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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.


It’s a small business world, after all | Integrate Security


Although it’s the big corporations that often garner the headlines, the reality is that a small to mid-size business is where most of America goes to work each day.

Statistics show us that 99 percent of independent enterprises employ fewer than 500 workers, yet account for more than half of the American workforce. Drilling down even further, nearly 20 million Americans work in companies with less than 20 employees.

Integrate Security Small BusinessSmall business is really big business in the United States and although the scale is diminished, the issues these companies face are not. Like their larger corporate counterparts, they should be placing security concerns on the table alongside healthcare, payroll, and marketing.

Because as we all know, crime doesn’t discriminate by size. A small business is just as vulnerable and is probably less able to absorb the cost of a burglary, act of vandalism or a band of shoplifters.

Consider the example of thieves that recently targeted some car dealerships. These criminals stole wheels and rims from dozens of vehicles, costing these businesses thousands and thousands of dollars. While it isn’t known if these businesses had any type of security system in place, the reality is that small businesses often don’t make the investment because they see too many barriers.

Even if they can afford a system, they ask themselves: Who will run it? There isn’t likely to be a dedicated security director on board, but rather the task goes to someone whose job title involves finance or sales or even to the owner of the business.

And what about keeping up with technology? Again, asking someone to be responsible for managing a security system involving cameras, alarms and maybe even an access control system seems a daunting task, especially if they are dealing with disparate systems that require an individual to look at video, compare it to alarm or card data and then see how it all fits together.

Fortunately, the industry has responded by offering technology platforms that aren’t just enterprise-level systems passed on to small businesses, but rather are security offerings created to address the key concerns of these users: ease of use, minimal training, and the ability for the system to evolve along with the business.

Looking at a typical small business, such as a car dealership, we see that by bringing all the components together — video, intrusion and access control — it is possible for one person to easily move among different applications, especially when the system features a customizable dashboard. What can also make this type of system workable for the small business owner is that it is accessible not just in the office or at a specific desktop, but rather everything can be controlled via phone or a tablet-based app. This means that when an alarm goes off at the car lot in the middle of the night, the owner needs only sign onto his mobile device and manage the situation in real time. Or if an employee needs to get in after hours, he can unlock the door remotely to accommodate this request, but also monitor it via the video system.

Another plus of a system aimed at the small to mid-size market is that it takes into consideration issues such as training and expansion. Keeping operations simple means that even if someone hasn’t created a report or viewed video in a while, it is intuitive enough that they can do it without going through a thick manual or asking for assistance from the installer. And if access control or intrusion isn’t top-of-the-list at first, it’s easy enough to add in those features going forward because the foundation is there. The owner can even get coverage when he expands the size of his dealership, because the system is scalable for adding cameras or cardholders.

Security is important no matter whether a business employs 50 or 5,000. The good news is that now there are solutions that allow everyone to build an integrated system that suits their particular need.


What are the main security concerns of your small business? Are you juggling different systems and interfaces for your video, intrusion and access control systems? Do you integrate security? Please let me know your experience by leaving a comment below.


Bringing virtualization into the access control conversation


Virtualization in Access ControlCost efficient, powerful and effective, virtualization has become a well-used tool in today’s tech-savvy world. As demand for computing increases, so has the need to make maximum use of physical servers by creating virtual machines within them.

Most servers are idle for a good amount of time, so it only makes sense to deploy virtualization to make the best use of what is already in play.

Of course, not every user has the same needs and expectations. And so it’s important to understand virtualization and its opportunities and limitations for a particular security scenario.

Think about your individual situation as it applies to virtualization and a key security need such as access control. Where do you fit in?

A small operator, such as a convenience store with a few doors to control is looking for virtualization on a whole different level than a government-run operation that requires a high-degree of reliability — to the level of 99.999 percent.

In the first scenario, the end user may be OK with some degree of downtime. Servers running virtual machines will fail and restart and in the process lose some, but far from all, data. That high availability may be good enough for some access control requirements.

But others, large corporations or governmental enterprises as an example, are looking for virtualization that is fault tolerant, meaning that in the event of a system failure, there are duplicate components in play that will keep processing on the same CPU clock so that no amount of data is lost. They can’t afford to have doors that won’t open — or close — or present opportunities for cardholder information to be compromised.

Also part of the decision-making process when it comes to virtualization is the level of expertise you have and the degree to which you want to own the oversight of the system.

The mom-and-pop store operator who wants to partake in a virtualized access control environment may not have the expertise to do this on his own. Fortunately, there are solutions involving access control products and virtualization providers that can be deployed as a “black box” for virtualization without the need of an expert.

In contrast, companies with highly skilled IT departments that require virtualization can customize the solution to fit their needs. Those firms have the flexibility to implement a range of solutions from black box simplicity to high complexity and high cost.

While the computing world has certainly seen its share of fads, virtualization isn’t one of them. In fact, it is the gateway to cloud computing and when used properly can be a critical factor in your access control solution.

