schoolsecurity

Upstate New York School Security: Areas of Concern

Schools have become a criminal target for high profile mass casualty incidents. They’re also vulnerable to physical assaults, property damage, and theft. While schools have a wide range of internal and external security concerns, four key locations are critical, regardless of the threat, size or type of school, or age of the students.

1 – The Main Entrance

The main entrance usually has glass panels, and in most cases, multiple doors for students, teachers, and visitors to enter and exit freely at peak times. This area is extremely vulnerable when free passage is allowed. When the flow is limited, most schools electronically lock these doors to prevent free-flow into the school.

A vestibule creates an area between two sets of doors where a visitor can escape the weather to present identification. With a vestibule, multiple technologies can limit the risk of unauthorized entry. A voice intercom system allows the visitor to push a button and notify school staff that someone desires to enter. Once a voice communication session is created, video surveillance from a remote office allows staff to observe the visitor and verify identity with a driver’s license or other credential.

2 – The Hallway

While hallways are packed with students between classes, they’re largely empty during class. Large congregation areas should be monitored by video surveillance and have panic alarm devices conveniently located. With a panic alarm device, a student or staff member can initiate a series of automated technology reactions. A calm, pre-recorded message provides initial instructions to occupants so that students and staff in other parts of the building and campus can determine if they need to evacuate or shelter in place. School security and administrators receive immediate text alerts notifying them of the exact location of the initial alarm. Responding authorities will begin to gather critical intelligence via text message or central monitoring station notifications.

3 – The Classroom

During a safety alert, classrooms near the initial alarm location can be locked down automatically, allowing open egress if it’s safe to exit, but preventing ingress. Classrooms further from the initial alert are advised to evaluate or perform other emergency measures based on institutional guidelines and training programs.

4 – The Cafeteria

The cafeteria can be the site of a large initial threat. Students and staff must be able to initiate a series of automated alerts and notifications. Video surveillance in this type of area is different than a hallway. Hallways can be viewed by a single camera in a single direction for a long distance. Cafeterias, however, may be better served by panoramic cameras that have a 360-degree view.

Automation

Regardless of the location, it may not be possible to rely on a person in duress to activate a panic button. In these cases, a fully automated system is required.

Consider a tiered automated response system that consists of the most reliable gunshot detection system, standardized door locking hardware that intelligently manages interior movement and accessibility, and integration to a mass notification system that provides directed instructions to school occupants and responding authorities.

Door control can be achieved with an integrated access control platform. The system operates under normal conditions to allow entry into specific areas of the school by authorized students and teachers. This system maintains a standard level of security during normal classroom hours.

A targeted monitoring system such as the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System, by Shooter Detection Systems, immediately detects a shooting event within the building. Upon detection, a digital signal is automatically sent to access control and other integrated systems.

Employing an emergency mass notification and crisis communication system to trigger automatically through system integration can deliver potentially life-saving audio notifications quickly and clearly to all students and building occupants via desktop computers, public address speakers, digital message boards, mobile devices, and the building fire alarm system.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all technology solution that will render all schools 100% safe. However, engaging an experienced security organization can be a great advantage. A security professional can visit your school and work with administrators and security staff to devise a tailored, comprehensive solution.

In the event of an active assailant situation, the unified systems will react immediately, notifying students and staff that an emergency is unfolding. Emergency responders will be alerted immediately, saving valuable time. Staff, students, and visitors will be clearly informed and can react according to their preparation and training. Assailant movement within the building will be limited, allowing people in other parts of the building to escape through open doors. As responders arrive, they can quickly locate the assailant and stop the situation.

Securitronics is uniquely positioned to support security solutions of all sizes. From schools to banking and manufacturing, our team has the experience to ensure a successful deployment. Securitronics is solution-driven, and known for selecting the right technology and integrated security systems design for every vertical market. Solutions include video surveillance, access control, intercom, communications, and intrusion detection systems.

Contact our team today to get started on your Upstate New York school security project: 800-795-3747

technology

Deploying a New Security System Part 3: Deployment

Part 3 of our series looks at the deployment phase of a new security system purchase. During demonstrations and proposal meetings, the technical ability of an integrator’s sales and engineering team are often uncovered. Additionally, organizations will consider evaluating the installation capabilities of the integrator. References should be requested for similar systems and designs.

