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The unprecedented global impact of COVID-19 has taken its toll on all of us, but as cases of the virus thankfully recede, employers are now forced to confront how they can enable a safe return to work for employees. For many employers, this means they will have to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, redesign workspaces to maintain social distances, carry out more frequent cleaning, manage the transmission risk and find alternatives to touch-based security devices. Protecting workplace occupants in any emergency requires preparation and clear communication. This is especially critical in a health crisis involving an infectious disease. These are some of the essential best practices that could help organizations reduce the impact on their employees and operations during this pandemic. 1. Use a visitor management system With a visitor management system, organizations have a single source of real-time and historical insights into who is, or was recently, in the workplace. This is especially important because of the need to perform contact tracing should anyone in the organization show symptoms of COVID-19, meaning everyone they have been in contact with needs to be contacted and asked to isolate. Yet still, first impressions are made at the front desk or lobby, where the visitor experience needs to be a positive one. At the same time, though, any emergency event requires that there be strict control over who is entering the workplace. This policy also needs to be clearly communicated to visitors. Doing this minimizes risk to visitors as well as the workforce. In addition to delivering a high-quality visitor experience, the ideal visitor management system must: Enable organizations to meet regulatory compliance mandates and facilitate check-in at a self-service kiosk to minimize wait times. Customize the visitor experience to support specific security needs, such as accelerating and simplifying check-in or requiring additional security pre-checks. Automate compliance as it relates to visitor access rules with historical visit reports. 2. Pre-check questions at visitor registration kiosks Organizations can strengthen security at the registration kiosk using a flexible, enterprise-grade visitor management system to add visitor sign-in steps. This has proven successful in the past when used to control the spread of infectious disease during an outbreak. An example of this is a U.S. children's hospital which managed to reduce facility infection rates by 25 percent over a two-year period using a commercial, off-the-shelf physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution from HID Global. The solution provides two particularly important capabilities that can be used by organizations to protect their workplace from the uncontrolled spread of an infectious disease: Enhance visitor registration policy with additional mandatory questions to help identify any visitors who may need other screenings. Extend the visitor registration kiosk with a mandatory pop-up asking further questions during visitor check-in. 3. Understand who has visited your workplace Successful controlling the spread of infection throughout a facility requires the ability to automatically maintain an auditable trail of activity. This can be done using an enterprise-grade visitor management system that makes it easy to retrieve historical visit reports. This provides a timeline of who was in the workplace, and when they were there. Key features include: A single dashboard providing useful visitor insights at your fingertips. Historical reports that provide visitor details including location and contact information, all in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy regulations. 4. Clearly communicate how infection risks can be reduced Global organizations must actively communicate with visitors and employees on the outbreak of infectious diseases and follow best practices outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here are several things organizations can do in this area to help maintain a safe and healthy workplace: Re-enforce and communicate WHO best practices with guideline posters in the front lobby and throughout the workplace. Add posters that also encourage regular and thorough washing of hands. Encourage everyone to cough or sneese into their shirt sleeve in their flexed elbow or cover their mouth and nose with a tissue. Encourage everyone to keep a relatively safe distance from each other and use alternatives to handshakes when saying hello. Organizations must contend with a variety of workplace challenges during the outbreak of an infectious disease. These challenges can be solved with best practices that include a comprehensive visitor management system that automates critical check-in policies and maintains an auditable trail of visitor activity.
