From the editor’s desk: Converging access control

Access & Identity Management Handbook 2019 News & Events

Welcome to the Access & Identity Management Handbook 2019. We’re publishing this in January as opposed to our traditional end-of-year publishing schedule to make sure you have some bed-time reading for the start of the year. If you have the physical magazine in your hands, you’ll be glad to know it was designed to operate during rolling blackouts (or ‘load shedding’ to be politically correct).

Last year was a tough one for most of the security industry in Africa, and the world for that matter, so let’s hope 2019 sees an about-turn in the budget restrictions we have become accustomed to, although Eskom seems hell-bent on making sure the South African economy hits the bottom and starts digging. This is, however, a good time to be in the candle business.

This year’s handbook contains articles covering a variety of topics, but there is one common thread among almost all of them, the way in which the IT industry is now a part of physical access control and will play a greater role going forward. Whether its access based on the IP protocol, cloud and hosted technologies, cyber security or the greater role of IT personnel in access control decisions, IT has moved in and traditional physical access control is very much a converged industry today.

That is not to say there is no future for the physical access control manufacturers, integrators and installers, far from it. The

society we live in requires securely controlled access from the home to business and even restricted government and national utility installations – not that anyone wants to steal any outdated Eskom equipment, but the concept remains. The difference is these systems need to be integrated and interoperate with the digital world, hence the need for IT skills. And I think the need for cyber security skills is a given in whatever industry you are in these days.

In one of our articles we cover a webinar HID Global broadcast in which it showed how IT departments are getting involved in physical access control decisions, even to the point of specifying equipment, so we are not merely hyping the convergence idea because it sounds trendy. We also cover the whole concept of the full convergence of physical and logical access, something most people see as a given for the future, but one which nobody seems to know exactly how to accomplish as your traditional physical security people are a different species from your traditional IT people. It’s been said they don’t actually speak the same language.

Nonetheless, convergence will happen as more security risks involve physical security products and installations as an easy way to get into the corporate network (not that IT departments have anything to boast about when it comes to security). Perhaps a new breed of converged access control specialists will emerge to change the industry for the better, or we can all rely on Eskom to ensure that cyber risks are nullified (because computers don’t work on candle power), but then we will still need physical access experts to control the flow of people.

Andrew Seldon



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