With everything that is involved in managing a business – human resources, facilities maintenance, finance — it’s no wonder that small to medium sized organizations can get distracted with running their business and, as a result, have less time to spend actually growing it. To combat this, companies are finding creative ways to be able to concentrate on their core competencies and outsource non-core services such as payroll, IT services, as well as building security and access control.
It used to be that access control or other security processes had to be handled in-house – often requiring current employees to take on these important responsibilities as a part-time job. This sometimes resulted in continual training on the system, which in turn created maintenance inefficiencies and security breaches. When employees take on security as a part-time role, their primary job suffers and so does the access control system.
The advent of cloud based access control is allowing companies to refocus their time and energy back to their core business. Whether a company has a few doors and a couple hundred people to manage or it needs coverage for thousands of people and entry points, the scalability of cloud based access control makes it easy for businesses to meet their ever-changing access needs.
Outsourcing security also reduces capital and operating expenses by eliminating the need to hire and train specialized staff and commit dedicated resources, such as PCs, software, OS updates and IT involvement. By migrating to a cloud based access control system, companies can return some of the funds that would have paid for infrastructure or IT involvement to their core business. The total annual cost of a cloud based access control system is less than that of a traditional access control system.
Managed services can also offer businesses an à la carte choice of security services tailored to the unique needs of the enterprise, where organizations can choose how much of the access control system functions they would like to retain inhouse — such as creating a photo ID card — or what functions are better outsourced. The rise of mobile and web-delivered applications also allows security managers on the go to easily control many of these common security functions. In a managed service environment, business can not only choose their own level of involvement in their system but can also choose when, where and how they can use the system with mobile and browser based system interfaces.
Managed services is the sum of all that’s good: cost savings, improved security, an unparalleled experience and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your security solution is being professionally managed.
Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think about Managed Services: The Future of Access Control.
Communication is at the heart of any successful business and that goes for systems as well as people.
It’s so much easier to run an operation when we have access to critical information on an ongoing basis. Who hasn’t been frustrated by trying to back track to get data after an event, especially when trying to retrieve information on something that adversely impacts operations, such as a theft or a system failure?
Think about a data center. Something goes wrong with a server and it’s your job to determine who was been involved. The room may have an access control system that shows who has entered and exited the room, but the individual server racks are locked with an ordinary key given to anyone with access to the room. Or, worse case scenario, there are no locks on the racks at all.
Instead, there is a logbook nearby with a note instructing anyone who accesses the servers needs to write down their name, date and time. But that simple task can be easily overlooked or ignored. So when the problem occurred, the only recourse was to look at the access data for the room itself and back track, hoping that you could determine from that who you need to contact and interview.
But what if your locks could do the “talking”? Advances in door controller technology now enable businesses to include wireless locks as part of the access system. Wireless locks on server racks or similar ones placed on drug cabinets can provide the detailed information that the written logs or door access can’t guarantee.
Healthcare operations, under the requirements of HIPAA regulations, need to have an audit trail telling them who is accessing drug carts or cabinets, or even medical files. Using a wireless lock linked to a door controller that captures access data will provide that critical information.
The use of wireless locks tied into the access system provides users with a higher level of security as well as a means to track and record data that may be needed when a situation occurs.
Additionally, this information isn’t just available to someone at the site where the servers are located, or limited to IT personnel working in the hospital. Instead, access to this data can be gained remotely, so the head of IT at the corporate data center can see who has unlocked a server at their facility across the country. And the person overseeing security for a group of hospitals can determine who is opening a drug cabinet even if they are in a different building or city. Further, any wireless lock can be tied to a specific video camera, such that an alarm on the wireless lock will cause that camera to pop up at a guard’s station to alert the operator and provide a live feed of the situation.
Wireless locks and how they interface with the overall security system has become an important line of defense and source of information for many enterprises.
How are you leveraging your wireless lock technology data at your company or with your clients?
Learn more about our available wireless lock solutions.
As summer winds down, we begin thinking of cozy days indoors, apple cider, sitting by a fire or of the upcoming holidays. For those of us in the physical security market, we also begin thinking
about the autumn trade shows on the horizon. Trade shows give us a chance to check out new technologies, share our own new products, to see old friends and make new ones. This year’s ASIS International’s 60th Annual Seminar and Exhibition is no exception. As one of the biggest and most widely attended events within the industry, this year’s gathering promises to bring together the best and brightest in physical security.
