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Do You Need More from Your Security Investment?


There’s an old saying, “Half a loaf is better than none.” While that might be true for bread, it’s not really true when it comes to security, is it? Rarely are we satisfied with just a little bit of information about a situation. Rather, as inquisitive human beings, we want to take in as much information as possible, especially when there’s a critical decision tied to it.

When dealing with a security incident, we want to be presented with as much detail as is available so we can take the proper action. If an alarm sounds, but we have no information on why it sounded, what choices can we make? Do we dispatch someone, only to find out later that it is a false alarm? Or do we wait until we have confirming data, and risk that something untoward happens — a theft, an attack or some other event? If, on the other hand, there is an alarm and we have video that immediately pops up to show us the scene that goes with it, it’s that much easier to react appropriately.

TSecurity Investment PSIMhe industry has a name for this operational benefit: situation awareness. Situation awareness involves providing operators with a complete picture of what is happening in the incident location so they can better understand threats, evaluate risks, and make better decisions. The advent of integrated systems has helped us improve situation awareness and brought us that other half of the information we are missing. Whether it’s a business looking at providing security for its employees and premises, or a consumer interested in a home security program, integration of alarms, access control, and video gives a more complete picture.

Integration not only allows us to react based on better information, but it speeds up the entire process. No longer are we waiting around for more data to come in; instead it is presented to us all at once. When an alarm sounds, we aren’t going to a secondary source to find the appropriate video that matches the time and location of the alarm — it’s all tied in together and presented in real time.

Having access to integrated information can be a cost saver as well. False alarms are a distraction and there can be costs with having an outside source, such as the police, respond to them. Or even if it’s only the internal security staff that has to check out each alarm, the cost of that response quickly adds up in the time wasted and resources squandered.

Today, more and more applications are being integrated to the benefit of security system users. Beyond the traditional video, access control, and intrusion alarm systems, we’re seeing the addition of video analytics, perimeter detection, tracking, and mass notification systems. Even systems that aren’t typically thought of as security related, such as building controls, are being tied in because of the important information that can be provided. For example, just think how timely it would be to be able to know and confirm that there was a water main break and a building was flooding.

While it seems great to know that all these systems can be integrated, there may be some concern about the cost and complexity. Wouldn’t hooking up all these systems and maintaining integrations be cost prohibitive?  And won’t people become overwhelmed by all this data coming from multiple systems? The good news is that technology, in the form of physical security information management systems (PSIM), has allowed for these different systems to be integrated onto a single platform. With PSIM solutions as few or as many systems can be brought together as needed. This means someone could start out by just tying together alarms and video, but then easily progress to the next levels of adding in video analytics or perimeter monitoring without having to undergo a lot of additional training.

With today’s integrated systems it is becoming easier to gather information and make the most informed decisions yet. And get the complete answer.


What questions do you have about PSIM? Please let me know in the comments section below.


Innovations in Campus Safety


When most people think of the word campus, many immediately picture some stately college site, with ivy-covered buildings sprawling across acres of land with neat, green lawns and tidy pathways.

Campus SafetyBut campus can also invoke visions of a sprawling hospital complex or major businesses with manufacturing and office buildings grouped along a busy highway, a huge corporate logo out front and workers hustling among the various structures or headed to expansive parking lots.

And residing in the background, especially if some recent event has put into our minds, is how best to secure these extensive properties, be they educational complexes or business ones.

Even in the tightly confined spaces of a single office, if there is an emergency, getting the word out can be challenging at best. Are people at their desks, in the bathroom, out to lunch — how can we locate and notify them?

Now magnify that by a hundred times or more when you factor in a campus-style setting with multiple buildings, classrooms or offices and parking structures. We have only to think back on recent tragedies, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, to see how challenging it can be to inform those in danger when an event occurs.

Recently the state of Connecticut allocated more than $20 million in grants for 75 school districts to make security improvements. Some of that money is being earmarked for mass notification systems. This is just one of many Government initiatives geared towards advancing safety of campuses.

