March 25th, 2020

Here at ECT, like all companies, we are paying close attention to the CDC recommendations as well as the Governor of Kentucky’s rules and regulations as we continue to move through this pandemic.

Our business is still open, though we’ve made necessary updates to our workflow.

For employee safety, when we are interacting with our own team, we are giving space, staying 6 feet apart. 

For some of our customers, their everyday rules and regulations mandate we must have two people on any part of a job at any time, for safety and liability. We are following this rule and staying apart from each other as best we can.

Our team is using latex gloves on all projects, and, of course, is not shaking hands.

A lot of what we are doing right now is servicing buildings while they are closed. We follow all guidelines set forth by those buildings. We have several projects for JCPS we are working on now, while there are no people in the buildings and this will insure that when school reopens, all systems are “go.” We’re doing all scheduled service calls, checking systems and updating where necessary. Rest assured, we use disinfectant on all devices before and after touching them. Because we are dealing with biometrics in many cases (such as fingerprints) we are especially careful.

We view all of this as necessary work, and safer while there are no students or employees in these buildings. We want to keep our customers up and running. 

Most interaction with our customers has gone virtual and we are happy to meet via video chat with any facilities managers out there having issues. You want to be sure your HVAC and security systems are running as they should, protecting your building and company from all sides.

If you need sales or service, our people are remote and available. For more information:

For sales, please call (800) 567-1180 or email sales@ectservices.com

For service, please call (800) 567-1180 or email service@ectservices.com

Stay healthy, everyone!

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.

February 10th, 2020

As ECT Services continues to grow as a trusted building integration services partner nationally, we’re pleased to announce the appointment of John Arnold as our vice president of Security Operations.

The newly created role will continue to expand the reach of ECT Services capabilities across the country.

“One of the things the position represents is the growth in that division that ECT has experienced over the past few years,” says Jeff Murphy, president of ECT Services.

Arnold joined ECT Services in 2011 as an account manager focusing on commercial and industrial security integration design and sales. His areas of expertise include access control, IP video and intrusion detection and alerting.

He quickly progressed to project management, where he led security project planning, procurement, staffing and execution for dozens of projects annual that ranged in size from a few thousand dollars to more than a million dollars invested.

“He has demonstrated a consistent ability to build, develop and lead the Security Operations Team with excellence and grow the business through building valuable relationships with our customers and vendors,” adds Murphy.

Arnold’s skill is rooted in his deep experience in a variety of contexts across the security industry. Over the past 20 years, Arnold has built his expertise through roles leading security efforts for retailers as well as managing service operations and installations for vendors. As a result, more than 91 percent of the hundreds of projects he has led have been delivered on time and under budget.

Arnold’s path to leadership with ECT Services also enables him to understand the business and customer needs end to end – from sales through installation and service – and also opens up a path for others to advance and deepen their skills.

The “build from within” culture that ECT Services has fostered for more than 30 years means customers know they can rely on consistent team of experts to partner with them.

To learn more about how you can partner with ECT Services, call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

January 22nd, 2020

There’s never been an easier time to do it yourself.

Need to troubleshoot an error? Google will lead you to a customer care community where experts and customers share their knowledge and recommend a fix.

Need to see troubleshooting and repairs in action? There’s probably a YouTube video or three that will walk you through step by step. Many suppliers and service companies create and post videos, and customers do, too, so you can get a good look at official guidance and how things might look and feel in an actual installed situation.

Need to order a part? Amazon has just about everything you could possibly imagine, and if they don’t have the part, the manufacturer probably does.

Between communities and YouTube and Amazon, customers are empowered more than ever to solve their own problems when it comes to maintaining and repairing building systems.

But when should facility and property managers seek out professional services to keep their systems running smoothly?

  • When equipment is under warranty.
  • Servicing yourself or using third party parts could void warranties.
  • If equipment or systems are still under warranty, it might be best to call in a qualified service for support.

When systems are complex and integrated. Installers should provide you with detailed documentation that helps you understand exactly how systems are installed and integrated. But if you don’t have such a roadmap, or if the systems are complex beyond your comfort level, it may be best to call in a professional service for backup. Professional support doesn’t have to mean they take over the maintenance or repair; it may mean they answer questions and even provide you with training so you can service equipment or systems yourself. They best professional support empowers you.

When multiple parts or repairs are needed. Professionals can help you map your approach to tackling repairs and parts replacement. They can help you understand how parts work together, and how processes should be staged and order. They can also offer guidance on trustworthy, reliable manufacturers. What could be worse than putting in the resources and effort to make a repair, only to have a part fail?

