have capability for redundant functionality (e.g. servers, communication gateways and databases) to support continuity of business and disaster recovery. This includes the ability to integrate backup systems to automate transfer of control room capabilities. It must be able to watch and monitor the functionality and integrity of the underlying subsystems and detect possible threats on the network.

7) Post-Event Reporting and Analysis: A PSIM software platform must provide an audit log that allows for post-event forensic review detailing the event situation and the action taken. It must be capable of developing customised reports that allow for analysis of multiple events in order to optimise policies and response.

IMS's Wong notes that products such as VMS and ACS software, which meet some, but not all, of the criteria above, are not considered to be PSIM for the purposes of the report. So, while IMS projects the PSIMmarket will be worth $200 million by 2014, "the combined global market for VMSand ACS will exceed $1 billion by 2014 ... It is important to note that IMS Research has measured the market in terms of PSIMsoftware license revenue; if services, maintenance, design and consulting revenues were added, it is conceivable that the market for PSIM software would exceed $1 billiion by 2014."

IMS Research said: "The foundation of the [PSIM] definition should be credited to Steven Titch and Sharon J. Watson of SecuritySquared magazine."

Here's a link to the press release.


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