Security company list proposed

Several associations are joining forces to create a national index of Canadian technology companies working in the advanced security sector.

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) has pulled together the Canadian Alarm and Security Association (CANASA) and the Canadian Association of Information Technology Professionals (CIPS) to help create a database of Canadian security companies.

The index will deal exclusively with the application of information technologies in the security industry. The CATA Alliance is still working out the details of how the actual database will be made available, or what fees, if any, will be charged – it expects to have a preliminary report in September.

Montreal-based Huguette Guilhaumon, managing director of CATA Alliance Quebec, said the proposed database fills a void in the industry and creates knowledge management of the security resources available in the country. CATA Alliance wants to find out if there are advanced security companies in Canada, and how those companies are faring.

“We didn’t know how many companies were out there, if they were healthy, or where they sold their technology,” she said.

As the security requirements for both private companies and government agencies grow, especially after the terrorist attacks in the United States, security is becoming a priority for all companies, Guilhaumon explained.

“Security is not considered an expense anymore and it’s not even a competitive advantage; it has now become – in the last two years – a necessity to do business,” she said.

For Robert Garigue, vice-president and chief information security officer with BMO Financial Group in Toronto, having such a repository of companies and services in the advanced security industry is a valuable resource.

“When I look at end-to-end business today, a lot of it has to do with building in trust networks and building in trust mechanisms,” he said. “So, where do you go to find out who’s who?”

Generally, many companies do searches on the Internet and review literature to find out what technology or services are being offered, Garigue said.

“What happens in Canada is most people – especially medium-sized and small businesses – do not know where to go [for information],” he said.

This type of database gives Canadians a starting point when they go looking, he added.

“It’s not just for the people that are already there but it’s for all the organizations, private or governmental organizations, that are looking for somebody. Now they can find a community that’s been enumerated,” Garigue said.

That it provides an overview of only Canadian companies is another big factor for Garigue. By creating a Canadian footprint, companies around the world will have a useful resource for establishing a local connection.

The database will focus on 14 categories including biometrics, authentication and encryption. It will be based on security solutions that use information and communications technology to meet a range of security applications and customer needs. The project will also involve profiling each security company in an effort to understand the types of products being offered. Companies must be based in Canada.