With more than 20,000 attendees from 80 different countries and 600 exhibitors expected at this year’s ASIS International, there will indeed be a lot to see and do. Hosted this year in Atlanta, Georgia, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, the seminar and exhibition will be held in the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), in downtown Atlanta. The GWCC is a 3.9 million square foot convention center and is part of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which ranks among the top five largest convention destinations in the country as well as one of the best sports and entertainment campuses in the world. So bring your walking shoes!
Speaking of Atlanta, a big thank you to our friends at the Cherokee County School District for participating in a recent case study for Tyco Security Products. CCSD is located in metro Atlanta and is comprised of 57 schools and preschool centers, with approximately 40,000 students and 4,500 staff — a small city itself. We are honored that the district chose TSP as a partner in helping them update the school district’s security systems.
The keynote speakers for ASIS 2014 are Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) and former U.S. Secretary of Defense, with Jon Huntsman, Jr., the 16th governor of Utah (2005-2009) —presentations certain to draw crowds at the conference. Prominent themes predicted for this year’s show include sabotage, internal theft, monitoring communications, the mandates of the Affordable Care Act and how to hire top security professionals. Trends to anticipate seeing in the more than 200 educational sessions include cyber fraud, security metrics, drones and aviation security.
Tyco Security Products will be showcasing a new slate of innovative technology innovations at
ASIS. And we have a lot to showcase. Making its debut at ASIS 2014 is CEM Systems, with emerald, the industry's most multifunctional intelligent touch screen terminal. This intelligent edge device has already received top honors in the ASIS Accolades contest, with the 2014 Security’s Best Award. Also on tap, on the video side, is the E-Series encoder and the latest release of the exacqVision 6.4 VMS from Exacq Technologies, along with the VideoEdge Micro from American Dynamics. You can see a full list of what’s on display at ASIS 2014 from Tyco Security Products.
With the opportunity to get to know our customers better, to see what is new in the industry, and to garner feedback on how we are doing, each ASIS International proves rewarding.
We hope to see you there this year at booth 710.
Or if you’re unable to visit us this year at ASIS, please feel free to speak with us using the comments section below.
The era in which we’re living could one day be called the Visual Age. Screens and monitors are integrated into virtually every facet of everyday life. Video surveillance keeps us safe at the airport and shopping mall. Our smartphone tells us how to get places, how healthy we are, and how to stay in touch with each other via social media. Each device contains a dizzying array of features, each promising to connect us in new and ingenious ways, and in high resolution, making the possibilities potentially overwhelming.
The same holds true when researching and choosing a video management system (VMS) software. Whether you’re a seasoned integrator or a director of security or even a small business owner, the features available in a VMS can be hard to prioritize. What will I be using the software for primarily? Will I be able to give individual users different levels of access to the system? What type of searching and exporting capabilities will I need? How technology-savvy will my staff need to be in order to use the system to its full potential?
To help narrow the field of choices, we’ve provided below four VMS software features to look for when considering a VMS. All VMS software platforms have features that make them unique. These are the priority features that all end users, regardless of industry, should look for when purchasing a solution:
- First, choose a VMS that is fast and capable of easy searching and video management. While monitoring live video is important, most end users utilize VMS software for investigations and finding video evidence. Most of us don’t have time to waste watching video for hours to find a specific segment. There are several different ways to search on most VMS interfaces, including thumbnail and timeline search. Bookmarking and case management functionality lets users permanently save, label and manage important segments of video, audio and data for later reference. Additionally, all bookmarks are retained and protected against deletion. A VMS should have an intuitive interface to quickly find desired video and export the clip to CD or DVD or save it to provide to law enforcement as evidence. The easier and faster the search interface is, the more time it saves.
- Look for systems with centralized administration and configuration. A centralized user interface that allows users to seamlessly administer user privileges, notifications, cameras, storage and more across all servers on the system is essential. Simple and complex video management tasks should all be available from a single screen, making it easier on the end user to navigate and access needed information. Video archiving and extended storage for an entire VMS network should be accessible from the same user interface.
- A VMS’ ability to build a cross-platform, integrated security system is the third essential feature to consider when evaluating a VMS. Many customers have an existing infrastructure, including already established camera vendors or access control systems. A good VMS will integrate with any number of these systems from multiple manufacturers to provide a best-of-breed solution. From access control to point-of-sale analytics, the VMS client should offer users options for a complete surveillance solution of their choice. Intelligence features such as smart search, license plate detection, line cross and more should be possible in the VMS software. The more integrations available through a VMS provider, the more flexibility the end users have to maximize their systems to their specific needs. The VMS software should also be available on multiple operating systems and devices so that end users can easily access live and recorded video.