Returning to work after the global pandemic will not be business as usual, and security systems are an important asset when it comes to helping to keep occupants and buildings safe. For example, video analytics can provide insight into how spaces have previously been used and can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other or congregate. These foot-traffic patterns can inform settings for a variety of devices – like ventilation and temperature controls – and even help owners create social distancing plans and monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance. “While the ‘new normal’ is still being defined, we believe there will be a greater focus on creating healthier environments while also complying with new regulations,” says Marcus Logan, Global Offering Leader, Honeywell Commercial Security. “Temperature, humidity, energy efficiency, security, safety, comfort, productivity, and demonstrating compliance with regulations are all a part of a healthy building.” For example, social distancing is a new concept for the workplace. How do you make that happen in an open work setting, in breakrooms, elevator lobbies and meeting spaces? Optimized systems create healthier environments Anxious employees will need reassurance about returning to the workplace Building owners will need to look at how they can optimize their systems – or deploy new ones – to create a healthier environment. Building technologies, like those provided by Honeywell's Healthy Buildings solutions, provide building owners with more control over critical factors to encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations, and a company's risk management policies. These solutions also provide transparency for occupants into a building's status, says Logan. Hygiene will be a critical issue: People will want to know that the spaces are ready for their return. Increased cleaning procedures and schedules will evolve, and a way will be needed to demonstrate the procedures are effective and that they have been strictly adhered to. Identifying ways to measure effectiveness of sanitisation and track compliance to the procedures will be a key challenge to solve. This is a space that will evolve significantly in the coming months and years, says Logan. Access control and video analytics Contact tracing is a new requirement in some businesses, and security technology – like access control and video analytics with advanced reporting – can help. Access control technology integrated with video analytics can be used to trace occupant movements within a facility. These technologies capture data that can be used with advanced reporting to provide a digital footprint of where a person has been within a facility and if they may have been exposed to someone identified as being infected with a contagious virus. Building owners can then proactively notify exposed individuals evolve to self-quarantine and minimize further spread of an infection. Video analytics can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other Anxious employees will need reassurance about returning to the workplace. They will not only seek confidence that the building is optimized for a healthier environment but also that processes are in place to quickly identify and respond to potential issues. Transparency and visibility into how the building works and the health of the environment will help to reassure occupants returning to the workplace. “One way to do this is to share building analytics with occupants – to help them understand factors about the indoor air quality or occupancy density,” says Logan. Controlled health, safety and security Honeywell’s solutions provide building owners with more control over critical health, safety and security factors to encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations and a company’s risk management policies, Logan adds. Visibility into how the building works and the health of the environment will help to reassure occupants returning to the workplace Every day there is new information coming from the medical and scientific community about COVID-19, and the building industry is just starting to learn what it all means. Logan warns that there is no single solution that will keep every environment healthy and safe. A good strategy features deploying a combination of solutions, optimising systems and being vigilant to make sure that companies are sustaining compliance to new and changing regulations, says Logan. “Today more than ever we must be mindful of the changing culture of how buildings are managed by making apparent the need to be mindful of health and well-being in all aspects of our lives,” says Logan. Honeywell has developed outcome-based solutions that allow building owners to transparently address building quality factors while supporting their business continuity needs in the uncertain environment. “We’re giving them the data they need to confidently reassure their employees to accelerate their business operations,” he adds.
Companies are following government guidance and getting as many people as possible working from home. Some companies will have resisted home working in the past, but I’m certain that the sceptics will find that people can be productive with the right tools no matter where they are. A temporary solution will become permanent. But getting it right means managing risk. Access is king In a typical office with an on-premise data center, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, and collaborative communication toolsBut as we know, CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, applications and collaborative communication tools that they do on a regular basis from the office or on the train. Indeed, the new generation of video conferencing technologies come very close to providing an “almost there” feeling. Hackers lie in wait Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical servers. Less than a month ago, we emerged from a period of chaos. For months hackers had been exploiting a vulnerability in VPN products from Pulse Secure, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Citrix. Patches were provided by vendors, and either companies applied the patch or withdrew remote access. As a result, the problem of attacks died back. But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behavior, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines. As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHO and healthcare organizations in general since the pandemic broke. We’ll see lots more opportunist attacks like this in the coming months. More speed less haste In March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHOFinally, we also have bots to contend with. We’ve yet to see reports of fake news content generated by machines, but we know there’s a high probability it will happen. Spambots are already creating pharmaceutical spam campaigns thriving on the buying behavior of people in times of fear from infection. Using comment spamming – where comments are tactically placed in the comments following an update or news story - the bots take advantage of the popularity of the Google search term ‘Coronavirus’ to increase the visibility and ranking of sites and products in search results. There is clearly much for CIOs to think about, but it is possible to secure a network by applying some well thought through tactics. I believe it comes down to having a ‘more speed, less haste’ approach to rolling out, scaling up and integrating technologies for home working, but above all, it should be mixed with an employee education program. As in reality, great technology and a coherent security strategy will never work if it is undermined by the poor practices
Texecom is delighted to be sponsoring, along with CSL and Hikvision, the new Electronic Security Systems Competition at this year’s WorldSkills UK LIVE on 21–23 November at the NEC in Birmingham. WorldSkills UK and Skills for Security launched the competition to raise awareness of apprenticeship and career opportunities in the security and surveillance industry. Attracting over 70,000 visitors, WorldSkills UK LIVE is the UK’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event. Electronic Security Systems Texecom has been a longstanding supporter of engineering apprentice training within the security industry" The event also hosts the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions which see the UK’s top apprentices and students compete to win Gold, Silver and Bronze in their chosen skill. This year, for the first time, visitors to LIVE will be able to watch apprentices take part in the Electronic Security Systems Competition which has been designed to reflect the role of an Electronic Security Engineer and the high standards that are expected within the industry. “Texecom has been a longstanding supporter of engineering apprentice training within the security industry, and we are delighted to partner with WorldSkills UK and Skills for Security for the launch of this competition,” says Clym Brown, Texecom’s Marketing Director. Electronic security apprentices “Electronic security fundamentally protects people’s lives and livelihoods and as such is a very worthwhile endeavor for young people to consider as a career choice. This new competition will highlight the skills and innovation in the industry to a wider audience, as well as increasing the training level and knowledge base of electronic security apprentices already involved.” As part of its commitment to helping the next generation of security engineers and installers adapt to the digital revolution, Texecom recently launched the Texecom Academy. Designed to help security professionals get ahead of the digital curve, it redefines what it means to be a security professional by providing the skills, tools and mindset that will define the future of security – for installers and their customers.