Here are a few key considerations:

• Are references from similar vertical market applications or are they from unrelated markets?
• Are previous projects of a similar size and scope?
• Were previous projects completed according to the initial timeline?
• If delays were encountered, were they the result of integrator shortcomings or third party, unavoidable circumstances?
• Was the integrator able to overcome unforeseen challenges in a professional and technically competent manner?
• Is the integrator trained by the manufacturer to perform the installation of this specific system?
• Are the onsite installers manufacturer trained? Does the integration company possess the certification?
• Is the integrator financially sound and able to procure, stage, and install the system?
• Does the installation team have the required safety and OSHA certifications?

Inquire about a regularly scheduled maintenance program that will keep the system updated and functioning properly. Software and firmware updates will need to be performed on a scheduled basis. If this is an integrated system, maintenance will need to be coordinated across multiple manufacturers to ensure the system continues to perform as expected after updates are completed. Also, remember that the system will go through physical wear and tear. Physical inspections and cleanings will need to be performed regularly.

Comprehensive Consideration

The three primary phases of a security system deployment are an outline to ensure a successful security solution is in place and meets the operational requirements of the entire organization.

Securitronics is uniquely positioned to support security solutions of all sizes. From banking to manufacturing, our team has the experience to ensure a successful deployment. Securitronics is solution-driven, and known for selecting the right technology and integrated security systems design for every vertical market. Solutions include video surveillance, access control, intercom, communications, and intrusion detection systems.

Contact our team today to get started on your security project: 800-795-3747

Review Deploying a New Security System 3-Part Series:
Part 1: Expectations and Consultation
Part 2: Demonstration
Part 3: Deployment

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Deploying a New Security System Part 2: Demonstration

Continuing with our three-part series, let’s look at how organizations move from the evaluation of vulnerability and expectations to the evaluation of proposed solutions.

Request that security integrators and/or security system manufacturer representatives perform their own site survey at your facility. Their site survey will allow them to determine which system to demonstrate and propose a system that can act as all or part of the comprehensive solution for your project.

Performing a site survey in advance will also save time when it comes to demonstrations and proposals. Sitting through an hour or two of a misdirected demonstration wastes everyone’s time. Demonstrations and proposals should be provided by integrators and manufacturers based on a clear understanding of end user expectations of system performance, budget, and other considerations.

Demonstrations can be simple or complex, and depend on the scope of the project and complexity of the system. Consider bringing a representative from each stakeholder department to ensure the system meets expectations and to ensure that new concerns are addressed by each department as they arise. Some demonstrations can be performed in a table-top office environment. In many cases, a proof of concept demonstration should be performed, particularly in the case of video surveillance. Camera imaging specifications and performance can vary widely between device models and brands. Also, consider performing the proof of concept in the most extreme conditions expected at your facility. Consider darkness, low light, fog, snow, and other environmental conditions when setting a date and time for the demonstration.

The ultimate demonstration is a pilot program. In a pilot, the customer can use the system over an extended period. This allows all stakeholders to interact with the system under all expected operational conditions.

Larger, more complex systems should consider professional engineering support. Specifications and documentation will serve as a formal package of documents from which manufacturers and integrators can develop a proposed solution. These specifications and other documents will also be required if the project must be placed for public or invited bid.

In some cases, a “design & build” proposal may be desired. This allows highly capable integrators to professionally engineer the solution, provide the required documentation, and install the system.

Contact a Solutionist @ Securitronics today. 800.795.3747

New 2018 Security

Deploying a New Security System: A 3-Part Series

Deploying a new security system is quite different from adding onto or upgrading an existing system, however some concepts do remain the same. In this three-part series, we explore the three key components of new security system deployments:

  • Part 1: Expectations and Consultation
  • Part 2: Demonstration
  • Part 3: Deployment

Deploying a New Security System Part 1: Expectations and Consultation

Stakeholders have widely different interactions with, and expectations from, a new system.

