November 13th, 2019

The use cases for video in healthcare settings stretch far beyond the typical security applications, according to Ty Miller, business development manager for healthcare for Genetec, one of our partner vendors. Miller recently shared a number of innovative healthcare use cases for video on the Dell PowerChat podcast.

Video is powerful tool for enhancing the patient experience, says miller. Hospitals and other provider facilities are becoming increasingly focused on the patient experience and are recognizing patients as consumers. Just as retailers are using video to enhance the consumer experience, health care providers are now using video to enhance the patient experience. Here are a few of the ways video can be used to enhance the patient experience:

Detecting drug diversion. Drug diversion – the theft of drugs from facilities – cost health care payors and others an estimated $75 billion a year. Those costs eventually get passed on to the consumer in a variety of ways, including higher costs for services. Video can be used in concert with other security systems to control access and deter diversion.

Optimize safety. “Being able to limit wandering patients is one example of how we can optimize safety in [healthcare] environments,” said Miller. It’s not unusual for patients suffering from dementia or other issues to become confused and find their way out of facilities and into dangerous situations. Integrated access control and safety systems can use tags to detect patient location, confirm location with video and redirect patients back to safety quickly before they are at risk.

Fall risk reduction. Thermal cameras can detect if a patient has fallen or is about to fall without revealing their identity or compromising their dignity.

“Thermal imaging technology protects privacy,” says Miller, and doesn’t violate HIPAA, all while preventing further injury or summoning help quickly.

Offers context with integrated systems. Systems designed to prevent infants from being kidnapped from hospital maternity floors are sensitive and often produce false alarms. Video instantly offers contextualization that can help reduce false alarms by work seamlessly with other systems to verify identity at key access points, says Miller.

Hands-free access control. Video cameras can also offer facial recognition for workstation sign on and access control. In a facility where workers may be pushing carts or wheelchairs, carrying supplies or trying to limit the surfaces to reduce the spread of infections, hands-free sign on offers increased efficiency and safety.

Interested in exploring innovating new use cases to improve the customer experience? We’d be happy to chat.

October 17th, 2019

Halloween used to be a strictly neighborhood affair. On October 31, kids raced home after school, donned their costumes, then headed out with sacks in hand for trick or treating.

Today it’s blossomed into a community-wide affair. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, schools, churches and even businesses get in on the fun by hosting festivals or trunk or treat events.

These extracurricular activities are a great way opportunities for community and employee relations, but they do pose some safety risks. Here’s how to mitigate those risks and enjoy your event:

Bring safety to the table. While safety should be everyone’s job, at least one person on your planning team should be tasked with reviewing all plans. Responsibility should include identifying trip and fall hazards, cordoning off equipment and areas that are unsafe for non-employees, and traffic planning.

Get security involved early, too. The planning team should also include a leader tasked with security. Security might focus on how to prevent children or dependent adults and their adult guardians from getting separated from each other, how to handle disruptions and loss prevention.

Change perspective. If you event is planned for outside of your normal operating hours, and in particular for after dark, be sure to do a thorough walk-through in and around your facility at that time of the day. Traffic patterns change considerably throughout the day, and might look quite different during your event than they do during normal operating hours. The parking lot and facility look different, too. Scope out those differences by doing a thorough walk through in advance.

Include contingency plans and safety drills. Guests at your facility won’t know what to do in the event of sudden inclement weather, a fire, or some other emergency. Make sure staff and volunteers are fully prepared to respond. Staff and volunteers should know their responsibilities in an emergency and should be prepared to guide guests to safety.

Review security and access controls. Now is a good time to ensure that your facility’s video and access control systems are performing well. Cameras may need to be adjusted to accommodate different traffic patterns. Access control may need to be modified to lock down certain areas while opening up others. It’s a good time to review the flexibility and configurability of your system.

October 15th, 2019

Your business has been struck by a criminal. They were able to break in and make off with thousands of dollars worth of valuable equipment and inventory. Your cameras didn’t capture clear images of the perpetrator or their transportation, but there’s a good chance that better images might be available from other businesses along your street.

But it may take days before police are able to identify cameras, track down owners and get their permission to view footage.

Thanks to Genetec, there’s now a solution to that problem.

When it comes to preventing and solving crime, public and private entities now have a new collaborative tool at their fingertips.

Genetec announced today the release of a new camera registry module for its Genetec Clearance platform. Genetec Clearance is a digital evidence management system.