Service and support are key parts of the value ECT Services brings to our customers. We believe in investing in our relationships with our customers and empowering them to drive decisions when it comes to maintaining their integrated systems.

Do you have a service need? Are you trying to figure out how to get the best out of your integrated building systems? Call us today for a consultation.

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.

January 8th, 2020

The sporting world is gearing up for the end of the NFL season and basketball season is in full swing, drawing lots of attention to huge sports venues.

With on-site crowds in the tens or hundreds of thousands and online and broadcast viewers in the millions, the opportunity for bad actors to capitalize on the attention is ripe. Even smaller scale local venues playing host to high school or college sports are at risk.

How are venues keeping fans safe? One tool in the tool box is the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System. 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.

SDS recently announced that one of their latest installations was in a Florida sports venue. The system will protect key threat areas throughout the stadium.

Guardian was developed in conjunction with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a major defense contractor, and is SAFETY Act Certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Approved for U.K. Government Use by the Centre for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure (CPNI), and SL4 Certified by the Australian Government’s Security Construction & Equipment Committee (SCEC). SDS serves customers in markets including K-12 and higher education, corporate, transportation, government, retail, entertainment, utility and manufacturing, and property management.

ECT Services has enjoyed a long partnership with SDS, and with our deep innovation and integration experience we are well equipped to help facilities fully leverage Guardian’s capabilities alongside other security and communication systems. In addition, we also offer a full range of security consulting services.

Interested in learning more? Inquire about our next live fire demonstration event or a consultation. Contact us here.

December 17th, 2019

This time of year can be really overwhelming. The hustle and bustle isn’t just limited to our personal lives. The end of year can be crazy busy in our work lives, too. There are budgets to finalize, invoices to issue, bills to pay, issues to troubleshoot, all as people are preparing to take time off for the holidays.

I don’t have any scientific studies to back me up, but I’m guessing not a lot of innovation happens in the final weeks of Q4 every year. That’s got me thinking about next year, and how I can plan now to lead my team to be even more innovative in 2020. Here are my thoughts:

Make time for thinking. It’s easy to fall into the mistaken notion that lots of activity means lots of productivity. Take a look at your calendar and to do lists – most of the time is probably blocked off for meetings, most of the items to be checked are probably tactical in nature. Where and how we invest our time is a reflection of what we value. When I look at my calendar, I’m not convinced I see the value of thinking reflected. It takes time to truly think and explore ideas and solutions.

Make time for building relationships. It’s also easy to slip into transactional relationships with our business networks. But there’s value in making time to share coffee, lunch or drinks with partners and discuss higher-level topics. Getting to know the bigger vision and driving passions of those we serve is key to finding opportunities to support and further that vision. Those dreams won’t always fit in bullet points or a slide deck, or even one conversation.

Make time for wellness. It might be a workout, a walk, or meditation, but wellness breaks are a great way of getting out of a rut and hitting “refresh” on a mental block. I find myself thinking about challenges in a whole new way if I step away and meaningfully disconnect for a time.

What would you add to be more innovative in 2020?

December 11th, 2019

Innovation seems inherently forward looking. When we innovate, we make something new happen.

But can looking back help drive innovation?

As the year draws to a close, now seems like a good time to pause and reflect. The past year offered a lot of good lessons if we choose to pay attention and learn them. It would be a shame to waste those lessons. These questions and thought starters will help spark some worthwhile reflections:

How did we perform against goals? If you haven’t been keeping score throughout the year, now is a good time to revisit goals set at the beginning of the year and see how you did. Be sure to assess sales goals, service targets, revenue targets and other performance metrics. What drove success? Where did you fall short, and why?

Take a look over time. Break down performance and achievements by month. Were some months better than others? Did one poor month drag down the rest of the year? It’s also helpful to revisit performance year over year. Are you spotting seasonal trends? How can you make the most of them?

Put it in context. Step back and look at the larger picture. Other useful contextual measures might include the overall economy. If your business is strongly impacted by the local economy, look at what was going on regionally. Did new events or business expansions give your own performance a lift? If so, look ahead for similar opportunities in the coming year. What lessons did you learn this year that will enhance lift even more next year when a similar opportunity emerges?

Do over. If you could go back and make just one decision differently this year, what would it be? Does that decision change future decisions or processes?

What sparked your interest this year? Take a look back at new products, tools, features or services that launched in the last year. Think beyond your industry. What was most exciting to you? Are there connections or applications for your work?

Who made an impact on you? As you look back over the last year, what new person brought the most value to your life, and why?