- And let’s not forget the power of the edge device. A smart video management system will employ the power already available in various edge devices, such as IP cameras, to perform functions like motion detection and video analytics, while sharing the resulting information via an already established network connection. This reduces the need for expensive server hardware and frees up the server’s processing power for other vital uses. Some VMS software can even be directly installed on certain IP cameras, eliminating the need for a separate server. This is ideal for remote locations that need to be connected to a larger, enterprise video security network.
When looking for a VMS system, keep these key features at the top of your list: fast, easy search and video management, centralized administration and configuration, open-platform integrations and powerful edge-based functionality. Who knows? Maybe choosing a VMS with these essentials in mind will prove easier than picking out your next new cell phone.
What other considerations have helped you choose a VMS Software? Please leave me a comment below.
Many hospitals include multiple campuses with hundreds or thousands of doors, employees, and patients to protect. The sheer size of these hospital systems creates a challenge for security executives. Acquisitions, internal growth, and out-of-date equipment complicate matters for facilities when it comes time to upgrade or completely overhaul their existing security.
A single, integrated platform for multiple system management, including security is on the top of many security professionals’ wish lists. Today, there are powerful solutions that can integrate disparate systems with a user experience that is easier to navigate than ever before.
Memorial Hermann Health System needed to centralize security across all of its locations for consistent database management and tighter security procedures. This network of 13 hospitals located in and around Houston has 5,500 affiliated physicians and 21,000 employees. The hospital system covers more than 20 million square feet of space and encompasses 1,762 doors, 1,600 cameras, and 30,000 cardholders.
Like many organizations with an expansive footprint, Memorial Hermann’s security infrastructure included dozens of offline cameras, inconsistencies in database management, unused hardware components, and a security culture as disparate as the independently operating access control systems.
Security executives decided they needed to upgrade to one Software House C•CURE 9000 security and event management platform for the entire hospital system. One of the important hurdles to clear was buy-in from all of the organization’s business units involved – something that many organizations can relate to. Part of the agreement that Memorial Hermann’s security executives made to achieve buy-in for the upgrade was to utilize existing network infrastructure for fault tolerance and resiliency, as well as budgetary restrictions.
With a plan in place, the entire security team - integrator Tech Systems Inc. and Memorial Hermann’s IT and security staff, including Corporate Security Director Geoffrey Povinelli, a member of the Software House Healthcare Advisory Council - migrated the hospital to the new security management platform with all sites centrally managed at the headquarters location. The platform integrates with the hospital system’s Hugs infant-protection product, six different video surveillance technologies, and five audio/intercom products.
More and more organizations around the world are finding answers to their management and physical security questions by centralizing security, along with other sub-systems, for one or more locations. Not only is the technology to do that readily available, but it can help an organization streamline processes, as well as save time and money not just in terms of staff, but in terms of duplicating processes and responding to events faster and more efficiently.
Learn more about Memorial Hermann Health System’s road to a centralized security system.
What concerns do you have about multi-site centralized security migration? Let me know in the comments section below.
Wireless intrusion systems are sometimes shied away from as ideal commercial solutions due to the perception of them being complicated systems that require time-consuming installs, with potential for strong interference and increased on-site maintenance. However, there is wireless intrusion technology that has turned the security industry on its head in numerous parts of the world and is finally gaining momentum in North America.
There are several industry innovations that set PowerG wireless technology apart from other wireless possibilities. One of those distinctions is frequency hopping. Here’s how it works: the intrusion device, such as a motion detector, hops around channels within the specified frequency at a constant pace to find the clearest channel. It takes a large frequency band, such as the 912-918 Mhz band, and divides that into 50 channels, translating into less interference and increased robustness of communication. Frequency hopping enables for coverage of larger areas with fewer repeaters, extended ranges, stronger communication, and better signals.
Adaptive best path transmission power means that the intelligent intrusion devices continuously find easy, strong routes of communication to the panel. That means that PowerG’s high transmission ranges offer reliable communication within / up to 2km / 2187 yards line-of-sight and that systems can reliably send images and audio clips wirelessly.
Constantly hopping frequencies to find the best signal makes devices more efficient and cuts down on interference caused by other equipment or machinery. It also increases security, making it nearly impossible for listening devices to hack into a system. Coupled with 128-bit encryption, one of the most secure web-based encryption standards in place today, provides the highest level of protection against analysis tools and digital attacks.
