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Though many office workers across the globe have found themselves working remotely for the past year, we are seeing a bit of a silver lining, as vaccine rollouts hint at a return to some pre-pandemic sense of normalcy. However, while some of us might opt for a fully-remote work life, others are anticipating a hybrid solution. Even before the pandemic, offices were taking a new, more open layout approach—moving past the days of cubicles and small office configurations. Going forward, offices and other workspaces will be tasked with supporting a hybrid work solution, as well as increasing hygiene measures. Video intercom solution This is where an IP video intercom solution can assist. Below are four ways they can help usher in a smarter, safer work environment: Video intercoms assist in creating a more hygienic work environment - The outbreak of COVID-19 has raised awareness of germs and just how easily a virus can be transmitted by face-to-face contact. Germ barriers are popping up in many aspects of our daily lives, where we were not likely to see them before Unfortunately, the door is also the easiest of these germ barriers to breach As such, we’re becoming accustomed to seeing plexiglass barriers at restaurants, grocery stores, and even coffee shops. However, many don’t realize that one of the best germ barriers is a simple door. Unfortunately, the door is also the easiest of these germ barriers to breach. All it takes is a knock or a doorbell ring to make us open our germ barrier and be face-to-face with whomever is on the other side. Increasing hygiene safety A simple step to increase hygiene safety and visitor security in commercial buildings and workspaces is an IP video intercom. Installing a video intercom will allow staff to see and speak with visitors without breaching that all-important germ barrier. A video intercom system provides a first line of defense, enabling the user to visually confirm the identity of the person on the other side of the door first before granting access. It can also be used to make sure proper procedures are being followed before a person is allowed to enter, such as using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask, and following social distancing guidelines. Basic security needs A major topic of conversation the past year has been how to manage occupancy in all facilities Video intercoms for occupancy management and basic security - A major topic of conversation the past year has been how to manage occupancy in all facilities—ranging from grocery stores and retail shops to restaurants and commercial buildings. Workspaces and offices are no exception. A video intercom provides a quick and convenient method of seeing who, or what, is on the unsecure side of the door before opening. For basic security needs, if a business has a door opening into an alley, a video intercom would be used to ensure no one is waiting outside to force their way in when the door is opened. Personal protection equipment Such solutions can also be used to ensure a person is carrying proper credentials, or wearing proper personal protection equipment (PPE), before entering a sensitive area. For example, if a lab has a room which can only be accessed by two persons at a time wearing specific protective gear, a video intercom could ensure each person is properly equipped, before allowing access that particular room. Additionally, for office or workspaces that have shared common areas, such as a cafeteria, gym or even conference rooms, managing access to these spaces will remain a priority, especially with post-pandemic restrictions in place. Video intercoms are a comprehensive safety and security tool for any workspace Deliveries of packages, work-related materials, or even food are common in any office or workspace. Video intercoms can assist in facilitating safe deliveries by visually and audibly confirming the identity of the individual. The visitor could be your next big client, your lunch delivery, a fellow employee with a faulty access card, or your mail. Video intercoms are a comprehensive safety and security tool for any workspace. Visitor management systems Video intercoms provide a cost-effective solution in small to mid-sized office facilities - One significant advantage of video intercom systems is the variety of applications available. Systems range from simple one-to-one video intercoms, to buzz-in systems, to full-fledged visitor management systems in mixed-use buildings. While they might lack the resources and manpower many enterprises have, small-to medium-sized offices can also take steps to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. Like any business, controlling who comes into the building is a primary way of maintaining safety. Video intercoms work in conjunction with access control systems to provide an identifying view of visitors or employees with lost or missing credentials. They allow staff to both see and hear those on the unsecured side of the door to determine intent before granting access. Most quality video intercoms will provide a clear enough image to allow an identification card to be read by holding it close to the lens, adding another opportunity to verify identity. Touchless intercom activation One major trend is the option of providing a touchless door activation Video intercoms provide a touchless option - Even prior to COVID-19, one major trend is the option of providing a touchless door activation or touchless intercom activation of a video intercom for those without proper credentials. Though touchless isn’t a new solution to the access control market, the pandemic introduced a renewed focus on these types of solutions to provide hygienic access to visitors. For offices and other workspaces looking to make investments into post-pandemic solutions to assist in reopening, touchless can support these efforts. When it comes to smart, secure workspaces, many people think instantly of cameras or monitors, access control, and alarm systems. Proper access credentials However, video intercoms are often the missing piece of a building’s security puzzle. A video intercom provides an identifying view that is not always available from a camera covering a large area. They allow those without proper access credentials a method of requesting entry, and just like cameras, they can be activated by alarms to allow staff to clearly see and communicate. If a workspace or office is important enough to be secure, it’s important enough to be sure of who is there before the door is opened. In 2021, it’s not enough to ensure the physical security of your staff and visitors, but also to ensure they are accessing a hygienic environment. Video intercoms provide that security and peace of mind.
