September 14th, 2020

Companies looking to up their security systems with exterior video surveillance may be doing a public service for safety and security of their neighbors.

Your building may be considering adding in video surveillance for simple issues:

  • Entry of employees or customers during business hours
  • Monitoring of trespassers during off-hours

Now that there are so many more companies installing this kind of equipment, when needed, law enforcement is able to use footage to solve cases… from break-ins on the same block to stolen cars from the street, and more. While this may not have been the impetus for the system, it is a responsibility we as business owners take on.

Things to consider when installing a video surveillance system:

  • Once your equipment is in, what kind of support do you have for it? You don’t want to install it and never monitor it. Determine whose role and responsibility it is to do so.
  • Do you (or the person responsible) know how to properly use the system, to check that it’s functioning properly, to be sure it’s recording and that it is properly backing up?
  • Do you have a plan for which alarms should be set up, and have you checked to be sure they are, indeed, functioning? Examples might be a package sitting in your front lobby for a period of time, a person entering a prohibited area and you can even have a system check to see if people are properly social distancing.

Remember there is a reason why you put that system in.

Be sure you have it functioning properly once installed, and that someone is responsible for it.

If your team needs help with any of these issues (even with securing someone to be responsible for the equipment and footage), we can help. Reach out via our contact page or give us a call at (800) 567-1180.

May 7th, 2020

At ECT, we think of ourselves as a solutions company. We have several areas in which we typically help our clients: 

  • Security (access control, intrusion prevention)
  • Video Surveillance
  • Temperature Controls
  • Systems Integration
  • Fire System Monitoring
  • Active Shooter Detection

With today’s ever-changing landscape and new safety measures being discussed at every crossroad, we find our customers need direction and advice on different solutions nearly every day. 

One issue making the rounds now is how best to check temperatures of employees and/or customers when business begins to resume to some level of normalcy. 

We’ve been working with companies on how best to research and implement these types of solutions, and we continue to do so every day. Here are some of the things we’ve learned along the way: 

Companies will need to determine the need, and how many persons they wish to ‘scan’ and at how many entries.  One challenge to consider will be who monitors the scan system and should it be determined as the only determinate or should it indicate a secondary screening? How far is the company willing to go and trust the system in place?

Other items to consider when comparing systems will be how quickly can they be delivered and installed, can they be scaled to keep all buildings on one system, and are they HIPAA-compliant. 

There are several companies bringing such systems to market. Our team of experts at ECT Services can help you navigate this road and determine the best solution for your specific needs. If we can support you as you prepare to reopen your business and help you navigate this new world, please let us know. 

We continue to adapt and implement new technologies and partner with our customers through this time.

For more information, please contact our team at (800) 567-1180. 

April 27th, 2020

During this time of businesses being closed and buildings mostly empty, our team has been hard at work.

We know when the workforce is allowed to return to their office and the world begins to get moving again, things will need to look quite a bit different. We anticipate in no way will doors fly open and office building lobbies will all-of-a-sudden be full of people again, waving their Starbucks in the air, high fiving each other on a great company party over the weekend or gathering for a bit of office gossip before heading up the elevator.

No, it will have to be different – much like the differences we saw with security post-9/11.

Companies are taking this into consideration now and are taking social distancing measures into account now so that when the government says everyone can go back to work, they can do it as safely as possible.

One of our customers is focused on monitoring building occupants and their movements in and out of the building to better allow for reporting a possible exposure. Working with their existing system and making a few additions we are able to make this a reality.

Another of our customers is focused on their turnstiles and how they can be used to affect change. We are currently working on upgrading some of those systems to allow for a break between people passing through the turnstile on their way in. In addition, we are upgrading these systems to no-touch card readers.

Another customer we are working with has decided to go with camera technology that will scan for temperature before allowing entry into the building.

Our goal is to work with each of our customers to implement a strategy that will make sure they have what they need to insure a safe re-entry into work when the time is right.

Stay safe, everyone. Please let us know if we can help your company reconsider future safety measures so that you, too, will be ready. You can reach us by clicking here.

April 21st, 2020

Working with clients throughout the past few weeks has been nothing short of interesting. Our customers have different levels of security, depending on the type of business they run. And these days, they’ve had to take a second look at their systems and procedures. We’ve been happy to work with them to find the best solutions.

One of our customers is in the logistics/fulfillment industry. We’ve worked with them for a long time on their temperature control system. Because their business typically runs 24 hours a day, they didn’t have an electronic security system in place. Rather, they had armed guards at the door keeping their employees safe as they enter and exit, and making sure only those who are permitted to enter the premises are, in fact, entering.

Now, because their company is not on the “essential” list, their employees are home, the building is empty. Rather than pay two armed guards to protect the building and, perhaps, not social distance from each other, the customer called and asked for our help.

Now they have an installed security system to be sure all products inside the building, and the building itself, are safe and secure while people are not in it.

