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BUILDING INTEGRATION

Posts Tagged ‘Building Security’

Considering insider threats

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.

Reducing risk at live sporting events

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.

Innovation, integration central to museum security update

I’m always on the lookout for great stories highlighting innovation and integration and this recent post from ASIS really caught my eye.

The story details the Detroit Institute of the Arts’ approach to updating their security system. Given our partnership with the Speed Museum in their renovation and our deep relationship with Axis the story was especially intriguing.

The DIA was long overdue for security overhaul when Eric Drewry, CPP, took them helm as director of security in 2015. Museum visitors can wreak havoc on exhibits both accidentally and intentionally. DIA  needed a solution that would protect the art collection while not disrupting the visitors’ experience.

A few key insights from the solution:

Keep your customer central. Designing a solution to keep valuable artwork safe could be very straightforward; lock it all up in a vault and it will never get damaged, lost or stolen. But keeping artwork safe isn’t the entire goal. Preserving art for the enjoyment and edification of the public is the goal, and it’s difficult to engage with artwork that is locked away or otherwise inaccessible.

DIA kept museum visitors central. The security system functions like a channel for dialog between museum staff and visitors. Staff uses the solution to gather data points about traffic patterns and issues to gain insights into visitor needs. For instance, staff observed that visitors were consistently getting too close to a particular object to peer at notes on the artist and work. They determined that more prominent signage was needed to help visitors engage with the work while keeping a safe distance.

Keep your context in mind. Like many public buildings – the Speed definitely comes to mind – the facility was historic and additions had been added throughout the years. We have significant understanding of how important innovation is in retrofitting systems in historic buildings. The infrastructure didn’t lend itself to cables and wires required for high tech equipment.

Fortunately, Axis’ camera line was a perfect fit. Axis modular cameras required only one cable for four cameras, and the cameras’ quality and coverage made it possible to cover an entire gallery with just four cameras and one cable. That saved a lot of risk and resources and helped gain efficiencies in cost and installation.

Need an innovative partner for your systems integration project? We can help. Call (800) 567-1180 to connect for a consultation.

Keeping Halloween safe at your facility

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.

Genetec Clearance camera registry helps fight crime through collaboration

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.

Shooter Detection Systems (SDS) launches wireless sensor

Shooter Detection Systems (SDS) announced early this week the pending release of a new wireless/battery-powered gunshot detection sensor that will reduce installation costs by 40 – 50 percent without compromising reliability or accuracy.

The new Guardian Wireless sensors have all the acoustic and infrared gunshot detection features of the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection Power over Ethernet (PoE) sensors, but operate on a lithium battery pack rather than wired power source. Guardian Wireless also utilizes secure long-range wireless technology to scan the environment for gunshots while filtering out false alerts.

Guardian Wireless’ backend software and integrations were left unchanged, making it possible to integrate both wired and wireless sensors in the same system. Partner technologies offered by Genetec, Everbridge, Avigilon, and other SDS partner technologies will also continue to work seamlessly.

The new sensors are currently undergoing internal and third party testing, and are anticipated to pass government certification and be ready for market in early 2020.

The news comes at a good time for many charged with enhancing facility safety and security. A deadly summer of mass shootings has left business leaders, lawmakers and the public clamoring for solutions; meanwhile, ever scarce resources are putting the squeeze on budgets. Guardian’s lower price, high quality wireless sensor option may help put system within reach as safety and security leaders plan 2020 budgets.

“We listened to the market and they’ve been asking for a reliable, zero-calibration system that meets the high-performance standards of the Guardian System,” said Christian Connors, SDS Chief Executive Officer in a company press release. “We began in 2018 by refining the core Guardian technology, redesigning hardware to incorporate battery power, then sourced a wireless technology well known for its reliability and security with IoT devices. Guardian Wireless will lower the overall customer cost by as much as 40-60 percent due to the reduction in infrastructure costs. Most importantly, customers can now choose a wireless system and be assured that they are using proven, reliable gunshot detection technology from a company they trust.”

Guardian indoor gunshot detection systems have been deployed in Fortune 500 companies, sports stadiums, government facilities, schools and a variety of educational institutions.

Interested in learning more about Guardian and other integrated safety and security solutions? Call us today at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

September is Campus Fire Safety Month

September is Campus Fire Safety month, and the National Fire Protection Association and The Center for Campus Fire Safety are teaming up to raise awareness about the threat of fire in both on campus and off campus housing.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/rgaudet17-8831873/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3410065">Renee Gaudet</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3410065">Pixabay</a>

They pulled together this excellent list of fire prevention and safety tips for dorm dwellers, but what about students who live off campus? Those students are unlikely to have the benefit of Resident Assistants and other program leaders to plan and execute fire drills and keep an eye on building safety features. We thought we’d adapt and expand the list a bit with those students in mind:

Make sure your living space includes a sufficient number of appropriately placed smoke detectors. Smoke detectors should be placed in each sleeping area, and also in living areas.

Test smoke detectors regularly, and never disable them. Change batteries on move in day, and once a year after that.