Mass notification is one of the key components needed for ensuring security within a campus setting. Whether it is an active shooter on the property, a fire in one of the buildings, a tornado headed for the area or a toxic chemical spill nearby, mass notification can make a large, sprawling space instantly more manageable.

A simple push of a panic button in one building can send the message throughout the system that there is a threat nearby. The message can be sent through various measures depending on what is installed — a flashing strobe, a text message, an audible alarm or a combination thereof. Lockdown procedures can also be initiated without relying on individuals throughout the campus setting to put them into operation on a site-by-site basis.

Campuses can be idyllic places for study or work, but they can also be targets for both natural and manmade disasters. Learning what the threats are and how best to address them is critical, whether it is a school or industrial park, from criminal activity or natural disasters there are many variables to take into consideration.

If you are responsible for campus safety, you’ll want to hear about the latest in security technology and mass notification product trends. Register to watch this recorded webinar that covers a brief overview of recent incidents, U.S. Government initiatives geared towards advancing safety of campuses, as well as technology trends, features, and opportunities in implementation of mass notification and streamlining unauthorized access.

Webinar recording - Innovations in Campus Safety


What are your greatest security concerns in a campus setting? Please leave me a comment below.


Ready to initiate a lockdown? App-solutely


Nowadays, we take for granted the existence and use of mobile applications, viewing them as ways to make our lives easier and access to information quicker.

But in critical situations, the integration of specific apps into security and event management systems goes far beyond convenience and enters the realm of protecting — and maybe even saving — lives.

mobile lockdown applicationBy integrating a mobile lockdown application into an access control system, those who perceive a threat to a school, hospital or corporate office can initiate a call to action without being on site. This enables them to react quickly and effectively when time is of the essence.

Consider this example: A school teacher has left the building at lunchtime, but in checking his email finds a credible threat leveled against the school by a disgruntled student. In the past, the teacher had the option of calling authorities and waiting for them to get to the school, rushing back to the school to let others know about the issue himself, or contacting the principal or another teacher who is on site and relying on them to put a pre-determined plan into play.

But with the advent of a mobile application that is integrated into the security and event management system, the teacher, who is authorized to use the alert application, can now trigger a lockdown of the facility with the touch of a button on his/her  iPhone or iPad or Android phone. Additionally, commands such as “shelter in place” or “evacuate” can also be made, depending on the situation.

The mobile app, integrated with the security system, also becomes a valuable communications tool to everyone involved. Those on the scene can take pictures and use the app to send images to first responders; staff can send a mass notification to other teachers and even families to let them know what is happening; and staff on site can be located via GPS data through the app so responders know where individuals are within the building in real time.

The good news is that integrating such an application is easy to do from both the security system side and the enrollment and verification side. With minimal set up time, followed by the creation of specific protocols related to a lockdown or other event, the application can be in place.

From an individual K-12 school to a college campus to a sprawling medical facility or corporate site, being able to link together people, information, and security systems via a simple mobile lockdown application offers the opportunity for better protection in the midst of a breaking incident.


What do you feel are the most important aspects of a mobile lockdown application? Please leave me a comment below.


Balancing Security and Comfort


One of the physical security challenges for many customer-facing organizations is determining the balance between keeping the employees and assets safe, while not restricting or overwhelming their clientele. With the evolution of access control and surveillance systems, solutions are available to meet the needs of businesses both large and small, no matter how complicated or unique the requirements may be. But with so many options available today, it is easy to “get carried away,” installing too much security or products that don’t address a user’s specific needs.

Balancing Security and ComfortConducting an in-depth security assessment can help any organization determine an appropriate security plan, no matter the requirements. For a truly interactive, customer-facing facility like the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco’s downtown waterfront district, ensuring tight security in its urban location and allowing visitors to walk around the museum campus freely to experience the in-house-built exhibits are both priorities.

The non-profit museum’s nine-acre campus was looking for a way to secure ticketed and non-ticketed exhibits, its perimeter (which includes 1.5 acres of public outdoor space), as well as restroom entries and other restricted areas. Much like many organizations, Exploratorium wants its visitors to feel comfortable walking around the campus, but with many young children running around the facility, as well as its urban surroundings, a tight audit trail of any areas where incidents may occur is imperative.