PowerG technology employs the same, proven frequency technology that is used by Bluetooth and is part of 4G, the fourth generation of mobile telecommunications technology used in mobile devices today. Thanks to this approach, data interception is extremely difficult to achieve.
Another benefit of this technology is two-way synchronous TDMA communication. Two-way devices allow for back and forth communication – ensuring alarm signals aren’t missed and reducing information collisions. TDMA communication allows each device to talk and understand each other without talking at the same time--particularly useful for applications with a significant number of devices. Ordered time slots for each device minimizes collisions between signals and allow for more devices in an application. Full two-way communication also allows devices to receive orders back from a panel.
In addition, because of the efficiency of adaptive path technology and frequency hopping, the battery savings with such technology is significant. The intelligent intrusion devices find the easiest and closest way to speak with the panel therefore battery power isn’t wasted on inefficient paths of communication or signals that go nowhere. This way battery life ranges increase from five to eight years, depending on the device.
With significantly improved security and reliability, less interference and battery savings, wireless intrusion systems with PowerG technology make going wireless an ideal solution for a wide range of applications. Learn how PowerG is used in PowerSeries Neo from DSC.
Thinking about installing Wireless Intrusion security? Here are Four Things to Remember When Installing Wireless Intrusion.
What else would you like to know about PowerG Wireless Technology? Please leave me a comment below.
Is your legacy analog video security system reaching the end of its life? Some companies have been hesitant to make the leap to IP-based video, while other companies continue to look for the most cost-effective solutions to utilize existing infrastructures and maximize their surveillance investment while also adding new IP cameras. Meanwhile, the benefits of switching analog cameras and aging DVR systems to IP-based surveillance systems and network video recorders (NVRs) continue to grow.
Leverage Existing Infrastructure and Add IP Technology
Video surveillance technology is rapidly improving. Hybrid NVRs allow users to connect existing analog cameras and encoders as well as the latest IP cameras to the same server. This approach maximizes a company’s initial security investment while providing the flexibility to upgrade over time. As a result, end users can add IP cameras to their system in order to reap the benefits of high definition resolution, panoramic video, camera-based video analytics, and more.
So What Makes IP Video Better?
View a short video showing why IP video:
IP-based video provides radical improvements over analog video. IP video is transferred over a computer network cable instead of a coaxial cable, which provides options for more flexible and higher resolution video. IP video improvements include video resolution, event analytics, and situational awareness
- Larger, flexible viewing areas - Standard definition analog cameras have a maximum resolution of 704 pixels wide by 576 pixels tall—or .4 megapixels of resolution. Most IP cameras are between 1-5 megapixels, and some are up to 20 megapixels. In many cases, one IP camera can cover the same area as four or more analog cameras. Flexible resolutions are available to optimize the viewing area of the user’s environment. IP cameras can define their own aspect ratios to meet specific needs.
- Panoramic video – There are many IP cameras on the market today that use multiple lenses and imagers to create 180 to 360 degree fields of view. Other cameras utilize panoramic or “fisheye” lenses to achieve these parameters on a single lens. A good VMS will allow you to bring this powerful video into your server with a single stream and to even zoom in and move around within the image for greater detail.
- Improved camera analytics – Many IP cameras make use of video analytics that are built into the software or firmware utilized by the camera. These “smart” cameras can detect when a person or object crosses a line, detect objects left behind or removed from a field of view and more. These events are sent from the camera to the server so the user can be quickly notified. This approach does not require as much processing power from the server while freeing it up for other video management system tasks
- Manage video from anywhere – IP-based video gives users the opportunity to easily view live and recorded video from any location through a PC, web browser, or mobile device.
How to Configure Your System with Analog and IP
If you need to know what server best suits your needs based on the cameras your company has in place or want to add to your system, an online configuration tool can help you calculate the approximate storage and bandwidth necessary for a security system. Users can simply enter the number of analog and IP cameras, the number of streams, compression, desired video resolutions, and other features to find the best NVR that fits their needs.
If you’ve thought about making the switch to incorporate IP video in your security system, watch this informative recorded webinar to learn the dramatic benefits IP video can have on your business.
What are your greatest concerns regarding the migration from Analog to IP Video? Please leave me a comment below.
Visitors to this year’s edition of IFSEC may very well have found themselves at London’s Heathrow, one of world’s busiest airports. Heathrow serves more than 190,000 arriving and departing passengers every day, who come via 184 different destinations from 80 countries.