Yes, this has led to some layoffs and furloughs for employees, and the company hopes to bring their team back on when the economy is moving again. In the meantime, their new system gives them peace of mind without keeping people on the payroll – in an effort to save their business.

We encourage you to continue to look at your business for areas where you impact security and protect your building and your customers from theft while less – or maybe no – people are coming to work everyday.

Reach out via our contact page and let us know how we can help you find the right solutions right now.

March 31st, 2020

With so many companies closed and employees not in the buildings, it’s important that systems are checked regularly.

When people are able to return to work, they will want to step right back in where they left things – and have all systems “go.”

This is especially important for your HVAC, temperature controls and security systems. With the weather changing rapidly and spring trying really hard to come alive, temperature control systems must be checked and serviced, even while people aren’t in the building.

Security systems are also critical right now. Empty buildings can be a temptation to anyone looking to snag a few free computer monitors or office supplies. So having your systems checked and running properly is critical right now. You want to be sure that the systems protect your building and that only those who should be going in to check things are the people going in. So much of this can be done remotely, and we are more than happy to help.

Our service personnel is available and ready. Click here to read how we are able to support our customers through this pandemic. Our emergency service line is running and “operators are standing by.” To schedule a service appointment, please click here.

March 4th, 2020

These days, it’s not at all unusual to have to confirm identify before accessing an account or completing a transaction online. It’s not enough to simply input the username and password; you also must verify a code you received via text on a trusted device.

Be sure about who is coming in and out of your building.

While this process known as two-factor authentication is encouraged as a best practice online, it’s rarely mentioned as a best practice for in person security. Gaining access to a facility is typically as simple as using a key or swiping a card.

But shouldn’t we at least consider two-factor authentication for facility security? I believe so.

It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where two-factor authentication would be helpful. For instance, imagine an employee loses their key card or – even worse – it’s stolen. If the thief acts quickly enough before the loss is detected, he or she can gain access to a facility simply by swiping the card and walking in the door.

Two-factor authentication would prevent that from happening. How? By requiring two of three verifications of identity. We verify identity in three key ways:

1. What you know (a pin code)

2. What you have (credential like a card key)

3. Who/what you are (a biometric indicator, such as a finger print, hand scan, face scan)

Imagine that the thief who stole the card attempted to gain access to your facility by swiping it and entering the door. Two-factor authentication would demand that they present either a pin code or biometric evidence in addition to the credential. A PIN code would be a strong second step, but even that can be stolen or even guessed. In addition, demanding a PIN code might slow traffic flow and make the process inefficient.

What’s harder to fake is biometric evidence. It’s a lot more difficult to steal someone’s face than it is to steal their key card.

What if video security cameras were integrated to enable facial recognition in addition to credentials? The result would be a powerful, efficient tool for maintaining facility integrity and keeping traffic flowing.

Interested in learning more about how you can integrate systems for greater security and efficiency? Call for a consultation today.

February 17th, 2020

The threat of novel coronavirus has been significant enough for Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to declare a public health emergency, but is the threat overhyped?

At least one expert is trying to put the issue into perspective.

Danny Kaine, head of Assistance at Traveller Assist, a security and medical assistance company, wrote in a recent post for Security Magazine “You shouldn’t discount or disregard the virus completely just because you don’t live in or travel to China, but don’t get overly stressed or anxious about it, either.”

While highly contagious, novel coronavirus isn’t as deadly as SARS or Ebola, which had much higher fatality rates. For that matter, the common flu has killed scores more this year.

Coronavirus is transmitted the same way as the common flu and other viruses, so the best prevention is frequent, thorough handwashing with soap and water; sneezing into tissues or an elbow; staying home when sick and avoiding people who are sick; and wiping down surfaces like countertops and doorhandles frequently with disinfectant.

Businesses should also be prepared with continuity plans in the event of widespread illness, whatever the cause may be. Some areas to address:

Extending work at home options. If staff can work remotely, it might be better to encourage them to work at home rather than come into the office. Be sure that server and security infrastructure is ready to handle the load, however. Lack of preparation could lead to enhanced security risks.

Continuity planning. Cross train deeply across staff, and document roles and processes well. Map out coverage plans in the event of widespread illness. Coverage gaps could expose risks in security infrastructure that bad actors are all too ready to exploit, so maintaining readiness is essential.

Identify back ups for your supply chain. Widespread illness and efforts to contain the spread of an outbreak could disrupt supply chains and lead to shortages. Be ready to source materials from new vendors if necessary.

Revisit proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

Need help reviewing and documenting your integrated building systems? Understanding your systems and having updates schematics is key to navigating potentially disruptive events. Call

February 12th, 2020

The waning months of 2019 brought news of a several attacks on churches and religious gatherings, including an attack on a Hanukkah gathering in New Jersey and an active shooter at a church in Texas.  