Internal Stakeholder Considerations

Administrators want the system to be a deterrent, to control the flow and access of personnel and guests, and to preserve evidence. And they want all of this to assist all departments within a reasonable budget.

Human resources may want to use the system to enroll new personnel and provide appropriate facility and sensitive space accessibility to staff. They may also use the evidence collected by the system to create and demonstrate an event timeline for an HR violation.

The IT department will want a system that is easy to manage on their network infrastructure. They’ll likely be tasked with managing the storage devices and computer workstations for the new system.

The security team will need a system that provides comprehensive security capabilities, operates reliably, and is user-friendly.

The financial team wants the system to be affordable and the recurring expenses predictable, while satisfying the expectations of the other stakeholders.

Cyber security affects all stakeholders. Security device vulnerability can cause two primary problems for an organization. Firstly, a vulnerable security device can be the weak link in a security solution, allowing wrongdoers to exploit the weakness to overcome the security shield. Secondly, a cyber-vulnerable security device can be a bridge to other systems running on the IT network, compromising intellectual property, operational data, and even personal information. So, choosing a solution with a safe software/firmware system and a reliable track record will be important.

3rd Party Expert Consultation

Defining “security system” is vital. One person may understand a security system to be an alarm system, while another may understand it to mean video surveillance cameras. There are many systems to consider as part of an overall security solution.

Hiring a security consultant and/or performing a comprehensive security vulnerability assessment is a highly recommended part of the process. External consultation provides an independent review of an organization’s vulnerabilities and recommends how to best protect them.

Local, state, and federal laws and regulations are considered in addition to the expectations of the key stakeholders. Depending on your facility type, the materials located there, and the types of systems you’re deploying, various government agencies may have specific requirements for your system. Local agencies, like the fire marshal, and federal agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security, both have specific security solution requirements.

A consultant will also consider best practices for similar organizations and facilities. Their recommendations will best meet all expectations and legal requirements.

Our societal norm is to research personal and business solutions online. It’s important not to jump to conclusions with personal online research; however, it is important to become an educated consumer. Using a 3rd party consultant will ensure that your research is supplementing professional, expert advice.

System Integration

Properly integrated systems will streamline the solution, allowing users to minimize confusion and maximize efficiency. Workspaces remain uncluttered and system operation is simplified with fewer keyboards, mice, intercom microphones, and other desktop devices. For example, an integrated solution may involve a single workstation, operated by one person, that provides surveillance camera feeds, access control, intrusion alerts, and voice communication with one graphical user interface (GUI).

System compatibility will need to be evaluated when considering an integrated solution. Many systems can be integrated using industry standards such as ONVIF, while others must have custom integration code, which may take more time and increase the cost of the system.  Expert advice is highly recommended at this level of complexity.

You can count on Securitronics to provide expert advice for your most demanding safety and security concerns. We are dedicated problem-solvers, always ready to use new and innovative technologies to develop your plan and secure your property, assets, and personnel. Our goal is to build long-term, lasting partnerships of absolute trust and personalized services with the most skilled and talented security professionals.

Contact a Solutionist @ Securitronics today. 800.795.3747

New Technology Challenge: Equipment Demonstrations

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It’s important to set clear system performance expectations when contemplating a system upgrade or replacement.

Equipment demonstrations can take place at a variety of technical levels:

  • Tabletop
  • Proof of Concept
  • Pilot Program

Tabletop Demonstration

A tabletop demonstration is the most basic way for a security director to see a system first-hand. In some cases, this is all the director needs to see the new technology and envision how it will be deployed as part of the overall security strategy. However, many systems require a deeper-dive to fully understand the technology, how it operates, how it integrates into other systems, and how it performs during an emergent situation as part of an emergency response plan.

Proof of Concept

A proof of concept demonstration is an on-site simulation of a user-specific situation. For example, the demonstration of a new surveillance camera may need to be performed during the night or in harsh weather. Such specific environmental circumstances cannot be replicated during a tabletop demonstration in a conference room.

Pilot Program

A pilot program is the ultimate proof of concept. Hardware and/or software are deployed on location and evaluated for a set period within an isolated part of the facility. Stakeholders can witness the system operating at all times in a variety of environmental and operational conditions. For example, a perimeter intrusion detection system can be deployed on a few sections of fence to demonstrate performance in varying temperatures, wind, and precipitation.