In addition to perimeter security throughout the museum campus, Exploratorium wanted reliable and easy to use systems. With 400 full-time employees, as well as another 100 seasonal workers, interns and contractors, turnover can be high and the museum needed to simplify badge management and access.

To meet the museum’s needs, Software House’s C•CURE 9000 access control system, along with American Dynamics victor unified management system created a comprehensive, intuitive interface that handles access and surveillance seamlessly. Card readers and iSTAR control panels from Software House along with VideoEdge VMS and a mixture of cameras from American Dynamics also were installed for an integrated solution.

The solution has already allowed the museum to catch incidents of bicycle theft and keep its outdoor visiting exhibits safe from vandalism. So many organizations, whether urban or suburban, can benefit from a comprehensive security plan like Exploratorium’s, while retaining the feel of a welcoming, open environment for its customers.

Learn much more about Exploratorium’s project in the Industry Solutions Section of the Tyco Security Products website.


What do you consider when conducting an in-depth security assessment? Let me know in the comments section below.


Digging deep to secure South Africa’s mining industry


mining industrySouth Africa is a country rich in minerals and precious metals, with a vital mining industry aimed at taking gold, diamonds, platinum and other products such as copper, iron and coal out of the earth.

Mines are major employers, with thousands of individuals involved in a single operation, often working around the clock to extract the valuable content.

In considering the security and safety practices for the South African mining industry there are a myriad of factors to take into account. External threats such as organized crime or terrorism are ever present, but so too are internal security concerns, focused on the opportunistic theft of both mined product and equipment. On the safety side, mine operators need to be prepared in the event of a rockslide or mine collapse or some other natural or manmade disaster.

Working together, the mining industry and security providers are taking a holistic approach, examining each part of the operation and devising a security and safety plan that will encompass the various scenarios.

Often it starts at the perimeter of the mining operation, setting up fences and incorporating intrusion systems, video and video analytics so security personnel can monitor from a single point the activity at the furthest reaches of the facility.

Additionally, they can then deploy those same video systems on internal operations such as viewing product as it moves along conveyors for both security and process management purposes. Through analytics, someone monitoring the system will be alerted if there is a change from the norm, such as a piece of ore falling off or being removed from the moving belt. The video systems can also be used to monitor productivity and alert viewers to areas where processes can be improved.

Video and asset tracking are also being used to keep track of equipment. In mines dealing in lower-value ores, for instance, the theft of machinery and vehicles may be a bigger threat than theft of the product itself.

Time and attendance systems built into access control platforms can monitor the hundreds or thousands of people entering and exiting the mine. In the event of a disaster, that same system can be tapped to provide an accurate count of workers who may be trapped or missing.

Unique to the high-value mining industry, security is also incorporating random searches and even low-dose X-rays integrated with video and access control systems to periodically check for individuals who may try to smuggle valuable minerals and metals out as they exit. Some workers go so far as to swallow the ore, which is where the X-rays come in.

Another challenge for security is the very nature of the location of the mines. Some areas are threatened by rain and lightning; others are imperiled by dry, cold and dust; and yet other sites have the test of extreme high humidity. As a result, system components such as cameras and sensors need to be built to withstand these extremes of temperature and climate and the overall systems need back up capabilities and redundancy to weather power outages from storms.

Listening to and reacting to the specific needs of an industry, such as South Africa’s mining sector, is resulting in unified enterprise solutions that cover its many needs, from managing and protecting people to tracking equipment and to ensuring the security of valuable assets.


What other mining security concerns do you consider? Please leave me a comment below.


Unlocking the secrets of Wi-Fi locks


There’s a burgeoning market in the lock world, and its name is wireless.

With just 20 percent of doors currently covered in a typical access control deployment, there is plenty of room for growth, especially for wireless electronic locking solutions.