“The Genetec Clearance camera registry allows organizations to reduce the time to fulfill access requests and share video evidence between stakeholders operating across different systems, departments, and jurisdictions,” said Erick Ceresato, Genetec Product Manager in a company press release. “The technology allows organizations to maximize the use of their staffing and provides investigators faster access to evidence to help enhance their response, and focus on public safety within their communities.”

According to the release from Genetec, the new camera registry module simplified the video request process. The registry allows organization to share a registry of their cameras and allow authorized users to request captured video footage from relevant cameras to aid in investigations.

The registry replaces the routine legwork that is typically part of investigating. Rather than spending time hunting down cameras, identifying who owns or has authority over a camera, contacting the camera’s owner and requesting footage, the registry gives public safety agencies and private businesses or citizens a place to collaborate.

The system allows administrators to set up their own custom request forms and approval workflows. Once release of a video is approved, an encrypted version is released and tracked appropriately. The new camera registry module is a great example of innovation from one of our valued partners. For more innovative ideas, contact us for a consultation.

September 25th, 2019

The Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC), a division of Ohio’s Department of Homeland Security, “will assist local schools and law enforcement in preventing, preparing for, and responding to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a holistic, solutions-based approach to improving school safety” according to a story posted by securitymagazine.com.

Kentucky launched its own program by naming a school security marshal earlier this year.

The OSSC will review school emergency management plans and offer free risk and threat assessments for Ohio’s 5,500 schools using the following tools:

  • The SaferOH Tip Line. The SaferOH Tip Line, which accepts calls or texts to 844-SAFEROH (844-723-3764), offers schools staff, students and community members a free and confidential way to share tips and reports about activities that could represent threats to school safety. All tips are forwarded to local schools and law enforcement
  • Digital and social media monitoring. Intelligence analysts will actively monitor social and digital media for threats. Threats will be identified, analyzed and actioned upon appropriately.
  • Emergency management plan review. OSSC staff will review school emergency management plans and provide support as requested.
  • Threat assessment training. OSSC staff will provide policy guidance and training for schools that have a threat assessment team.
  • An enhanced website, saferschools.ohio.gov. The site includes resources on school safety from various state agencies, and will also include a database to communicate training opportunities, meetings, promotional materials, model policies and other resources.
  • An annual school safety summit where school safety, public safety, and mental health professionals can share best practices, training, and resources with schools and community leaders from across the state.

ECT Services has deep partnerships with schools and offers a full range of tools and services aimed at enhancing school safety and security, including access control, fire detection and suppression, video monitoring, automatic gunshot detection and more.

July 31st, 2019

Serious budget pressures are now threatening school safety.

In recent weeks, officials with the city of Louisville have announced that they may have to reduce the number of officers available to offer security services to schools, including school resource officers and crossing guards. The announcements have raised alarms among staff, students and parents who are concerned that the reductions and reallocations will place students at risk.

While short-term measures aimed at covering gaps have been put in place, long-term budget pressures remain. That means schools may need to get more creative when it comes to meeting safety and security needs.

The answer to some needs may be in leveraging technology, and at least one company is offering to help schools apply for grants to meet needs. Avigilon, a Motorola company, is offering grant research, grant alert notices and expert grant application reviews to schools applying for grants to enhance video security.

How can video enhance safety and security? Here are a few ideas:

Extend the reach of staff and school safety officers. Video enables staff and school safety officers to keep their eyes on all areas of school facilities and grounds and get help where it is needed most quickly and accurately. Monitors can quickly assess issues and offer the appropriate interventions if necessary.

Integrate with other systems. Video can be integrated with other systems for a more seamless, comprehensive approach. Integrations can include access control, public address systems/two-way communication, gunshot detection, fire detection and more.

Study traffic patterns and identify opportunities for improvement. Video can offer a birds-eye view – literally – of high-congestion indoor and outdoor areas that when coupled with artificial intelligence and other tools can help administrators gain insights into process and facility improvements.

Interested in learning more about how you might be able to leverage technology to enhance school safety and security? ECT Services has deep expertise and an innovative approach. Call us at 502-567-1180 for a free onsite consultation.

July 15th, 2019

In most offices – ours included – the coffee maker is standard operating equipment, and the biggest hazard it poses is running empty before the caffeine-dependent among us are fully awake.

But this recent post caught our attention and raised our awareness about the threat posed by IoT (internet of things) connected devices. The pros at Professional Security Magazine put their skills to work hacking a “smart” coffee machine.