Bottom Line: Partnership

It is always reasonable to expect a demonstration of system functionality before a purchase.  A reputable security integrator will provide an appropriate system demonstration, often in conjunction with the manufacturer’s technical representative.

You can count on Securitronics to provide expert advice for your most demanding safety and security concerns. We are dedicated problem-solvers, always ready to use new and innovative technologies to develop your plan and secure your property, assets, and personnel. Our goal is to build long-term, lasting partnerships of absolute trust and personalized services with the most skilled and talented security professionals.

Contact Securitronics today. 800.795.3747

New Technology Challenge: Vendor Competency

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It’s important to set clear expectations. Some vendors can perform a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), for example, while others more suited to hardware installation. And when new technology is on the horizon, it’s important to review vendor roles and responsibilities.

Security Vulnerability Assessment

SVAs are performed by companies, usually licensed or certified to do so, that are highly skilled with surveys involving combined technologies. They compare the current system to a set of expected and potential risks. SVAs can be performed once or on a scheduled basis, depending upon changes that modify risk.

Site Survey

Site surveys typically follow an SVA as part of an overall security deployment strategy by technology experts in one or more specific technical fields. For example, a security integrator may bring a manufacturer’s representative to a facility to assist with a site survey. The technologies required to secure a facility are complex; however, the individual site survey is not likely to consider all aspects of the organization’s risk like an SVA.

Demonstration

Following a site survey, the technical experts from the manufacturer and integrator may perform a system demonstration for the Security Director. This is an opportunity to evaluate the proposed system prior to purchase, ensure that it fits within the SVA-recommended security strategy, and demonstrate that the system functions within the organization’s operational and emergency response plan.

System Design

Once the demonstration is complete, and expectations are set, the security integrator will create a complete system design with assistance from the equipment manufacturer.

Installation

Following final design approval and system purchase, the security integrator will install the system.

Maintenance

Once installed, the system must be continually maintained. Most installation teams are responsible for maintenance as well, but some integrators have dedicated maintenance teams.

Bottom Line: Partnership

A security system is only as reliable as the weakest link in the project team. A qualified security integrator will clearly outline project performance expectations in conjunction with the Security Director. These expectations must satisfy the end-user’s expectations of integrator responsibility and involvement. Installation and maintenance teams should be regularly attending classes and obtaining pertinent certifications. The security integrator’s project management and sales teams must be well versed in modern technologies and should be able to anticipate the needs of the end user.

You can count on Securitronics to provide expert advice for your most demanding safety and security concerns.

Our Solutionists are dedicated problem-solvers, always ready to use new and innovative technologies to develop your plan and secure your property, assets, and personnel. Our goal is to build long-term, lasting partnerships of absolute trust and personalized services with the most skilled and talented security professionals.

Contact Securitronics today. 800.795.3747

Network Impact from HD Security Cameras

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Security manufacturers are developing ultra-high-resolution cameras that produce detailed images to protect facilities and monitor operations. As analog and legacy IP systems are being replaced, IT departments are being called to assist with planning, installing, and managing the HD systems.

Data and bandwidth implications

New high-resolution cameras create approximately 5 megabits of data per second (Mbps). Ultra-high megapixel panoramic cameras can create as much as 30 megabits or more of data per second. This amount of data must be managed from the moment it leaves the camera, across the network, to the viewing station at the security desk, to the storage appliance pool receiving terabytes to petabytes of streaming video 24 hours a day. Video streams must be viewed and recorded without loss of resolution.

Network infrastructure

Network switches are deployed with respect current and future demands, but often overlooking video surveillance bandwidth demands. Network administrators will need to consider the deployment of physically separated networks for security and business production. They will also consider multicast protocol to reduce network flooding in certain situations. Power over Ethernet (PoE) is the most common way to provide power to security cameras and must be considered when determining the total draw from network switch hardware.

Computer hardware

Multiple departments will need viewer access to security cameras. IT will need to determine if new cameras can be viewed reliably on the existing video graphic cards. Servers must be deployed that can handle the data being created by dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of cameras. If the organization runs in a virtualized environment, licensing and available processor assets must be assessed.

