Integrated security system

An integrated security system (ISS) should, as indicated by its name, integrate security systems. In practice we come across different interpretations by different providers. It sounds nice to have and integrated system, but in reality only a few ISS have been implemented in practice.

By our interpretation, ISS is a customised solution that includes more than merely a consolidation of security systems into a single graphic interface. Because of the complexity of the solution and the difficulty with system definition and maintenance, which comes with responsibilities for the users, customers often prefer a single graphic interface to view the state of the connected security systems and their basic controls. This is just a single feature of ISS in its initial phase. If this is the final solution, it is better to call it a 'graphic extension'.

The customers often do not realise the possible advantages of an integrated system, such as simplification of the processes present in the organisation, e.g. automatisation of access rights allocation to new employees. During the process of its implementation, the ISS determines whether certain processes are insufficient or absent. ISS does not only handle the interconnection of physical and building security systems, such as CCTV systems, access control systems, fire detection and fire alarm systems, intruder alarm systems, safety detectors, etc., but it can also be set to respond to events and to aid the operator with crisis situations, as well as evaluate the quality of the response by the operator. Based on the organisational measures adopted, instructions for the operators, notifications to responsible persons, etc., are programmed for selected events. The system also offers an option of automatic escalation.

In a genuinely integrated system, guard tour patrol can be managed without the need of a specialied system, using the components of existing systems: for example, walking through a door as a part of a planned tour, motion detection by a camera, or scanning a card at a card reader. A control mechanism on a planned tour uses the existing components, which have to be activated in a logical sequence within a time plan. Such systems cannot be deceived by the operators, in contrast with simple guard tour patrol systems.

Considering that the ISS is a complex solution, it has to be open to further integrations not only with the customers' systems, but an option of integration with IT security and the human resources department has to be available as well. In practice, it is often the case that a notification to the security department about a termination of employment is delayed. In some organisations it does not take place at all due to missing internal regulations. It is hence quite common that a person who no longer works in an organisation for several months or more than a year still has access rights within the security system.

Since every customer has their own specificities as well as security requirements, every ISS is unique. However, in order for the system to work, it requires the active participation of the customer not only during the design phase, but also after the system has been handed over. Every organisation develops over time, and internal regulations and technologies change as well. Therefore, ISS has to adapt as well to meet the current requirements of the organisation.
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