In the wake of these attacks and others, Congress has appropriated an increased amount of $90 million to fund grants for enhanced security programs and churches, synagogues, mosques and other nonprofit organizations. President Trump signed the bill into law at the end of January.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program expands access to funds that will enable nonprofit organizations to enhance their security systems using fencing, surveillance cameras, enhanced entry ways, windows, alarms and communications systems, staff and personnel training, and contract security guards.

Applying for a federal grant can be intimidating, but the Department of Homeland Security is hosting a series of free conference calls and webinars to help potential applicants understand more about the grants and the application process. To register, click the webinar title below:

February 20th, 2pm: Protecting Your Organization: The FY2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program and other Resources to Help Keep Your Facility Safe (No call-in, webinar audio only through the link).

February 26th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3914.

March 5th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3915.

March 12th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3916.

March 19th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3917.

March 26th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3918.

ECT Services also offers security training and complete security system enhancement and servicing, including access control, video and gunshot detection. For a free consultation to review your organization’s current security systems and look for opportunities to enhance your capabilities, call 800 567-1180.

January 15th, 2020

What’s the most important integration into every system that we service and/or install?

People.

Every single system must integrate with people in some way. Every integration point opens up a new opportunity for a threat.

This post from Security Magazine really raised my awareness about the nature of insider threats and approaches to mitigating risk. What is an insider threat? It is any act of theft, fraud, sabotage or violence instigated by someone inside an organization. The post outlines several types of insider threats and some tips on how to recognize each:

Unintentional insider threat. This threat isn’t caused by someone acting maliciously; this type of threat is tipped off by someone who is distracted or stressed. They forget or shortcut important steps. To guard against this type of threat, be aware of staff members who are careless with sensitive information, overshare on social media and consistently miss deadlines.

Intellectual property/sensitive data theft. Do you have an associate that “borrows” office materials for home use? Has gotten a poor performance review, missed a promotion or is about to be fired? They may be a risk to steal intellectual property or sensitive data for their own benefit on their way out the door. That sensitive information could end up being used against you by a competitor or other threat.

Insider fraud. Keep an eye out for associates who routinely live beyond their means or are suddenly facing unexpected expenses. They could be at risk of perpetrating insider fraud to benefit themselves and get out of a tight spot.

Sabotage. The office bully isn’t just bad for morale. Bullying is a red flag for sabotage. The saboteur wants to disrupt or even destroy work in an effort to assert their dominance or get revenge for a slight.

Workplace violence. I see the threat of workplace violence as a progression of sabotage. The perpetrator of workplace violence wants to go beyond damaging a piece of equipment or undermining a sale. They want to cause physical harm to those around them, perhaps in an outburst. They share characteristics with saboteurs, but may also threaten violence.

Each of the above threats can be detected and mitigated with team effort. We’d be happy to talk to you about how systems can be integrated to help you detect these threats and others. Give us a call at (800) 567-1180 to consult.

November 26th, 2019

This post from Campus Safety sparked my thinking about innovation. The premise of the post is that digital signage can and should be deployed for use in emergencies when notification is critical. I’m always intrigued by creative solutions that seem obvious once they are pointed out, and this example definitely qualifies as a slap-to-the-forehead, “why didn’t I think of that?!” moment.

The idea is potentially simple: post messaging on cloud-based, networked digital signs to communicate across school, hospital or other large campuses in the event of an emergency. Those menu boards in the cafeteria, the wayfinding displays in the lobby, the screens near the elevators, etc. can all be deployed to alert people to an imminent threat and direct them to safety.

The idea illustrates the power of innovation at work. Here’s how:

Innovation solves a problem. Text-based alerts have become the go-to for most organizations. But even as ubiquitous as smart phones have come to be, they are not the end-all, be-all for notifications in emergencies. They require users to opt-in for notifications, to have alerts turned on, and to pay attention when a message is received. How can we solve that problem? Looking at other communication channels – in this case digital signage – in a fresh new way is one solution.

Innovation doesn’t mean spontaneous and unplanned. On the contrary, innovation most often deploys considerable thought and planning. Utilizing digital signage in an emergency will require advance planning and documentation. You’ll need to have a thorough understanding of who owns the devices, how they are managed, access, permission levels and more. You’ll need to map out when and how they will be deployed in an emergency, and get signoff from stakeholders. All of this will require a thorough, thoughtful approach. Innovation doesn’t just “happen.”

Innovation pushes everyone outside of what they expect. People expect to get alerts on their phones. Our phones alert us about things all the time, from social media notifications to incoming email alerts and a thousand other things. After a while, it’s difficult to take those alerts seriously and they just become white noise. But if the digital menu I’m reading suddenly changes to warn me that there’s a tornado bearing down on campus and I need to take shelter in a nearby safe room, I’m likely to pay attention. I don’t expect to see that warning there, and the bright colors and motion graphics convey emotion and urgency I won’t necessarily get in a text.

Here at ECT Services, we pride ourselves on developing innovative approaches. Need a new solution that builds on current systems? Call us for a consultation today.