The Convergence CatchesBy Lawrence Walsh | Posted 2008-11-23 Email Print
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The convergence of physical and logical security isn't a new idea, but it is largely untapped by solution providers. Groups like 1nService and PSA Security are bringing these largely segmented channels together for this $7 billion market opportunity.
First, physical and logical security is segregated inside most businesses. The people who control these respective functions often don’t fall in the same reporting structures, have different budgets, and have different operating requirements and priorities. This segmentation often means that it is much more difficult for the solution provider to make the case for an integrated system.
Second, the technology remains largely immature. Full convergence is not a practical reality, but rather a utopian goal. In most cases, a converged security system would put crossover technologies to use to improve employees’ ease of use with physical and logical assets, and improve control over systems. In some cases, convergence may just mean installing IP-enabled technologies, such as video over IP networks. In other words, set expectations—there’s no such thing as full convergence.
And finally, there’s little chance of convergence of the physical and logical technology channels. The domain expertise required for network and computer security is diametrically different from those for guns, guards and gates. The cost of building a converged practice—at least today—is simply prohibitive, which makes partnership the ideal market vector. However, how those partnerships should form and operate remains largely undefined.
Despite these concerns and obstacles, the members of 1nService and PSA Security remain largely bullish on the opportunities that come with security convergence. Perhaps they will blaze a trail into this emerging marketplace for the rest of these largely disconnected channels to follow.
Lawrence M. Walsh is vice president and group publisher of Channel Insider. Disclosure: Walsh was an uncompensated speaker at the 1nService conference.
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