A smart coffee machine may sound fairly innocuous, but it’s not. The risks of a compromised device stretch far beyond a subpar cup of morning joe. Compromised connected devices can open up networks and all devices associated with a network to all manner of risk.

In 2016, hackers were able to launch a DDoS attack that took down sites like Twitter, Spotify, Reddit and more by infiltrating and compromising networks through connected devices like DVRs, baby monitors and IP cameras.

Let’s go back to that coffee pot.

The white hat hackers at Professional Security Magazine were able to manipulate the coffee machine itself to do some fairly annoying and perhaps even dangerous things.

“We infiltrated the coffee maker via Wi-Fi, then set up malicious software updates that made the coffee maker do unexpected and potentially dangerous things. We made the burner overheat, potentially starting a fire. We made scalding water pour onto the burner. We even made the coffee maker send ransomware messages demanding payment,” they said in the post.

But the hacking had more serious and sinister implications. The compromised coffee machine was now a gateway to the network. Hackers would be able to see emails and payment information on purchases made online. They would be able get into security systems, see video cameras, and muck around in other sensitive places.

The proliferation and utility of IoT devices means they are here to stay. At ECT Services, we certainly believe in the power and potential of integrated systems.

So what can you do to safeguard your home and business? Here are a few tips:

Keep connections minimal. Only network and connect to the internet when necessary, and in those circumstances work to minimize exposure and secure connections. If a device needs internet access, understand how it needs to be accessed and take steps to protect remote access channels. One example would be to require use of VPN type services.

Don’t reuse passwords.  Especially on your network or wireless router. Remove or disable default accounts if possible and always change default account passwords using strong password standards. Use two factor authentication if a product or service allows.

Know what’s connected. Understand all the devices connected to your network, and why they must be connected. Keep an inventory and audit regularly.

At ECT Services, we approached smart devices very carefully and custom tailor solutions to meet your security needs. Contact us today at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation about your building security and integration.

June 19th, 2019

Kentucky has taken significant steps towards implementing some of the changes mandated in the school safety legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year.

This week, Ben Wilcox was named Kentucky school security marshal, a role created by the School Safety and Resiliency Act, which passed in March 2019. The legislation was crafted in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Marshall County in January 2018. Wilcox, who will be headquartered at Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Criminal Justice Training Center, will oversee the work of two compliance supervisors, 12 compliance officers and one program coordinator. The team will offer guidance and accountability to school districts across the state as they seek to comply with the law’s other mandates.

In addition to creating Wilcox’s and other roles, the act also urges schools to hire resource officers and work with local law enforcement agencies to develop safety policies and track violent incidents.

Districts are also encouraged to make upgrades to facilities to make them more secure. All schools must restrict access before July 1, 2022, and buildings and renovations/expansions must comply with new safety guidelines.

How can ECT Services help schools achieve compliance and improve safety and security for students, faculty, staff and families? Here are a few ways we are able to support these efforts:

Access control. ECT Services partners with HID, the worldwide leader in access control. HID solutions are robust and feature strong integration capabilities.

Automatic shot detection. The Guardian indoor shot detection system offered by Shooter Detection Services uses acoustic and infrared sensors – no bigger and no more obtrusive than smoke detectors — to automatically detect and instantly report shots fired. Guardian can integrate with systems to automatically lock doors the moment a shot is detected, limiting a shooter’s movement and/or keeping potential targets out of harm’s way. Guardian has been successfully integrated into security solutions in several school districts around the country.

Interested in learning more? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

April 16th, 2019

Security goes far beyond regulating who can enter and exit your facility.

As the world grow increasingly complex and more and more of our interactions take place online, controlling access to cyberspace has become at least as important as controlling physical space. Consumers are more aware than ever of privacy concerns, and regulators are enacting rules aimed at protecting their digital lives.

Organizations, particularly those in heavily regulated industries like finance and healthcare, have struggled to keep up. In most cases, they have cobbled together a patchwork of access systems that determine who can go where in both physical facilities and online networks. Those systems are often not integrated, which makes maintenance far from seamless.

HID is hoping its new cloud-based authentication service will help organizations take a big step forward in building and maintaining fully integrated, seamless identity and access management systems.

HID Authentication Service offers multi-factor authentication for users across the entire organization, from users who require only minimal access to those who must have access to the most sensitive areas and records. HID Authentication Services integrates with existing platforms seamlessly using APIs. Reports are centrally gathered, making auditing for compliance issues much simpler.