Wi-Fi LocksKey management is one of the top reasons for turning from conventional locks to wireless. Traditionally, when a worker is fired from a company, a student graduates from college and exits the dorm, or someone just misplaces their set of keys, this requires having to go to the actual door to change out the lock. With a wireless based solution, operators need only to disable the individual’s credential in the system, rather than re-keying the door.

Of course, not every door is appropriate for wireless locks. So how do you determine when wireless locking systems are a good fit for your situation?

Here are some dos — and don’ts — to consider when evaluating the use of Wi-Fi locks for a facility.

DO consider wireless locks for those areas where wired locks are difficult or too costly to install. Improvements in wireless technology and in the locking mechanisms themselves are enabling more end users to deploy wireless for many door access situations, from office doors and computer rooms to dorms and shared spaces like health clubs and boardrooms, as well as individual cabinets and drawers.

DO think about the advantages of wireless, such as its expandability, portability and accessibility in situations where running wire isn’t appropriate, such as an historic building.

DO review what kind of information your wireless lock will share with you. It’s not just about making it easier to add and remove door users, but you can also track access granted and access denied information, see the lock position and, in some more advanced cases, see the state of the door itself. And wireless locks will only continue to offer more information as the technology advances.

DON’T forget to test for signal strength. A wireless lock only makes sense if the signal is strong enough to support the technology. Not all wireless points are created equal, so be sure to review the specifications for the lock you want to install.

DON'T overlook the benefits AND the risks of an offline wireless locking system. Like online systems, there is no need to change out the locks. However, there is an added risk of delays in updates to an offline lock, which are typically performed through the presentation of credentials to the offline lock.

DON'T deploy wireless locks to critical and perimeter doors. Even though real-time technology is improving, critical access doors aren’t the right choice for wireless locks because of wireless limitations and reliability today. Wired locks are still the best choice in this situation, as they are ideal for areas where you need to go into lockdown mode or cannot afford a delay in response or a breach in network security.


What other pros or cons can you site on the use of Wi-Fi Locks? Please leave me a comment below.


A fresh perspective on security


Those of us who joined the security industry when it was primarily “guards, guns and gates” are quite familiar with our market’s age-old struggle (pun intended) to attract young people to its ranks. Over the last decade, though, the demographics of the industry have begun a slow shift as younger people, attracted by the new possibilities and reach of new technology and higher education, are beginning to view the industry in a whole new light.

This new generation of practitioners, however, has not totally eschewed guards, guns and gates. Instead, they have combined these more basic elements of security with new, sophisticated technology platforms and high-level organizational policies. Together, these form proactive, holistic security programs that, more often than not, provide benefits far surpassing the traditional expectations of many security departments.

security award winnersTo recognize the accomplishments of this group of “new recruits”, the security publication Security Director News has issued their annual “20 Under 40” Awards, the winners having been selected from more than 100 individual nominees. These award winners are seen as future leaders in the physical security industry; selected not only for their youth and experience but their savvy and understanding of new and emerging technologies.

Many of those selected by Security Director News have made significant contributions, not only to their respective organizations, but to the industry as a whole, by contributing their time and expertise on industry committees. Tyco Security Products is also a direct beneficiary of the vision and expertise of two of those esteemed winners – Ralph Nerette, manager, security services, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, and Kenneth Rasmussen, manager, security services, Waterbury Hospital, Conn. Both lend their time to serve on our Healthcare Advisory Council, a group of healthcare security managers/directors who rely on our Software House C•CURE security management platform, along with integrated video from our American Dynamics brand, as part of their security operations.

During his tenure at Dana-Farber, Nerette has transformed the DFCI security program from a paper-based department into one that leverages technology throughout — everything from visitor management, call center and dispatch operations to sharing of video footage to other departments within the organization.

Ken Rasmussen began his security career at age 18 as a security officer at Waterbury Hospital. He uses his “ground up” knowledge of the hospital to oversee the security of its many diverse settings — emergency room, Ronald McDonald House, child care center, inpatient and outpatient spaces, along with cafeteria,  parking, administration and other areas.

