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11/30/2006
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The New Security Solutions

Emerging security technology has several admirable goals: proactive, integrated, inferential

These are some of tomorrow's security measures: Systems that integrate door locks and surveillance cameras with the logic and analytics of IT systems. Biometric devices that go beyond skin deep to verify identities. Network systems that infer the significance of pilfered data before the criminals do.

Fortunately, a lot of this work is going on today.

The trend that ties together these emerging technologies--the ones that will succeed, anyway--is their proactivity. As security threats evolve, systems and applications will have to know when they're under attack and be trusted to respond automatically, while at the same time keeping key IT and security personnel apprised.

Perhaps the greatest advance in security since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is linking physical and IT security technologies. One area where that trend is prominent is video surveillance.

Early next year, IBM will include its Smart Surveillance middleware as part of its Digital Video Surveillance services. Smart Surveillance, straight out of IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, integrates analytical capabilities into camera, radar, chemical-sensor, and audio surveillance systems so that they can detect suspicious activity and send up red flags when necessary. With Smart Surveillance, a truck parked in the wrong area of an airport, an airline passenger attempting to enter through an exit corridor, or a customer removing an item from a shelf and walking past the cashier line would all initiate pages, text messages, and other security alerts. IBM's middleware also has a searchable index that will be able to link related items such as license plates, car color, and the driver's facial image.

The ability to store digital video on a hard drive, rather than analog footage on tape, completely changed the market for recording and managing video surveillance, says Stephen Russell, CEO of 3VR Security, a maker of video management systems, which pegged the global market for those systems at $3.8 billion in 2005. For one, digital video includes a time stamp that makes it searchable in ways that analog video isn't. 3VR takes that idea further by making digital video searchable by information that can be analyzed, such as biometric data or images. This is done by tagging video images similar to the way Google tags Web pages.

Nanoident's sensors will let your fingers do the ID work

Nanoident's sensors will let your fingers do the ID work
The most recent version of 3VR's Intelligent Video Management System includes a software developers' kit that lets companies integrate the searchable surveillance system with other systems, including those that control access to facilities and networks through, for example, fingerprint scanners or facial-recognition systems. The 3VR technology has been integrated with transaction systems used in banking environments, access control systems commonly used in buildings, and sources of data such as federal law enforcement watch lists, Russell says.

Within three years, technology will be available to load the digital images of employees and expected visitors and then match those images with surveillance video of people walking through a company's front door. But first, facial-recognition software must get a lot better than its less than 30% accuracy rate, says Jeff Platon, VP of Cisco Security Solutions marketing.

This integration of surveillance systems with IT networks is significant. Historically, security has fallen into two camps: information security on one side and the physical walls, locks, and the guys with guns on the other. Their convergence has been hampered by the inability to connect the physical and logical worlds--that is, until networked digital video allowed the two to come together.

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Cisco is working to bring together network and physical security, having launched its Intelligent Converged Environment unit in April after acquiring SyPixx Networks, a maker of video surveillance software and hardware. In September, Cisco said it was working with lock vendor Assa Abloy to integrate Cisco's IP-based access control and identity management capabilities with Assa Abloy's "intelligent" badge readers and door-lock components. That integration would prevent someone who doesn't use an access badge at the front door, for example, from logging on to the company's local network.

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