PSIM Part 1 – What is PSIM?


PSIM is an abbreviation for the term Physical Security Information System.  So, what does it mean to manage physical security information, and why is this important to the future of security?

Traditionally we think of each security system as having its own, discrete function:

  • Alarm systems indicate the presence of an intruder when a sensor is activated.
  • CCTV systems transmit images from distant events to a control center.
  • Access control systems grant passage to restricted areas when a user presents a valid credential.  

But to understand PSIM, we need to look beyond the functions of each security system and examine what their data can provide. When we approach security systems in this manner, as data sources, we acquire the ability to manage the data they produce; to analyze it, aggregate it with other data sources, and ultimately, enable better decision making.

In this article, we will explore the concept of PSIM and how it is shaping the future of security system management. Part II of this series will provide examples of how PSIM will advance the operation of today’s security operations while contributing to their company’s bottom line.


PSIM is not a single technology, but rather a conceptual framework for the management and resolution of security events and situations. The basic components of the framework include: [1]

  • Collection and aggregation of data from security systems,  radio and phone communications, personnel records, weather services, social networks, and other sources
  • Analysis and correlation of data as it relates to an event or event records
  • Verification of event status using multiple sources
  • Resolution of events in accordance with company standard operating procedures and detailed instructions
  • Reporting of event and resolutions for routine job performance analysis, investigations and historic records
  • Audit trail to record event histories and the method of their resolution


The benefits to the organization include:

  • Better overall situational awareness, in and around their facility
  • Faster/ more precise response to security situations  
  • The ability of existing staff to manage multiple events, unfolding simultaneously
  • Accumulation of historical information for compliance, analysis, and policy planning
  • Increased overall efficiency and cost savings

The challenge for PSIM vendors has been to create hardware and software that will accept data from any source and present it to the user via a single, unified interface.

In practical terms, those responsible for event or situation management, never have to leave their position. The information presented to them is prioritized in real-time, allowing them to focus on the data they need to see at that moment. They also have the ability to broadcast this information to other parties who need to know or have a role to play in the event resolution. Once an incident has been resolved, all relevant data is then, with a single click, recorded in the event archive.

What we can expect from PSIM in the future

Vendors continue to expand the notion of what Physical Security Information Management Systems are. Their platforms can accommodate more diverse data sources. There is a deeper integration with IoT (Internet of Things), increasing the situational awareness of the system as a whole. PSIM is also becoming smarter. Once limited to straightforward analysis, some newer generation systems incorporate AI, deep learning, to capitalize on data related to past events, extracting the most successful strategies and incorporating them into an organization’s best practices.

With the seemingly endless progression of Moore’s Law, it is likely that the capability of these systems will continue to increase – as their cost will continue to drop, making them an integral component of security systems, large and small, in the near future.



[1] “PSIM Explained – IFSEC Global | Security And Fire News And Resources.” IFSEC Global | Security and Fire News and Resources. N.p., 2018. Web. 7 Sept. 2018.