Congratulations to Ralph and Ken and all of the “SDN 20 Under 40 Award” winners!

Tyco Suzuki | 2013 Review - 2014 Preview


Tyco SuzukiWhat a thrilling year we’ve had in motorcycle racing here in Europe! As part of our ongoing title sponsorship of the Tyco Suzuki team, we’ve enjoyed some spectacular finishes and record setting races, while at the same time have bid farewell and good luck to some old friends.

But the 2014 season is nearly upon us, and we’re pleased to announce a new lineup of riders that no doubt will keep us on the edge of our seats in the British Championship and International Road Racing over the next year.

We couldn't be more proud of all our Tyco Suzuki team members, as well as our Tyco Security Products staff who devote their time supporting team activities throughout the long racing season. We’re excited to continue our relationship and support with the team into the 2014 season.

So for all the racing fans out there, we’re pleased to bring you an official team update with 2013 highlights and what to look forward to in the coming season.


Paul Lindsay

We can look back favorably at yet another successful season for the Tyco Suzuki team, both in British Championship and also on the International Road Racing scene.

We came up that little bit short in the British Superbike Championship, finishing in third place, but we certainly left an indelible mark on the series on the final weekend, when Josh Brookes posted a subliminal hat-trick – joining an exclusive ‘three in a day club’ – to increase his win tally for the season to five BSB top steps.

The Australian posted 15 podiums during the 2013 British Superbike campaign, which is a phenomenal achievement in what is regarded as the world’s premier national Superbike series.

PJ Jacobsen had a solid, albeit not spectacular, debut season in British Superbike. The American youngster missed out on the all-important top six, but did impress in the latter part of the year with a memorable podium in the Netherlands.

Since the last round at Brands in October, there has been, what looks like an almost revolutionary process within the Tyco Suzuki ranks, with the departure of both the aforementioned riders.

But every cloud has a silver lining and we were delighted to announce that former MotoGP star John Hopkins would be leading the Tyco Suzuki charge in British Superbike for 2014. The Californian needs little or no introduction to the wider two-wheel audience globally and will be a great asset to the team when the season gets underway next April.

His new team-mate will be affable Aussie Josh Waters. The 26-year-old double Australian Superbike champion got his first taste of the BSB series in 2013, but having returned to the Tyco Suzuki family – the great all rounder will undoubtedly be a top six contender in 2014 onboard the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike.

In the British Supersport class young Taylor Mackenzie did us proud in his first season aboard a GSX-R600. His tenth place in the series doesn’t really reflect his progress spike during the season. Where one should look to, is the final round at Brands where he actually led one of the races for a brief period.

We are delighted to have Taylor and the Mackenzie family back on-board next season as Taylor’s mannerly nature and desire to succeed mirrors that of the entire Tyco Suzuki team; and what his father Niall brings to ‘the party’ as a three-time British champion and Grand Prix regular – just could not be purchased with his mother Jan also set to be involved in the Tyco Suzuki hospitality set-up for a real family affair.

On the roads this season we have a lot to be proud of with Guy Martin winning the Solo Founders Superbike Championship at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man, with lap records and 600cc victories to boot. The enigmatic Lincolnshire man went on the take a hat trick at the season finale Ulster Grand Prix, and how can we forget Josh Brookes’ 127.726mph lap at the Isle of Man TT as a newcomer. 

Last November we signed the talented Ballymoney road racer William Dunlop for the 2014 season. The 28-year-old will ride alongside Lincolnshire’s Guy Martin in next season’s ‘Big Three’ International Road Races – The North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix.

We are currently busy as ever preparing GSX-R machinery for the 2014 season, but we would like to thank all our sponsors and supporters for sticking by us this year. Here’s to a great 2014 season!

Here's a look at some highlights BSB put together from the 2013 season. Enjoy!

PSIM tackles TMI


We talk about TMI (too much information) and oversharing in our personal lives, but can that ever be the case in the security world?

PSIM Physical Security Information ManagementWhile the goal of a successful security operation is to have continuous and complete situational awareness for the best response possible, the reality is that too much information from too many sources without some form of control can actually bog down the process.