Insider threat programs started with counter-espionage cases in the government. Today, insider threat programs have become a more common practice in all industries, as companies understand the risks associated with not having one. To build a program, you must first understand what an insider threat is. An insider threat is an employee, contractor, visitor or other insider who have been granted physical or logical access to a company that can cause extensive damage. Damage ranges from emotional or physical injury, to personnel, financial and reputational loss to data loss/manipulation or destruction of assets. Financial and confidential information While malicious insiders only make up 22% of the threats, they have the most impact on an organization Most threats are derived from the accidental insider. For example, it’s the person who is working on a competitive sales pitch on an airplane and is plugging in financial and confidential information. They are working hard, yet their company’s information is exposed to everyone around them. Another type of insider, the compromised insider, is the person who accidentally downloaded malware when clicking on a fake, urgent email, exposing their information. Malicious insiders cause the greatest concerns. These are the rogue employees who may feel threatened. They may turn violent or take action to damage the company. Or you have the criminal actor employees who are truly malicious and have been hired or bribed by another company to gather intel. Their goal is to gather data and assets to cause damage for a specific purpose. While malicious insiders only make up 22% of the threats, they have the most impact on an organization. They can cause brand and financial damage, along with physical and mental damage. Insider threat program Once you determine you need an insider threat program, you need to build a business case and support it with requirements. Depending on your industry, you can start with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, NERC CIP, PCI, etc. Talk to your regulator and get their input. Everyone needs to be onboard, understand the intricacies of enacting a program Next, get a top to bottom risk assessment to learn your organization’s risks. A risk assessment will help you prioritize your risks and provide recommendations about what you need to include in your program. Begin by meeting with senior leadership, including your CEO to discuss expectations. Creating an insider threat program will change the company culture, and the CEO must understand the gravity of his/her decision before moving forward. Everyone needs to be onboard, understand the intricacies of enacting a program and support it before its implemented. Determining the level of monitoring The size and complexity of your company will determine the type of program needed. One size does not fit all. It will determine what technologies are required and how much personnel is needed to execute the program. The company must determine what level of monitoring is needed to meet their goals. After the leadership team decides, form a steering committee that includes someone from legal, HR and IT. Other departments can join as necessary. This team sets up the structure, lays out the plan, determines the budget and what type of technologies are needed. For small companies, the best value is education. Educate your employees about the program, build the culture and promote awareness. Teach employees about the behaviors you are looking for and how to report them. Behavioral analysis software Every company is different and you need to determine what will gain employee support The steering committee will need to decide what is out of scope. Every company is different and you need to determine what will gain employee support. The tools put in place cannot monitor employee productivity (web surfing). That is out of scope and will disrupt the company culture. What technology does your organization need to detect insider threats? Organizations need software solutions that monitor, aggregate and analyze data to identify potential threats. Behavioral analysis software looks at patterns of behavior and identifies anomalies. Use business intelligence/data analytics solutions to solve this challenge. This solution learns the normal behavior of people and notifies security staff when behavior changes. This is done by setting a set risk score. Once the score crosses a determined threshold, an alert is triggered. Case and incident management tools Predictive analytics technology reviews behaviors and identifies sensitive areas of companies (pharmacies, server rooms) or files (HR, finance, development). If it sees anomalous behavior, it can predict behaviours. It can determine if someone is going to take data. It helps companies take steps to get ahead of bad behavior. If an employee sends hostile emails, they are picked up and an alert is triggered User sentiment detection software can work in real time. If an employee sends hostile