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Networking market leader Cisco Systems announced a new partnership with Assa Abloy, a company specializing in physical security technologies, to help companies pull together their IT and operational defense systems.

Under the terms of the deal, Cisco will work to integrate its network authentication and IT security tools with Assa Abloy’s physical security products, which are used by organizations to grant access to corporate properties such as buildings, research facilities and server farms.

On Sept. 25, the two companies unveiled a system built through their work together at the ongoing ASIS security conference in San Diego.

Cisco and Assa Abloy, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden and has been in the physical security business for over 100 years, demonstrated a “networked door” that combines IP-based access-control technology from Cisco with Assa Abloy’s external locking and scanning components.

The companies also unveiled a variation of the design that integrates Cisco’s video surveillance technologies.

Dubbed by Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., as part of its ICE (Intelligent Converged Environment) vision, which seeks to pull many types of automated technologies under the control of the IT network, company executives said the effort hopes to push more customers to approach network and physical security from an integrated perspective.

Blending network defenses with tools such as door scanners will not only allow customers to better manage physical security technologies, and offer new applications for the systems, but also serve as a valuable source of information for existing IT-oriented safeguards, said Steve Collen, marketing director for Cisco’s Converged Business Unit.

“We believe that we can drive cooperation between IT teams and physical security teams, as we’re already seeing increased unification of those groups within enterprises under a single chief security officer,” said Collen.

“In the future, the IT team is going to be handling all of the infrastructure security—for networks, ID management and storage infrastructure—and at the same time ceding some of this responsibility back to IT will give physical security teams a chance to focus on other areas they need to concentrate on.”

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The partners claim that their combined networked door is an example of how they can integrate technologies to help simplify the installation and operation of badge readers and electromechanical locks, while at the same time creating opportunities for new integrated network and physical security applications.

For instance, if a worker has had their ID scanned into a specific facility and someone attempts to access their company’s IT network using their credentials at another location, the system would be able to recognize the threat to warn administrators and allocate resources appropriately.

The combined technologies can also help businesses address the issue of meeting regulators’ data access compliance verification requirements when their businesses are being audited, the companies said.

Assa Abbloy is also participating in Cisco’s newly-launched Physical Security Technology Developer Program, through which the networking company will seek to link its products to a wider array of more traditional security systems.

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