Traditionally, security personnel have been conducting a juggling act as they take in information from disparate systems such as intrusion, access control, video, building management and the like, each with its own operating system. The information is vital to developing a cohesive security plan, yet it can be overwhelming to the operators in the control center as well as to those in the field who must react based on the collected data.

A solution to TMI can be found in another acronym: PSIM. Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) pulls together the data coming in from all the different security systems and, through a series of business rules and processes, allows operators to analyze, respond and then disseminate this information as needed.

So what makes for a successful PSIM solution? There are several key factors that should be the basis of every PSIM program, beginning with a library of supported, pre-packaged integrations that are easy to deploy and work with. These integrations allow users to receive data and control the system — closing and opening doors, for instance — while also monitoring the health of the overall system.

Another factor is integration with geographic information systems, including online maps, weather information and the like. Seeing maps, floor plans and related information provides better situational awareness.

Graphical interfaces are also important to a robust PSIM application. You want to be able to easily correlate information from various sensors in a graphic format and then test and set up the proper response through logical flows between blocks of operator activities.

A successful PSIM solution will also allow users to track subjects across multiple cameras in an intuitive real-time fashion, using feeds from various, related cameras as they move through a space without referring to maps.

Finally, the PSIM should be based on a flexible, scalable architecture that can be scaled vertically or horizontally based on the need of the end user.

With these key factors in place, the PSIM is now capable of handling the security needs of various clientele, from a major shipping port that needs to bring together multiple interfaces or an airport with hundreds of cameras and access control points.

To learn more about the elements of a successful PSIM solution, register to watch my recorded webinar, “What is PSIM and Why is it Important for my Organization?”

Webinar recording \u002D Importance of PSIM


Please leave any questions you have on PSIM in the comment section below.


Beyond the terminal | the wide reach of Airport Security


We’ve all stood in the long lines at airport security to have our bags, personal belongings and even ourselves scanned, and we’ve also witnessed the physical presence of security officers throughout the terminals and at the gates.

But airport security isn’t limited to the departure and arrivals terminals. Throughout the airport complex, which covers acres of land, there are maintenance facilities, private aircraft hangars, warehouses and airline office complexes that also require high levels of security.

Airport SecurityTake, for example, Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI), which is the maintenance arm for Saudi Arabian Airlines. At its location at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, SAEI maintains the entire fleet for the airline from its main base here, but also has administrative offices and aircraft hangars that require security oversight.

The security challenges presented by such facilities are myriad, beginning with monitoring staff. In choosing a security management system, SAEI sought one that included intelligent readers that can control access to highly secure areas without downtime as well as allow people to enter offices or warehouses. To this end, SAEI consulted their security installer, YAM Technologies LTD., and went with CEM’s AC2000 security management system and its S610f intelligent IP card readers that come with an LCD display, keypad and on-board database to offer intelligence at the door. Because the readers operate and store transactions offline, there is never any downtime, even if a power outage or system failure should occur.

Often, increased security checks are necessary, so the readers also have the capability of ID card authentication, PIN checks and, where necessary, fingerprint verification.

Another key component is the video and recording side of security. Here, companies such as SAEI look for high-definition cameras with powerful sensor-processor combinations to capture images throughout the maintenance facility, within offices and at the hangars. And the video needs to be easily accessed and managed in both live and recorded modes.

In putting together its system, SAEI chose American Dynamics Illustra IP cameras and VideoEdge network video recorders (NVRs). Supporting these components is the victor unified client, which can manage and control the video from multiple NVRs.

Much like the airports themselves, these facilities are at the frontline of passenger safety and anti-terrorism efforts and need to take a multi-layered, inclusive approach to a security installation. Learn more about this SAEI security project and aviation security in the industry solutions section of the Tyco Security Products website.

See some of the security technologies Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries entrusts in the Tyco Security Products stand at the 2014 Intersec show in Dubai Jan 19-21, 2014 > Stand SA-305C.


What aspects of Airport Security concern you the most? Please leave your concern below.


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