Physical Security at Microsoft: Driven by its Suite of Software

Physical Security at Microsoft: Driven by its Suite of Software

Brian Tuskan, Senior Director of Microsoft Global Security, examines how MNCs handle physical security at different geographical locations.

Question: With a business that spans hundreds of countries, how does Microsoft manage its physical security seamlessly and effectively?

As a corporation expands its geographical locations, physical security management becomes more complex as the security systems implemented are often different platforms, and integration is almost next to impossible.

Configuration, not Customization
Recognizing the limitations of such a system setup, Microsoft Global Security saw the need for a system that can sustain a growing corporation globally. Leveraging Microsoft off-the-shelf software products and partners, Global Security integrates its worldwide physical security infrastructure to create a cost-effective and efficient security solution that can be managed from virtually anywhere in the world.

“Microsoft Integrated Security Solutions is a solution that simply configures readily available applications — Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, InfoPath, Microsoft Office, Communicator, just to name a few, to your corporate enterprise requirements. Not highly technical, no heavy IT infrastructure required and no customization,”said Brian Tuskan, Senior Director of Microsoft Global Security.

Microsoft Integrated Security Solutions is a shift from cumbersome traditional physical security to one where the bandwidth for applications commonly used in business is now widened to manage global security mission control operations.

Virtual Management, Local Response
With 700 sites worldwide, about 186,000 active personnel access accounts, 11,000 access card readers, 10,000 video cameras connected to 850 IP-addressable DVRs and 330 fire panels, Microsoft Global Security manages its operations from three command centers, known as Global Security Operations Centers (GSOCs).

These GSOCs are strategically positioned worldwide — Redmond in the U.S., Thames Valley Park in the U.K. and Hyderabad, India. These sites also monitor more than 5,000 other devices. They include duress alarms, biometric security systems and environmental alarms.

Microsoft's GSOCs showcase best-practice use of Microsoft products in a real-world operational environment and highlight best-in-class partner products that are based on Microsoft technologies. These nerve centers leverage technology to enable relatively small staff to monitor and respond to issues quickly and with precision from nearby or from the other side of the globe.

Each GSOC monitors and responds to signal data and event notifications within its own region. The GSOCs also facilitate communications and dispatch on-site security in response to events. Below is an overview of some Microsoft applications used in the physical security solution.

● Geographic Mapping: Global Security uses geospatial mapping through Bing Maps to geographically display all 700 sites around the world and provide critical site-specific data. This helps the GSOC determine whether sites are within affected areas.

The GSOC uses click-through access to building maps with device overlays and relevant video feeds, which enables GSOC personnel to evaluate actual events when tracking and monitoring a high-priority incident.

● Critical Incident Reporting: Global Security uses InfoPath to track and report on critical incidents that directly affect Microsoft sites or personnel, providing a single source for up-to-date information.

● Internal Communications: Office Communicator's integrated instant messages, voice, video and online collaboration increases the speed with which critical information is communicated and ensures the interactions among GSOC personnel are accurate, self-documented and retrievable.

Interoperability
If any of the GSOCs is taken offline due to extenuating circumstances, such as power outage, monitoring loads can be transferred to another GSOC within minutes. The monitoring personnel can examine building maps and video on any of the cameras near the reported event.

While making an assessment using Microsoft Office SharePoint, personnel can send instant messages to local responders. This allows a local response to an event monitored from the other side of the town — or the other side of the globe.

Reduced Labor, Improved Security
As GSOC operations use technologies such as event-based monitoring and network cameras to remotely determine the appropriate response, labor requirement is reduced while the speed of response is increased.

The public sector and private security alike can improve their operations with the strategies that Microsoft Global Security has developed, without the need for a heavy IT infrastructure. Thus, Microsoft Integrated Security Solutions is a valuable tool for enterprises who seek to optimize management of multiple-site physical security operations and yet remain cost-effective.

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