Physical security information management
What value can PSIM software bring to your physical security management system?
PSIM (physical security information management) is when software is used to unite the disparate systems involved in a security setup. PSIM software is often integrated with systems that manage access control, CCTV, video monitoring, intruder detection, site facilities and more. Can it help you to create a centralised security system that functions smoothly though? Yes…and no.
To answer that question fully, let’s first look at how PSIM works and what it offers. A physical security information management system usually comes in the form of software only – the only hardware you need is a server to run it on. This server must be connected to the systems it’s collecting information from; usually via an IP network or sometimes via hardwired serial RS232 and RS485 connections.
Combine information from several security devices
PSIM software is typically used to collect information from different security devices and collate it in one single graphical user interface. This lets you manage and monitor alarms, events and workflows in a standardised way for each system. You can add items such as doors, cameras, alarm points, and other icons and macros, and your interface can then alert security managers via visual and audible notifications.
A security management platform to unify different locations
A physical security information management platform can also allow you to use different security systems at different locations. If you use many security systems across your estate, for example, it can be difficult to standardise them onto one single system. A PSIM platform can often be layered on top to provide uniformity and a single software for managing events and alarms from the disparate systems.
Can PSIM security management software centralise your security?
Let’s now go back to the question of whether or not PSIM software can help you to successfully create fully centralised security. As mentioned above, a PSIM platform can unite existing disparate systems to enable you to manage data, alarms and events in one single interface. In this way, it can help to centralise your security into one system.
What’s important to remember, though, is that PSIM software can’t connect to all types of security systems. So the systems it’s communicating with must be of a high quality. Also, what’s often not taken into consideration is the fact that these disparate systems don’t integrate or communicate without a PSIM.
Often, the biggest improvement for security management is getting your system right at a foundational level – rather than layering a fix, such as PSIM software, on top.
By that, we mean:
- Get the data input right
Use a single source of truth for people, visitors, contractors and vehicles. If this is managed by one system, you can improve efficiency, accuracy, security and the experience of accessing your locations.A good access control system like AEOS can automatically receive data imports and assign the correct authorisations for users. Not only does this reduce the time operators spend manually managing users’ card and profiles, it can also eliminate human error.
- Have a security strategy for gaining access
Many organisations have different types of areas for example, offices, warehouses, public spaces, IT rooms and high-security zones. Depending on the security setup, people may need to use different methods or credentials to gain access to them. That can result in people multiple types of credentials depending on the area. By having an access control system that can manage multiple verification methods in the same user profile can often streamline the process for issuing different credential types, including biometrics.
- Take a best-of-breed approach
If you choose the best access control system, the best CCTV system, the best intruder detection system, and so on, you should be well placed to create a centralised security ecosystem. If you follow this path, you may not even need PSIM software because the best-of-breed systems you’ve chosen are likely to be well integrated and scalable.Having a best-of-breed approach can allow you to have a multisite system with one single server, so you can manage all your systems centrally, from one location. Good access control and video management systems will have graphical mapping and alarm response functionality already, negating the need for PSIM software.
Open standards for effective integration
AEOS is an access control system based on open standards; it’s a best-of-breed system designed to integrate with a multitude of other best-of-breed systems. This includes platforms enabling video management, intruder detection, elevator control, the use of biometric and mobile credentials, PSIM and more. By getting it right from day one with AEOS, you can have a scalable, futureproof security system that allows you to go in the exact direction your organisation and its security demands.
We’ve partnered with several best-of-breed PSIM software manufactures. So, whether you’re a new or existing AEOS user, you have a great selection to choose from. And, thanks to Nedap’s commitment to creating the most open, scalable access control system, AEOS offers unrivalled functionality compared to other market leaders.
AEOS can, for example, communicate door events and alarms directly from AEOS door hardware to your PSIM software – even if your server’s unavailable. It can do this because AEOS door controllers are intelligent IP devices that can communicate with any other IP device.
Take time to get the day-one requirements right
What’s more fundamental, is that we work with you to identify the best solution for you and have the flexibility and range of options to suit most businesses. Even more importantly, we spend lots of time helping you to get your day-one requirements exactly right. This is critical. When this is done correctly, and your access control system is integrated with other best-of-breed systems such as PSIMs, we can provide you with the highest levels of security and functionality anywhere in the market.
What will the future bring for PSIM software in security management?
As global and multisite businesses aim to centralise their systems in one location, PSIM platforms will play a more important role in the market, so we expect their popularity to grow.
What must not be overlooked, as part of this, is the trend for access control manufacturers to create PSIM software of their own. This needs careful consideration, because the success of PSIM software depends on its ability to connect with other systems. Some of these in-house PSIM platforms don’t integrate well with third-party systems and so create a form of vendor lock-in.
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Frequently asked questions
At a very basic level, access control is a means of controlling who enters a location and when. The person entering may be an employee, a contractor or a visitor and they may be on foot, driving a vehicle or using another mode of transport. The location they’re entering may be, for example, a site, a building, a room or a cabinet. We tend to call it physical access control to differentiate it from access control that prevents people from entering virtual spaces – for example when logging into a computer network.
If you decide to use an access control system, it’s probably because you want to secure the physical access to your buildings or sites to protect your people, places and possessions. That’s just the start for access control systems though. The right system, used well, can add value in a range of ways. You can use it, and the data it generates, to boost not just security but productivity, creativity and performance.
Today, physical security is about so much more than locks and bolts. Many modern physical access control systems are IP-based, powered by smart software and able to process large quantities of data. This provides more functionality, flexibility, scalability and opportunities for integration. It also means they’re part of your IT network, so it’s essential they’re protected and upgraded – just like your other IT systems.
From our perspective, a centralised access control system is always preferable – whether you have just two locations in the same town or hundreds spread around the world. Centralising your access control brings a range of far-reaching benefits.
For the people using your building, biometrics can give a better experience compared to an access badge. These days, biometrics are used for both identification and verification – sometimes even both at the same time. Being allowed to enter your building just by scanning your hand or face makes access control more convenient than ever.
Mechanical keys are the simplest form of physical access control and the method many smaller organisations use. Even for a small company, however, using mechanical keys has several flaws and limitations – especially as an organisation gets bigger. Below are just some of the problems presented by using keys.