Texecom Cloud is delighted to announce that they were awarded ‘Technological Innovation of the Year’ in the recent PSI Premier Awards. Accessible on any internet-connected device, Texecom Cloud enables security installers to manage multiple alarm systems from one simple interface, simultaneously. This in turn helps them save money and increase revenues by being more efficient and adding value to their customers. It gives engineers complete control over their alarm system portfolio – this includes safeguards to ensure only the right people have access to the right data. Engineers are restricted to only view and access security systems that are specific to them. Simple, quick and easily accessible The company has invested a great deal into R&D to develop the best, most relevant technology" System programming is simple, quick and easily accessible, and there is even the option to create custom programming templates from previous installations or imported Wintex profiles. This reduces the number of programming steps required, guaranteeing consistency from site-to-site and eliminating programming errors. One of the most important features of Texecom Cloud is remote maintenance and health checks. This reduces the number of times installers need to visit a site to diagnose, maintain, manage and service customer’s alarm panels – it can even eliminate the need to go on site completely. Digital revolution in security “We’re absolutely delighted to have won this award,” comments Texecom’s Marketing Director Clym Brown. “The company has invested a great deal into R&D to develop the best, most relevant technology to help our commercial and residential installers adapt to the digital revolution in security. Texecom Cloud, along with our TexecomPro App and our award-winning Texecom Connect connectivity options, are designed to help them increase revenues and delight their customers!”
IFSEC hosts globally renowned security content and events, with shows in the United Kingdom, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines. Soon, the IFSEC brand will extend into mainland Europe with the launch of IFSEC Europe, a brand-new biennial security event providing a new gateway to the European integrated security market. Taking place for the first time on 20-22 September 2021 at RAI Amsterdam Convention Center, IFSEC Europe will create a pan-European home for integrated security, fire safety and intelligent buildings professionals in one of Europe’s most dynamic and accessible capitals. IFSEC Europe IFSEC has established itself as a widely-respected hub for launching products and solutions Co-located alongside Intelligent Buildings Europe, the new event will complement IFSEC’s flagship show IFSEC International, which will continue to take place annually at ExCeL London. This expansion is the result of a three-year research project to find the next hub for IFSEC’s global security community, designed to bring the expertise, prestige and comprehensiveness of the UK show to continental Europe. IFSEC has established itself as a widely-respected hub for launching products and solutions, as well as showpiece events such as 2019’s National Surveillance Camera Day. In 2019 it welcomed over 80,000 visitors across all of its events from over 120 countries. IFSEC Europe will better connect the major players in security manufacturing and distribution with key end-users, installers, integrators and consultants across mainland Europe. Source products and discover insights at IFSEC Responding to shifts in the European and global economy, IFSEC Europe offers UK, continental and international security professionals a platform from which to penetrate the European market. It’s a unique opportunity for firms to source products, discover insights and generate new business connections in one of Europe’s largest conference venues. IFSEC Europe will extend the IFSEC brand into a vibrant market" Moreover, RAI Amsterdam could not be better placed to accommodate the new event. Just fifteen minutes from the major hub at Schiphol Airport and boasting its own railway station, the venue offers convenient links to one of Europe’s most celebrated business centers and tourist destinations. IFSEC International security event Gerry Dunphy, Strategy Director of IFSEC International said, “IFSEC Europe will extend the IFSEC brand into a vibrant market to parallel and complement the London-based IFSEC International, which will remain IFSEC’s center-piece event. It will provide a much-needed hub for the European security industry, and create a new entry point for the European market for the UK-based firms that already attend IFSEC International.” Gerry adds, “Amsterdam is centrally-located and easily-accessible, making