Considered a small city within a city, the airport employs more than 76,000 people, all of whom need to pass through various levels of security to get to and perform their jobs.
Even before employees come into contact with the airport’s many visitors, they need to pass through behind-the-scenes restricted areas that are manned by security staff. Processing so many people requires the airport to look for new ways in which to step up operational efficiency while still meeting the stringent, and ever-changing security considerations.
Recently, Heathrow began deploying CEM System’s emerald multi-functional touch screen terminals in the airport’s ID centre, as well as around Heathrow’s Campus, where cargo, staff, and crew are processed before gaining access to the airport proper — an area where the highest level of security is required. CEM has had a relationship with Heathrow for more than 20 years and currently secures the airport’s five terminals with a combination of its AC2000 product line and software modules.
emerald, which is a touch screen reader and a controller combined, provides real-time information at the edge on such items as access card status, scheduled visitors, systems alarms, and even information more directly related to time and attendance functions, such as first and last swipes for a card.
With employment changes being made on a daily basis, AC2000 keeps track of details for each person, so those whose privileges have or soon will expire are easily identified. Time savings are enhanced through the ability for users to change a PIN without having to contact the system operator.
Beyond being security devices, emerald can be used to disseminate information. For example, instead of issuing memos and having meetings, the new terminals can display health and safety notices, company updates and even advertisements, the latter of which can help offset some of the cost.
Anyone who has waited for their flight crew to arrive at the gate, or waited for a grounds crew person to unload the bags, understands that airports are all about time management. New products such as emerald are providing a needed intersection between quick, efficient people processing, and heightening the level security a busy airport such as Heathrow requires.
What other ways can security solutions help an airport with operational objectives? Let me know in the comments section below.
It wasn’t too long ago that those who consider themselves to be technologically challenged would cringe at the idea of having to set-up a printer and then connect that with their PC or laptop computer. The technical nature of the process, which would involve installing software and then following multiple steps to create a connection between two devices, was enough to make many people uncomfortable.
For the end user, maintenance of an intrusion alarm system can sometimes conjure similar feelings. It has traditionally meant getting on the phone with the installer or physically being in front of each keypad to make changes to zones, codes and users. It can be time-consuming, technical, and inconvenient.
But, thanks to a shift in the industry over the past decade toward more intuitive and easy to use products and programming along with remote capabilities, systems administrator software has followed suit, and end users now have a user-friendly alternative to manage their intrusion systems. In fact, the end user’s wish list of full programming functionality, easy to use applications, and mobile connectivity is a reality when it comes to systems administrator software for alarm systems.
In the past, users would have to go to each specific intrusion panel to add or delete an individual’s code. If systems administrator software was used, changes were cumbersome and required some level of system training or knowledge. The new generation of systems administrator software is designed for the full range of non-technical end users. HR personnel can enter employee/user codes right into the system without having to visit individual keypads. The security director on a college campus can access the system’s dashboard to look at multiple alarms and responses all from an easy to navigate Web page.
The sophisticated software even decreases room for errors, taking users through programming step-by-step and only saving changes when the steps have been completed properly. This “do it right or not at all” approach opens intrusion alarm system management up to any user that needs access without extensive technical training. Much like setting up a printer, the process for an end user to manage an intrusion system has been greatly simplified so that little technical knowledge is required.
In addition, the software has specific roles or different types of users, allowing the end user to determine who has access to different types of information. For example, maybe the kids in the house can check system status of the alarm system from their phones, but they are not allowed to turn the system on and off remotely. Perhaps HR personnel only have access to add or remove users, while certain security personnel have access only to the monitoring dashboard.
Those expanded capabilities are a significant differentiator from the systems administrator software of the past. Users have full control of the system in one place, allowing for arming and disarming, adding and deleting users, viewing system status in real time, and creating and modifying schedules.
Here is one other big change – all of this can all be accessible through a Web application. Users can sign in to their portal via a Web page, rather than having to download software on individual computers. A Web-hosted application not only allows for remote management, but remote upgrades to the system as well – making sure users have access to the latest and greatest as soon as it’s available.
Just like many of the electronic devices we interact with on a daily basis, managing an intrusion system has become more user-friendly than many people would have ever thought possible. Read how DSC Strengthens PowerSeries Neo Intrusion System with Robust WebSA Software.
What ways are you using Systems Administrator Software to manage your intrusion security? Please leave me a comment below.
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.
The 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.