Integration is the name of the game

May 2009 News

Welcome to the 2009 edition of the Access Control Handbook. Although it has been released somewhat later than is usual, this year’s handbook will offer an interesting selection of thoughts, technology and case studies.

The topic of this year’s handbook is integrated identity and access management. When we decided to focus on this area, we were not sure how far South African companies were going in integrating their security and business processes. Naturally there would be some leaders in the field, but were the majority still stuck with their proprietary, standalone solutions?

It is refreshing to see how many companies have started on the integration road. There is still a long way to go before we reach any ideal level of integration between the logical and physical worlds, but the trend is there. As you will see from the large selection of case studies we have, some companies are happy with integrating time and attendance with access control and leaving it at that, others have seen benefit in going further and hooking up their ERP software to allow centralised control over their employees identities and permissions.

It is a matter of value. As companies realise the value delivered from integration, we can expect them to take further steps, as long as budgets and vendors permit. Sadly, the proprietary nature of much of the security world makes it harder to integrate disparate products into a centralised solution.

Manufacturers of proprietary systems think they are forcing customers to stick to their brand, guaranteeing revenues for the long term. This was a solid business model in the past and still is if you are a large multinational corporation offering complete solutions, but for smaller players all you are doing is chasing your customers into the already well-greased hand of the multinationals. Future solutions are going to demand open standards that allow for integration with whatever best-of-breed systems the client requires. If you cannot provide everything, you may not be providing anything.

It is also rather refreshing to see that global corporations and cheaper Chinese products are not squeezing local manufactures out. The margin pressures are definitely there, but local quality seems to be holding its own and even beating the supposedly better international products.

As our first foray into integrated access control, we have put together a balanced publication that looks at where technology can take us in the future, but also focusing on what is happening in the real world right now. We hope you enjoy the opinions and trends as much as the case studies we have collected from a variety of companies and industries.

Comments and criticisms are welcome, as always, at andrew@technews.co.za.

Andrew Seldon

Editor


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