Companies are deploying the fingerprint scanner technology that can admit employees into the building and allow them to log onto their computer, said Bordes.

Most of the 20,000 expected attendees to the group’s upcoming annual show, who make enterprise security buying decisions, are evaluating new applications to protect both their physical and virtual assets. There's a growing convergence of network, physical and building security functions, Bordes said.

Enterprise spending on converged security projects in the U.S. and Europe is forecast to reach US$11.2 billion in 2008, from just $1.1 billion in 2005, according to Forrester Research Inc.

Management issues

Converged network and physical security is getting C-level management attention, too, said Michael Corcoran, president of the California University of Protection and Intelligence Management, which confers degrees in intelligence management and management of personal protection.

Some graduates become a company's chief security officer (CSO), guarding executives, protecting the building and, increasingly, also the computer network, Corcoran said.

“The CSO could be from the physical-security side or the network-security side. [Companies] want someone who is well-rounded in both areas,” he said.

The ASIS annual show opens 25 September in San Diego.