emails, they are picked up and an alert is triggered. The SOC and HR are notified and security dispatched. Depending on how a company has this process set-up, it could potentially save lives. Now that your organization has all this data, how do you pull it together? Case and incident management tools can pool data points and create threat dashboards. Cyber detection system with access control An integrated security system is recommended to be successful. It will eliminate bubbles and share data to see real-time patterns. If HR, security and compliance departments are doing investigations, they can consolidate systems into the same tool to have better data aggregation. Companies can link their IT/cyber detection system with access control. Deploying a true, integrated, open system provides a better insider threat program. Big companies should invest in trained counterintelligence investigators to operate the program. They can help identify the sensitive areas, identify who the people are that have the most access to them, or are in a position to do the greatest amount of harm to the company and who to put mitigation plans around to protect them. They also run the investigations. Potential risky behavior Using the right technology along with thorough processes will result in a successful program You need to detect which individuals are interacting with information systems that pose the greatest potential risk. You need to rapidly and thoroughly understand the user’s potential risky behavior and the context around it. Context is important. You need to decide what to investigate and make it clear to employees. Otherwise you will create a negative culture at your company. Develop a security-aware culture. Involve the crowd. Get an app so if someone sees something they can say something. IT should not run the insider threat program. IT is the most privileged department in an organization. If something goes wrong with an IT person, they have the most ability to do harm and cover their tracks. They need to be an important partner, but don’t let them have ownership and don’t let their administrators have access. Educating your employees and creating a positive culture around an insider threat program takes time and patience. Using the right technology along with thorough processes will result in a successful program. It’s okay to start small and build.
Today, the world is connected like never before. Your watch is connected to your phone, which is connected to your tablet and so on. As we’ve begun to embrace this ‘smart’ lifestyle, what we’re really embracing is the integration of systems. Why do we connect our devices? The simplest answer is that it makes life easier. But, if that’s the case, why stop at our own personal devices? Connection, when applied to a business’ operations, is no different: it lowers effort and expedites decision making. Integrating security systems Systems integration takes the idea of connected devices and applies it to an enterprise Systems integration takes the idea of connected devices and applies it to an enterprise, bringing disparate subcomponents into a single ecosystem. This could mean adding a new, overarching system to pull and collect data from existing subsystems, or adapting an existing system to serve as a data collection hub. Regardless of the method, the purpose is to create a single, unified view. Ultimately, it’s about simplifying processes, gaining actionable insights into operations and facilitating efficient decision-making. Although integration is becoming the new norm in other areas of life, businesses often opt out of integrating security systems because of misconceptions about the time and resources required to successfully make the change. So, instead of a streamlined operation, the various security systems and devices are siloed, not communicating with each other and typically being run by different teams within an organization. Time-Intensive process When systems are not integrated, companies face a wide range of risks driven by a lack of transparency and information sharing, including actual loss of property or assets. For example, a team in charge of access control is alerted to a door being opened in the middle of the night but can’t see what exactly is taking place through video surveillance. Without integrated systems they have no way of knowing if it was a burglar, an equipment malfunction or a gust of wind. Without integration between systems and teams, the ability to quickly put the right pieces in front of decision makers is missing. Instead, the team would have to go back and manually look for footage that corresponds with the time a door was open to figure out which door it was, who opened it and what happened after, which can be a time-intensive process. Integrating access control and surveillance systems Theft and vandalism occur quickly, meaning systems and users must work faster in order to prevent it This slowed response time adds risk to the system. Theft and vandalism occur