Storage appliances

The amount of storage required is computed with a formula that uses data estimations created by the cameras. Storage devices are then deployed in a centralized data center or in decentralized locations across a campus.

Cybersecurity

Reputable manufacturers engineer cameras and other devices that are penetration attack tested. They also provide regular firmware updates to ensure that new attack methods can’t exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities. Likewise, your security integration partner will perform camera firmware updates as part of the ongoing security maintenance agreement. You must also consider the increased risk of insider hacking. By placing more cameras in plain view, the risk of internal challenges to security can increase. Employees or students can attempt to access security cameras and other devices through their internal network connection. Strict password protection and, in many cases, virtual private network (VPN) policies should be used to prevent unauthorized access to security devices.

Bridging security demands and IT support

You can count on Securitronics to provide expert advice for your most demanding safety and security concerns. We are dedicated problem-solvers, always ready to use new and innovative technologies to develop your plan and secure your property, assets, and personnel. Our goal is to build long-term, lasting partnerships based on absolute trust and personalized services from the most skilled and talented security professionals available.

Contact Securitronics Solutionist today. 800.795.3747

On-Site Security Risk Assessment

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Imagine a facility constructed from day 1 with future security requirements as the top priority. Does that describe your security landscape?  Most likely not. The level of security installed on day 1 does not always reflect the security required of the organization later.

There’s often a mismatch between budget, specifier input, and end user operational requirements. Requirements change with facility capabilities and in response to prevalent threats. A facility that was once secure with cameras at the entrance, may now require security checkpoints at the property entrance and a perimeter fence detection system with cameras watching the property line. Organizations change, the world changes, and security technologies change in response.

Organizational changes

Expansion or reduction of the physical footprint of an organization is impacted by new construction projects. New projects may require alterations or upgrades to the existing systems. Prior to physical changes, a complete security risk assessment must be performed to uncover the new security requirements for the organization. Likewise, if a business changes its scope of operation, there may be the need to increase security. This may happen when cash flow changes or the potential hazard increases.

Environmental changes

If a local threat arises, it may impact a cluster of facilities. If a national or global threat arises, the entire vertical market must adopt new security measures, all of which require security risk assessments. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directs 16 specific critical infrastructure categories related to cyber, physical, and electronic security requirements. These requirements are reviewed and updated to reflect global security changes and their impact on specific industries.

Security technology changes

Improvements in security system technology are occurring at a staggering rate. Surveillance cameras are being produced with dramatically higher resolution capability. Access control systems are becoming more sophisticated, from card credentials to biometric readers. Legacy perimeter intrusion detection systems (PIDS) attached to fences are being replaced with modern power over Ethernet (PoE) devices and increased, smart sensitivity capabilities. When the mean time between failure (MTBF) for legacy security devices may have been as long as 15 years using analog technology, new IP based system devices may only have a three to five-year replacement cycle.

Action plan

These common scenarios present reasons to conduct a security risk assessment on a regularly scheduled basis in addition to when specific needs arise. Performing these assessments regularly can bring unrealized vulnerabilities to the surface.  These assessments should be conducted by security technology experts in conjunction with officials familiar with the unique operations of the organization. Without expertise from both sides, vulnerabilities may remain overlooked.

You can count on Securitronics to perform comprehensive security risk assessments that address your most demanding safety and security concerns. We are dedicated problem-solvers, always ready to use new and innovative technologies to develop your plan and secure your property, assets, and personnel. Our goal is to build long-term, lasting partnerships based on absolute trust and personalized services from the most skilled and talented security professionals available.

Contact Securitronics today. 800.795.3747

smartsecuritycamera

How ‘Smart Security Cameras’ Benefit Business

Old security cameras sent low-quality video surveillance footage to be recorded and played back after something bad happened. Today, high resolution security cameras work with video analytics to streamline security operations and keep security staff focused on unauthorized behavior.

