SECURITY BY DARLENE BREMER
“The potential now exists for analog
and manual systems to be replaced with
intelligent, integrated networked systems
that offer improved security and cost efficiencies,” said Ajay Jain, president and
CEO, Quantum Secure Inc., San Jose, Calif.
With the right PIAM software, open
architecture protocols can enable central
control of diverse security systems on a
single platform, providing higher levels of operational efficiency across the
enterprise and improved standardization
of policies and procedures.
What PIAM does
Security departments monitor different
types of physical identities, including
permanent and temporary employees,
short- and long-term contractors, vendors,
service providers, and visitors. However,
complications arise when there is no
central place to manage this data, and
information resides in multiple, disparate
systems or databases. This setup leads
to significant error-prone manual intervention, including duplicate identities,
unauthorized access and missing access
assignment audit trails. PIAM software
creates a single identity for each individual
across all the physical security systems.
“PIAM enables businesses to manage
the identities of people accessing controlled areas and better equips security
departments to centrally monitor, define
and manage identities and their physical
access, correlate identities with physical
security events, and provide real-time
compliance,” Frowert said.
“PIAM is a ready-made solution for
organizations looking to upgrade and
enhance their physical security strate-
gies, to remain compliant with mandated
regulatory requirements, or to integrate
and maintain alignment with security
policies during and after a corporate
consolidation,” Jain said.
Although PIAM automates key processes, simplifies identity and access
control, and ensures each identity only
has access to the correct areas, it does
not manage an organization’s access platform; it integrates with it.
In addition to aggregating access
information from various enterprise and
security systems, PIAM software encom-passes details (such as risk level, multiple
approvers and prerequisites for access)
and provides audit trails of all transactions.
“PIAM software is an holistic
approach to controlling access, and it
manages details, such as biographic and
biometric information, and streamlines
time-consuming and inefficient manual
processes, including issuing ID badges,
managing databases and assigning access
privileges across multiple access control
systems,” Jain said.
Role of mobile technology
The ability to control and manage identities from a mobile platform has become
an essential security tool for every organization of any type and size.
“These platform integrations are
game-changers because they enable security departments to better connect with
the customer, help improve organizational
and employee operations and productivity,
and enrich user satisfaction,” Jain said.
Tablet and smartphone apps that are
already on the market enable users to
review, approve and deny physical access
requests from inside a facility or remotely;
to track access-controlled areas; and to
manage infractions, citations and badge
issues. Apps can speed up the visitor-registration process by providing intuitive self-service interfaces to their hosts
on mobile devices and allowing visitors to
check in using a smart device.
According to Jain, PIAM solutions
that integrate identity management
and physical security provide electrical
contractors with opportunities for new
business development in integrated building systems beyond conventional video
surveillance or access control systems.
“The contractor should be familiar
enough with the solution to know what, if
any, infrastructure requirements will need
to be met for the software to be implemented and for it to be integrated with
other systems on the network,” he said.
If the contractor understands the features and functions of a PIAM software
solution, it will be better able to fit to the
“Understanding the needs of the
organization allows the contractor to
scale identity-management activities
and implementations based on a strategic
plan or business needs,” Jain said.
Any contractor considering PIAM
should start with a comprehensive
security-needs assessment of the building.
“The contractor can then work with
experienced security consultants or integrators, or bring in stakeholders from
across departments within the customer’s
organization, to begin the selection and
deployment process,” Frowert said.
PIAM software gains popularity
IT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY COMPLICATED TO MANAGE both the
physical and digital access security needs of corporate, institutional and government facilities. The rising incidence of insider threat reports within organizations
has led to the development of physical identity and access management (PIAM)
software solutions to help manage this complex, demanding market, according to
Matt Frowert, director of marketing for Tyco Integrated Security, Boca Raton, Fla.
BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL
CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 and firstname.lastname@example.org. TH