quickly, meaning systems and users must work faster in order to prevent it. Security systems can do more than communicate that theft or vandalism occurred. Properly integrated, these systems alert users of pre-incident indicators before an event happens or deter events altogether. This gives teams and decision makers more time to make effective decisions. Integrating access control and surveillance systems allows for a more proactive approach. If a door is opened when it’s not supposed to be, an integrated system enables users to quickly see what door was opened, who opened it and make a quick decision. Integrated solutions are more effective, more efficient and help drive cost-saving decisions. Ideally, companies should establish integrated solutions from the start of operations. This allows companies to anticipate problems and adjust accordingly instead of reacting after an incident has occurred. Security camera system Although starting from the beginning is the best way to ensure comprehensive security, many companies have existing security systems, requiring integration and implementation to bring them together. Typically, companies with established security systems worry about the impact to infrastructure requirements. Is additional infrastructure necessary? How and where should it be added? What financial or human resources are required? These concerns drive a mentality that the benefits gained from an integrated solution aren’t worth the costs of implementation. Thankfully, this is becoming less of a problem as security providers, like Twenty20™ Solutions, work to offer adaptable solutions. With flexible options, operators don’t worry about adding or replacing infrastructure to align with a provider’s model. This allows users to monitor camera footage and gate traffic from one system If a company has an existing security camera system, but identifies a need for access control, a modern integrated solution provider can supply the gates for access points and equip the gates and cameras with the technology to connect the two. This allows users to monitor camera footage and gate traffic from one system. This model also spares operators additional costs by using a sole vendor for supplemental needs. Overall management of security While a single, unified system is beneficial for cost saving, it can also help the overall management of security. The ability to view all operating systems in one dashboard allows security personnel to manage a site from any location, reducing the expense and effort required to manage a system. The mobile world today means security directors no longer need to be in a centralized operations center to see alerts and make decisions. This simplifies processes by allowing users to quickly see an alert, pull up a camera, delete a user or check an access log from a phone. Modern networks are secure and accessible to those with permissions, without requiring those users to be physically present. Consolidating security systems is the first step companies can take toward streamlining work, information and costs. The next step is integrating all sites, both remote and on-grid. Energy and communication technology The integration of sites and systems turns mountains of data and information into actionable intelligence Traditional methods demanded two systems: one for on-grid facilities and another for off-grid locations. With advancements in energy and communication technology, the need for multiple systems is gone. Data from remote sites can be safely and securely fed into an existing system. These remote locations may gather, distribute and manage data in a different manner than a connected system due to the cost of transmission via remote connections (i.e., cellular or satellite connection). The end result, however, is a consistent and holistic view of operations for the decision maker. The integration of sites and systems turns mountains of data and information into actionable intelligence. With connected devices monitoring occurrences at individual sites, as well as events across locations, the data tells a story that is unhindered by operational silos or physical space. Identifying patterns and trends Instead of providing 10 hours-worth of footage that may or may not be relevant, system analytics can provide users with the specific set of information they need. Incidents once discarded as ‘one-off’ events can now be analyzed and data-mapped to identify patterns and trends, directing future resources to the most critical areas first. Consumers are increasingly expecting everything they need to be right where they need it – and businesses are right behind them. The current generation of security professionals are increasingly expecting the simplicity of their everyday personal tasks to be mirrored in enterprise systems, which means giving them the ability to see what matters in one place. A unified system can provide just that, a single view to help simplify processes, promote cost saving and accelerate decision making.