To learn if a virtual environment is right for your security needs, watch my recorded webinar on Virtualization in Access Control, held in conjunction with Stratus Technologies.

Webinar recording \u002D Virtualization in Access Control


Leaving the Door Open: Different Door Controller Choices for Access Control


Decisions, decisions. We make them every day – some are fairly mundane, like what to eat for breakfast, and some are pretty significant like which financial investments to make.

Within a physical access control system, the decision to grant or deny access to a cardholder normally happens at the door controller located at the individual door or centralized with one controller handling multiple doors. The controller handles the authorization process, determining who has access to a particular door and if they can enter, or sometimes exit, an area.

Deciding which system architecture is right for a particular installation means closely examining the pluses and minuses of each of these scenarios and settling on the one that makes the most business and security sense for an organization. The good news is that with today’s technology, you can select a system that plays to the strengths of your specific situation.

Sometimes the decision is determined by the configuration of your building. Will the system be installed in a building occupied by a single corporate office, or in a building that houses office suites? Is it planned for a public space, or a private space?

Access Control Door ControllersFor example, deploying individual controllers at each door location means that technicians will need easy access to service and maintain each one. Does the physical set up or aesthetics require the controllers to be placed under ceiling tiles? While certainly doable, you may have to reroute people to different access points while the controller in the ceiling is being serviced. This may be a small inconvenience, but it is sometimes an important consideration for hospitals and healthcare facilities, where ceiling disruptions require the area to be cordoned off for a period of time.

Think as well about how much your system will grow, and in what ways. Will you need to customize specific doors because of the type of area you’re protecting, or are you anticipating wholesale expansion that could bring dozens of doors online? Do you have clusters of access control doors located in close proximity to each other, or are they spread out?

An IP reader at the door, which bypasses the need for a control panel altogether, can provide easy installation and quick access to database information. The only caveat is that information and wiring located on the unsecure side of the door is prone to tampering, vandalism and hacking.

Another option is to locate the decision-making power at the server, which can be viewed as a more efficient choice. However, since each real-time access decision is taking place over the network, this option is inherently less reliable.  If the network goes down, or the server goes down, so do all of your doors.

There is also the option these days of centralizing system management in the cloud. While this set up can work well for reporting and processing activities, putting the real time card access go / no-go decision making power in the cloud isn’t widely embraced yet.

The key is to look closely at what you want to achieve with your access control system, its size and potential for growth and then select a configuration of single or multi-door controllers that best meets the overall needs and security considerations of the business. It’s not a matter of right or wrong choices, but rather having the luxury of customizing your access control scheme.


Which type of system architecture have you deployed and why was that the right choice for your project?

Security’s New Spin on the User Experience


Security User ExperienceWe can update our Facebook status, find a ride, and make a dinner reservation through a few swipes on a smartphone, so why not apply that same intuitive user experience to security systems?

While the adoption of the latest technology has forged ahead on a consumer level, it has lagged a bit in some areas of business, such as managing physical security. But the continuing shift toward mobile applications and cloud-based systems has as much a place in the security world as it does with managing our day-to-day lives.

When we look at the spectrum of solutions offered for managing security, there are definite benefits in moving away from traditional models and introducing user experiences that employ the latest technological advances.

Consider, for example, the act of removing someone from the access control system when they quit or are fired. If they carried an ID badge, or were granted access to one or more buildings or rooms within those buildings, they may show up in several databases. To correct that, staff resources would need to be spent finding and removing that person from multiple systems under most existing systems.

But under the latest scenarios, it is possible to bring all those databases together on a single platform. So rather than taking multiple steps — logging in and out of various databases to make changes — now one person can do it all in a single step, ensuring that the ex-employee’s access privileges to doors, phones, computers and the like are all canceled simultaneously.

Along that same vein, another change in the user experience is just who is performing that maintenance. Again, the traditional approach is for companies to maintain their own systems, adding and deleting names and only calling upon their security integrators when the system crashes and all the data is lost. Today, however, more companies are opting to go with hosted or managed solutions that put system management in the hands of a third party, either completely or partially. The advantages of this approach include less burden on the IT department and more continuity with databases and their maintenance.

Of course, a discussion of the evolving user experience wouldn’t be complete without looking at the growing role of mobile applications. Not only do these apps move us away from reliance on desktops, but they also allow end users to take action quickly and efficiently, enabling them to respond to emergencies on the fly. So not only can a business owner unlock a door for an employee who forgot their key, but a school administrator can lockdown the building when alerted of a potential threat to the facility.

We all want convenience in our lives and now, through the latest developments in the marketplace, we can have that same easy usability and portability with our security systems as well.

Want to learn more, then watch my recorded webinar where I discussed the importance of the user experience in security and latest technologies in the market that are driving a new type of security – one that is all about usability, portability, and convenience.

Webinar Recording \u002D Making the User Experience the Main Feature


What would you like to see added to simplify the Security User Experience? Please leave me a Comment below with your ideas.


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