Place fire extinguishers in key areas, particularly the kitchen area. Make sure every occupant and regular guest knows where it is stored and how to use it.

Draw up an evacuation plan. Yes, that may sound a little over the top, but do it anyway. Post the evacuation plan on the back of every door, just like you see in hotels. Take time to practice escape routes with roommates and regular guests. Each room should have at least two ways you can exit in the event of an emergency.

Pay attention while cooking. Never leave the kitchen while there’s something on the stove or in the microwave. Reduce distractions from mobile devices, television or books.

Don’t overload the circuits. Resist the urge to plug in every device to every power strip you’ve ever owned. Make sure power strips will trip if overloaded.

Ditto candles and other combustible décor. Keep combustibles well away from drapes, pillows and other flammable objects.

Keep hallways and other areas clean and clear of extra furniture, clothes, mail, etc. Clutter can not only fuel flames, it can impede escape routes.

Want to know more about keeping your business safe from fires? Call (502) 567-1180 for a consultation.

Looking to the moon for innovation inspiration

Fifty years ago this month, Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Putting a man on the moon stands out as one of the most audacious acts of achievement ever attempted by humans. The moon landing was the pinnacle of a period of amazing innovation. America’s space program inspired generations to dream big, take risks and innovate new ways to solve problems.

But while the moon landing was a fantastic success, it was built on previous failures and challenges. Innovation happens when there’s a problem to be solved.

The successful mission of Apollo 11 was preceded by a nearly endless string of challenges, ranging from engineering problems to be solved to budget pressures to competition from the Soviet Union. The greatest failure of all was the loss of the entire Apollo 1 crew in a cabin fire during testing for that mission.

After that disastrous mission, the American space program could have folded. Leaders might have retreated, concluding that the goal was out of reach or too risky. But they instead persevered, deciding that “failure is not an option.”

Innovation is one of our greatest strengths at ECT Services. Here’s how we approach innovation:

  1. Keep the customer first. Customers trust us to help them solve problems because we’ve invested in building genuine relationships with them.

  2. Know the tools you have at your disposal. In an iconic scene from the movie Apollo 13, the mission control team on the ground scrambles to figure out a way to fix the air ventilation system on the space capsule when the ship becomes disabled tens of thousands of miles into space. One of the engineers dumps a seemingly random pile of objects onto a table before his team. The objects represent all the resources astronauts have aboard their disabled ship. The engineer sets forth the challenge: “We have to find a way to make this fit into the hole for this, using nothing but that.”

    The engineers set to work, and come up with an epic kludge that includes the cover off the flight manual. The contraption works, and the astronauts are saved.

    Innovation begins with the resources at hand. Our VR Tenant solution is a great example of innovation that started with a deep understanding of the equipment at hand and how it works.

  3. Stay focused on the goal. President John F. Kennedy set forth a clear, compelling goal: Get a man to the moon, and bring him back safely. The goals for our customers are different – achieve greater efficiency, keep this building secure – but they are just as important to our customers, and to us. It may not be landing on the moon, but it matters greatly to a child waiting at home that their parent returns safely from work each day. It matters greatly that we leave behind a cleaner planet because we helped maximize a facility’s energy efficiency. It matters greatly that works of art are preserved for posterity because we created a system that carefully controls their climate.

Need a strong partner to help you overcome a challenge and reach a goal? We can help. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

Is your coffee maker a security risk?

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.

Active Shooter Drills and Trauma

An active shooter drill for staff members at an elementary school in Indiana drew fire recently when it was revealed that teachers were shot with Airsoft guns as part of the training.

Members of local law enforcement who were conducting the training shot four teachers “execution style” in the course of the training. The shots raised welts and drew blood on some of the teachers.

The Indiana State Teachers’ Union decried the training tactics and called for changes, but the White County Sheriff’s Office defended the approach.

“The training was meant to be realistic — to show what happens if you don’t act,” Sheriff Bill Brooks said following the training.

But is there actually a knowledge gap for teachers? Do they not know what may happen if they fail to act in a real, live active shooter event? That’s doubtful, given ample evidence. Nearly every significant active mass shooting event at a school has included teachers and staff members rushing to protect children. Teachers fully understand the need to act, and act quickly.

Inflicting unnecessary trauma on teachers, staff and children during training events may actually be a greater risk to safety in the long term, and the learning environment in the short term.

A recent story that appeared on MarketWatch claims that no studies exist that demonstrate that more realistic active shooter training is more effective.

A segment produced on an episode of This American Life last year suggested that realistic active shooter drills may actually negatively impact preparation. Participants in drills were so traumatized that they forgot critical response steps, such as calling police.

Drills and actual active shooter events both reveal the same thing: trauma negatively impacts humans’ ability to consistently respond in a way that is both timely and effective. While drills and training are still important, they are not likely to overcome that.

Instead of putting all of the onus to respond on teachers, staff and students, a better approach may be to integrate systems that automatically detect and respond to gun shots, much like fire detection systems automatically detect and respond to the threat of fire.  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.

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