Reliance High-Tech, the foremost independent security technology integrator, has announced a new partnership with AMAG Technology. It is the latest move in Reliance High-Tech’s on-going strategy to give its customers access to best-in-class security solutions that create ever more intelligent buildings while allowing organizations to effectively transform their operations and offer occupants the highest levels of protection. AMAG Technology is a global provider of powerful and diverse unified security solutions. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, at the heart of the company’s offering is Symmetry – a unique software platform that delivers a flexible end-to-end solution comprising access control and video surveillance, along with intrusion, identity, visitor and incident management. Its analytics system, Symmetry Business Intelligence also gathers and analyses reliable, actionable data to help end-users make better business decisions to mitigate risk, reduce cost and ensure compliance. AMAG also offers a mobile access control solution to companies ready to transition to smart cards or using their cell phone to gain access to doors. Symmetry Business Intelligence “Symmetry is designed to be scalable and meet the needs of organizations across a wide range of vertical sectors – from small to medium sized enterprises, multinational corporations and government through to education, healthcare, finance and banking, data centers, utilities, critical national infrastructure, and logistics,” explained Mark Williams, Director of Sales, EMEA at AMAG Technology. “The combination of Symmetry’s pioneering technology and Reliance High-Tech’s security and IT expertise means that its customers can now benefit from a solution that offers protection for today but has the capacity to grow to meet the needs of tomorrow.” Microsoft Gold Partner AMAG Technology's Symmetry recognized as one of the Best Business Tools of 2019AMAG Technology has received numerous plaudits for its technological innovation, with Newsweek recognizing Symmetry as one of the Best Business Tools of 2019. Just as importantly, AMAG Technology is a Microsoft Gold Partner for Application Development and Symmetry, so is, therefore, able to meet the demanding expectations of IT teams that are keen to eliminate any network vulnerabilities. Although, it can be fully integrated with third-party components and has a fully open Application Programming Interface (API), one of the key advantages of Symmetry is that it is a truly end-to-end system that features a wide range of advanced applications as standard. For Reliance High-Tech this negates having to integrate numerous disparate components and platforms, and when one component is updated all other elements are taken into consideration. This ensures that the whole solution continues to work seamlessly at all times, guaranteeing reliability and maximum uptime for the end-user in an easily deployed and maintained system. Unified security solution Alistair Enser, Reliance High-Tech’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), commented, “AMAG Technology has an enviable reputation for what it has achieved with Symmetry and I’m delighted that we are now able to work together as partners.” “As the worlds of IT and security become more integrated, it allows us to fully implement our considerable expertise in both areas to provide a comprehensive unified security solution for the UK market. It is all part of our commitment to solving business challenges through the application of intelligent solutions.”
What a year 2020 was for the security industry! There were vast challenges that could not have been foreseen at the beginning of the year. It is safe to say that the events of 2020 defied all industry prognosticators. However, is that any reason not to hope our expectations looking ahead to 2021 will be much closer to reality? Can we possibly benefit from looking ahead and trying to plan for the challenges of the year ahead? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What will be the security industry’s biggest challenge in 2021?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than a buzzword. AI is increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives, and a vital tool in the physical security industry. In 2020, AI received more attention than ever, and expanded the ways it can contribute value to physical security systems. This article will revisit some of those development at year-end, including links back to the originally published content. In the security market today, AI is expanding the use cases, making technologies more powerful and saving money on manpower costs - and today represents just the beginning of what AI can do for the industry. What it will never do, however, is completely take the place of humans in operating security systems. There is a limit to how much we are willing to turn over to machines - even the smartest ones. Beyond video analytics "Apply AI to security and now you have an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to operate proactively rather than reactively," said Jody Ross of AMAG Technology, one of our Expert Roundtable Panelists. AI made its initial splash in the physical security market by transforming the effectiveness of video analytics AI made its initial splash in the physical security market by transforming the effectiveness of video analytics. However, now there are many other applications, too, as addressed by our Expert Panel Roundtable in another article. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning provide useful tools to make sense of massive amounts of Internet of Things (IoT) data. By helping to automate low-level decision-making, the technologies can make security operators more efficient. Biometrics with access control Intelligent capabilities can expand integration options such as increasing the use of biometrics with access control. AI can also help to monitor mechanics and processes. Intelligent systems can help end users understand building occupancy and traffic patterns and even to help enforce physical distancing. These are just a few of the possible uses of the technologies - in the end, the sky is the limit. AI is undoubtedly one of the bigger disrupters in the physical security industry, and adoption is growing at a rapid rate. And it’s not just about video analytics. Rather, it is data AI, which is completely untapped by the security industry. Bottom line: AI can change up your security game by automatically deciphering information to predict the future using a wide range of sources and data that have been collected, whether past, present, and future. That’s right. You can look into the future. Smarter perimeter protection Now, Intrusion Detection (Perimeter Protection) systems with cutting-edge, built-in AI algorithms to recognize a plethora of different object types, can distinguish objects of interest, thus significantly decreasing the false-positive intrusion rate. The more advanced AI-based systems enable the users to draw ROIs based on break-in points, areas of high-valuables, and any other preference to where alerts may be beneficial. AI Loitering Detection can be used to receive alerts on suspicious activity outside any given store Similarly, AI Loitering Detection can be used to receive alerts on suspicious activity outside any given store. The loitering time and region of interest are customizable in particular systems, which allows for a range of detection options. Smart security is advancing rapidly. As AI and 4K rise in adoption on smart video cameras, these higher video resolutions are driving the demand for more data to be stored on-camera. AI and smart video promise to extract greater insights from security video. Meeting urban needs Complex, extensive camera networks will already require a large amount of data storage, particularly if this is 24/7 monitoring from smart video-enabled devices. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analyzing data. There are many more types of cameras being used today, such as body cameras, dashboard cameras, and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors. Video data is so rich nowadays, you can analyze it and deduce a lot of valuable information in real-time, instead of post-event. In smart cities applications, the challenge of identifying both physical and invisible threats to meet urban citizens’ needs will demand a security response that is proactive, adaptable and dynamic. Optimize security solutions As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new technologies, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI and machine learning technologies have already started to help optimize security solutions. In sports stadium applications, AI’s role in getting fans and spectators back after the COVID pandemic is huge, through capabilities such as social distance monitoring, crowd scanning/metrics, facial recognition, fever detection, track and trace and providing behavioral analytics. Technologies such as AI-powered collaboration platforms now work alongside National Leagues, Franchises and Governing Bodies to implement AI surveillance software into their CCTV/surveillance cameras. AI surveillance software In many ways, it’s the equivalent of a neighborhood watch program made far more intelligent through the use of AI This is now creating a more collaborative effort from the operations team in stadiums, rather than purely security. AI surveillance software, when implemented into the surveillance cameras can be accessed by designated users on any device and on any browser platform. One of the biggest advantages of using AI technology is that it’s possible to integrate this intelligent software into building smarter, safer communities and cities. Essentially, this means developing a layered system that connects multiple sensors for the detection of visible and invisible threats. Integrated systems mean that threats can be detected and tracked, with onsite and law enforcement notified faster, and possibly before an assault begins to take place. In many ways, it’s the equivalent of a neighborhood watch program made far more intelligent through the use of AI. Fighting illicit trade Using technology in this way means that thousands of people can be screened seamlessly and quickly, without invading their civil liberties or privacy. AI’s ability to detect visible or invisible threats or behavioral anomalies will prove enormously valuable to many sectors across our global economy. Revolutionary AI-driven technologies can help to fight illicit trade across markets. AI technologies in this specific application promise to help build safer and more secure communities in the future. AI can support the ongoing fight against illicit trade on a global scale in a tangible way. For financial transactions at risk of fraud and money laundering, for example, tracking has become an increasing headache if done manually. As a solution to this labor-intensive process, AI technology can be trained to follow all the compliance rules and process a large number of documents - often billions of pages of documents - in a short period of time.
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