When worlds collide

For those who have been preaching the merits of physical and digital security, congratulations. Your big day has arrived.

Two established security players from each side of the ring - open-source software giant Novell and electronic security systems manufacturer Honeywell - announced today they have teamed up to create a security platform designed to protect the digital and physical assets of an organization.

This provides some serious validation to the belief that convergence is happening...now.

According to a news release announcing the partnership, "The integration of the Novell product into Honeywell's SmartPlus Identity Management solution reduces cost and increases productivity by simplifying the complex process of manually assigning privileges and managing identity information across several systems."

The release goes on to say that the integration provides centralized management, resulting in "tighter security controls across all organizational systems" to protect both physical and intellectual property.

OK, that's all well and good and ease-of-use is an important component, but the release doesn't mention anything about the culture clashes that are about to result. Physical and digital security workers being forced to work together...sheesh, sounds like it might be worthy of a pay-per-view event.

Their skill sets are different, their salaries are different. Plain and simple, they just don't understand each other.

But if anyone's worried more than the other, it's the physical security workers. After all, it's 2007.

As Steve Hunt, founder of 4A International, told me at this year's RSA Conference, "The physical security side is scared because they can't even spell IP."

The key? Don't converge for the sake of converging, Hunt says. Streamline the approach and do it for efficiency and effectiveness. Moderate the integration. Get both sides talking and understanding each other.

It certainly will be interesting to see what happens. But judging from Honeywell's and Novell's announcement today, the wheels are already well in motion for a convergence across the verticals.

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