Security cameras can also be used to analyze anonymous customer habits in retail environments and enhance the customer experience in the service industry, emergency departments, movie theaters, and more. They can also help with workplace safety by shutting down machinery or redirecting vehicles when a safety threat is present. Plant, manufacturing, and warehouse workers can be warned when they are entering restricted areas by triggering audible or visual alerts.

Video analytics improve retail operations, and the customer experience, by helping managers to keep an eye on checkout lines. A notification can be sent from the video system to management, alerting them that additional lanes need to be opened. Movie theater management can be notified when a long line has formed at the ticket counter, prompting them to open additional ticket windows. Likewise, once inside, movie goers gather at the food and beverage areas. Long and slow lines can result in a decrease in sales. By recognizing the right time to open a new register, theater operators keep guests moving through every part of their visit.

In emergency departments, smart cameras can count how many people are in the waiting room. Notifications are sent to the charge nurse so that the appropriate resources are dedicated to triage, speeding up patient care. Vehicles parked in patient drop-off areas can delay patients and even become a safety risk. Security can be notified when a vehicle is left in a “no parking” zone for too long.

Industrial facilities are continually evaluating environmental safety to protect employees and visitors, and ensure compliance with industrial safety regulations. Facility pathways can be monitored by smart surveillance cameras that know the difference between a vehicle and a person. The cameras create email, audio, and visual alerts when a person is entering a hazardous area within the facility. Likewise, the cameras can create alerts when a vehicle is outside of normal operating areas, such as a predetermined driving path. Smart cameras can also determine when a tractor trailer loading dock is occupied or is ready for the next delivery. Employees approaching dangerous machinery can also be warned with visual and audio cues that are based on virtual line crossings or danger zone intrusions.

You can count on Securitronics to deliver innovative, cost-effective solutions that address your most demanding safety and security concerns. Our team of Solutionists e dedicated problem-solvers, always ready to use new and innovative technologies to fit your plans and needs. Our goal is to build long-term, lasting partnerships based on absolute trust, personalized services, and the most skilled and talented people available.

Contact Securitronics today. 800.795.3747 or click here to contact us for a FREE Security Consultation

chemicalsecurity

Chemical Manufacturing and Storage Security

Our nation’s security depends on the safety and security of facilities that manufacture, store, or utilize hazardous materials. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) leads and coordinates programs and policies on a national scope that impact local security implementation. The mission is to uncover vulnerabilities and develop programs to address the risks. Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21) advances a national policy and outlines 16 critical infrastructure sectors.

When addressing Chemical Sector considerations, it’s important to consider how your organization stores and secures chemicals. Manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities may fall under this category. Your workers may not consider your facility to be a target for international or domestic terrorism, but as a leader, you think on a broad scale, and may decide that your facility is due for a security risk and vulnerability assessment.

The chemical sector is comprised of hundreds of thousands of chemical facilities across the United States which manufacture, store, or utilize chemicals to produce products that are critical for modern life. These chemicals range from basic household supplies to agricultural chemicals to pharmaceuticals.

Relationship Development

It’s critical to develop working relationships with local law enforcement agencies, and local businesses, and other organizations. Engage an industry-leading security solutions provider who brings experience from similar facilities like yours. Their knowledge of best practices will speed up the planning process and ensure a solid security foundation is established.

Planning

Planning for the prevention of and reaction to an attack is critical. A solid security plan starts with your professional relationships. Your security vendor will look at your project from a multi-dimensional perspective. When it comes to security, everything from perimeter protection to recording video cameras needs to be considered:

  • Video surveillance
  • Access control
  • Intrusion detection
  • Perimeter fence detection
  • Gates, bollards, and turnstiles
  • Voice communication
  • Policies and procedures

Training

Employees need to be trained to react appropriately in the event of a security breach or attack. Training starts with procedural awareness and develops into the knowledge of minute security system details.

Reporting: “If you see something, say something,” has become the common mantra of homeland security. It may rarely cross an employee’s mind to report suspicious activity, but if your facility could be a target, they need to keep their eyes open for anything out of the ordinary.

Take Action

DHS has developed resources to get you started:

Take the initiative today to contact a Solutionist at Securitronics to assess and develop your approach to security at your facility.

A complimentary site visit gets you started on the path to a safer, more secure facility.

800.795.3747