“HID Global continues its move toward cloud solutions with the addition of new IAM services, expanding the offering with a unifying technology platform for our millions of users,” Brad arvis, vice president and managing director of Identity & Access Management Solutions (IAMS) with HID Global, said in a company press release.  “HID is among the only IAM solution providers that can offer authentication for high security use cases all the way down to basic enterprise multifactor authentication. With this breadth of solutions, we believe that organizations in regulated markets, in particular, will gain the most significant benefits from the HID Authentication Service.”

Interested in reviewing your access and authentication requirements? Call ECT Services for a consultation.

March 11th, 2019

The hospital can be a dangerous place for healthcare professionals.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, approximately 24,000 working adults are the victims of workplace violence on average each year. Of those, an astounding 75 percent are healthcare workers.

Even worse, healthcare workers injured as a result of violence on the job are four times more likely than other types of workers to be seriously injured and require days away from work to recover.

The nature of healthcare work, particularly hospitals, elevates risk of violence. Nurses, aides, physicians and other staff are caring for people at their most vulnerable. The vast majority of assaults against take place at the hands of patients. Many are in physical pain and may be emotionally or psychologically unstable.

Direct patient care – the time when hospital staff are most vulnerable to attack – often takes place in private or semi-private areas, which could make it challenging to quickly summon help.

But thanks to HID Global, a recognized industry leader in trusted identity solutions, help may be as near as the ubiquitous staff ID badge. HID Global recently announced the launch of their new BEEKs™ Duress Badge Beacon. Staff members or clinicians can simply press the back of their badge to trigger a duress alert that identifies zeros in on their location wherever they are in the facility or grounds and summons security teams for help. The badges feature a Bluvision enabled BLE beacon that makes it possible to locate the wearer anywhere inside a configured area. The beacons are accurate within six feet of the wearer.

The technology is also suitable for other use cases where employees might be at elevated risk of assault, such as the hospitality industry, according to a press release by HID Global.

Interesting in learning more about how to enhance safety and security at your facility? Call ECT Services at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

February 20th, 2019

It might seem fundamental, but controlling access to doorways into and through your facility might just be the most important security decision you make. Doors are the primary way people and goods move through your building, and the ability to control when, where and how people move through doorways is key to security.

How have you chosen to secure the doors in and through your facility? Let’s review some basic tools:

Keycard access.

Physical keys. Humans have been securing doorways with rudimentary pins and locks since the technology first emerged in ancient Mesopotamia around 4,000 years ago. Physical keys are simple and reliable; you must have the correct key to fit into a correct lock to gain entry.

Some of the problems with keys are as old as the technology itself. Keys can be lost, leading to costly replacement of both locks and keys. Keys can also be duplicated fairly inexpensively, making it easy for access to quickly become uncontrolled.

Other problems are fairly new. Keys don’t enable any level of sophisticated tracking, which is a feature we’ve come to expect in the modern world. They don’t reveal exactly who operated the key, when they accessed the door, or when they left. They only allow a door to be locked and unlocked.

Even so, a traditional key and lock may be an adequate solution for doors which require some access control but don’t require a great deal of sophistication.

Keypads. Keypads work much the same as a physical lock and key, but rather than require a physical key to open the user must enter the correct code to gain entry. Codes can be shared among many users, making it simple to allow access to a number of people. Codes can also be changed regularly, maintaining some level of access control without the expense of changing locks and keys.

These same features can also be a drawback. Codes can be distributed too widely, allowing access to the wrong people. Changing codes can cause people who should have access to suddenly not have access.

Much as with traditional locks and keys, keypads don’t necessarily track who has entered and exited a doorway.

Even with the limitations noted, keypads may be an adequate solution for areas that don’t require a significant level of security but do require broad access.

Keycards. Keycards step up the sophistication considerably and solve a number of challenges posed by traditional and keypad locks. Users present a unique keycard before a reader at the door way. The reader scans the information encoded in the card and verifies whether or not the holder of the card should be allowed access.

Keycards tighten access considerably and are easily activated and deactivated without disruption to other keycard users. Keycard systems also enable sophisticated tracking, allowing managers to gain valuable insights into how people move through a facility.

Biometric access. Fingerprint scanning and facial recognition take security to an even higher level, and overcome some of the challenges posed by loss, theft or damage of other access control systems.

These options represent a broad range of solutions available to secure doorways. Options are available along every price point and need, and systems can be integrated and customized to fit your use case perfectly. Need help navigating your way through access control options? We have decades of experience and a expertise in the latest, most innovative products. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.