AlertEnterprise airport project expands

TSA-sponsored pilot project spawns others, in other verticals too
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

NEW YORK—With an enviable private-sector customer list that includes the likes of Coca-Cola and Nike, software provider AlertEnterprise is expanding into the public sector with a focus on the airport vertical and critical infrastructure.

The company, which is based in Fremont, Calif., makes identity intelligence and enterprise access management software that works with existing IT systems, physical access systems, as well as regulatory compliance applications.

The software “eliminates silos across IT and physical security to show complex threats which are otherwise impossible to figure out,” CEO Jasvir Gill told Security Systems News during an interview here at ISC Solutions.

In addition to identifying what Gill calls “blended threats,” AlertEnterprise software “confirms compliance” with any applicable government regulation—CFATS or NERC, for example—as part of its identity and access control management functions.

In September, it completed a nine-month, $1 million pilot project for the TSA at the Portland, Ore., airport. The TSA has now contracted the company to install its software in six other “major airports.” And there are other airports in the pipeline, Gill said.

“Each [airport] opportunity, in my view, is worth $10 million to $15 million in potential revenue,” he said.

In Portland and at the other airports, the software—which includes “incident management capability [with] live surveillance video and geo-spatial mapping for complete situational awareness”—was chosen to protect against the TSA’s “number one issue that they are worried about—insider threat.”

The software keeps an eye on potentially threatening behavior such as baggage handlers in the baggage-handling area after hours, or workers in departments they don’t work in—finance department workers in the baggage area, for example. It also looks for anomalies like when parameters for access are changed. Still, the system must allow for some normal anomalies, Gill said. “It has to strike a balance between security and enabling people to do things they need to do to do their job.”

Within three weeks of installation at the Portland airport, the software successfully identified “an incident of insider threat.” It’s also acted as a deterrent to bad behavior, Gill said. “AlertEnterprise has become a third-eye at the airport.”

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which ensures that electrical utilities are in compliance with regulations, has taken note of the company’s success with the TSA, Gill said. NERC decided “rather than just fining utilities, it will help them get into compliance,” Gill explained. NERC is in the process of launching a pilot project with AlertEnterprise where it will monitor substations, he said.
 
AlertEnterprise was founded in 2007 by the same people who founded Virsa Systems, which was acquired by SAP in 2006. AlertEnterprise began selling software in 2009.