it the ideal location for a pan-European security event. In addition, it’s a beautiful, dynamic and exciting city in which we’ve been working to launch an event since 2017, so it’s a joy to finally announce a major event there.” Integrated security tradeshow IFSEC International in London remains the most important event for the UK security market" Simon Young, Event Director of IFSEC International said, “We’re thrilled to announce this addition to the IFSEC portfolio. IFSEC International in London remains the most important event for the UK security market, but we feel this expansion into Amsterdam meets an urgent need for a sophisticated, comprehensive integrated security tradeshow in the European market.” The event is being launched in conjunction with some of IFSEC’s existing premier partners, including CSL, Texecom, UTC, Vanderbilt, Dahua and Euralarm, speaking to the high confidence these major security industry players have in the IFSEC brand. Partnership with CSL Pascal Zeegers, Director, CSL Benelux said “CSL is excited to be a part of the launch of IFSEC Europe at the RAI Amsterdam in 2021. We already have strong partnerships in the Benelux region and are rapidly growing our customers in the wider European areas, so the timing is perfect.” He adds ,“As a long standing IFSEC Premier Partner, CSL understands the value and legacy of a global brand such as IFSEC, so this new addition to the portfolio, in a major European destination, is welcome. I look forward to meeting all our customers in Amsterdam for what promises to be a rich and engaging event for the security and fire safety sectors.’’ Vanderbilt and Comnet to engage at IFSEC Europe IFSEC has been important for Vanderbilt and ComNet in reaching our UK customers" Sam Lord, Events Manager Vanderbilt International (UK) Limited, said ‘’IFSEC Europe is a new opportunity for Vanderbilt and ComNet to engage with our key European commercial partners in one of the world’s favorite cities, and an exciting prospect for us to showcase our world leading technologies. IFSEC has been important for Vanderbilt and ComNet in reaching our UK customers and we welcome this strategic decision to expand the show’s influence into Europe.’’ Jim Ludwig, Managing Director, Texecom Ltd., said ‘’Texecom is pleased to endorse and support the news that IFSEC Europe is coming to Amsterdam in September 2021. We have strong business partnerships across the whole of Europe so an event of IFSEC’s stature coming across to the Continent provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet with our partners and colleagues from key European markets. Texecom has enjoyed a long association with IFSEC for many years supporting various events in the UK, South East Asia and India so we’re looking forward to being a major participant at IFSEC Europe 2021.’’ Euralarm and Carrier excited about IFSEC Europe Martin Harvey, President, Euralarm, said ‘’Euralarm is excited to hear that IFSEC is coming to Amsterdam in 2021. As a dedicated and committed European organization focused on the fire and security sectors, the event will provide us with a significant opportunity to engage with industry and market stakeholders in a truly focused way.’’ We are excited to learn that IFSEC is taking a strategic decision to expand into Europe" Kris Somers, Strategic Marketing & Communications Director, Carrier, said “We are excited to learn that IFSEC is taking a strategic decision to expand into Europe. As a long standing participant to IFSEC in London, we welcome the launch of IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam in 2021. It will provide an opportunity for leading stakeholders to engage with customers in a highly focused environment. As a global fire and security company providing the technology and solutions that protect and save lives, Carrier looks forward to exploring the potential this event has to offer.” Dahua and BSIA promote IFSEC Europe Lilia Zhang, General Manager, Dahua UK Limited, said ‘’Dahua is fully supportive of the launch of IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam. We have a proven and successful relationship with IFSEC in the UK so we’re excited to see this new development arriving in 2021.” Mike Reddington, CEO, BSIA, said ‘’BSIA and IFSEC have a strong and long-standing relationship which goes back many years, so we’re naturally excited to support the launch of IFSEC Europe in 2021. In view of the UK security industry’s export relationship with Europe, it is vital that its official trade association is taking a leading role at this new event and we look forward to working with our members at IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam.’’
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