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Access control and door entry is a huge responsibility, and challenge, for local authorities and housing associations UK wide. For councils, they’re accountable for the security and safety of many public facilities such as leisure centers, libraries as well as residential housing developments which are often large scale and home to hundreds of people. Housing associations manage affordable rental housing which also means they’re responsible for the appropriate access control management for each individual house or apartment. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage. For example, with modern intercom and access control systems, remote management and communication is something that offers local authorities and housing associations features that enable them to reduce costs and cut their carbon footprints by managing multiple sites from one place. On the other hand, such technological innovation has meant that local authority and housing association specifiers and consultants now have a wide range of systems and products to choose from which can cause issues in ensuring the right system for a specific building or development is chosen. Choosing an appropritate access control system In choosing an appropriate system, local authorities and housing associations need to opt for a cost effective solution that can be easily maintained with excellent support from the manufacturer and guarantees that the system and system parts will remain supported for the duration of its expected life cycle. It is also important that the chosen system is flexible to cater for the varying needs of the tenants and visitors. Of increasing importance is the reduction of anti-social behavior which new technology can help by providing the use of data loggers which track the use and events of a door entry system, allowing specific evidence to be located by integrating with CCTV. Using technology to our advantage Through advancements in management systems and services, we can gain a much better visual representation of the events and general usage of an intercom entry system and not just its proximity access control. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management. We are now able to modify user rights and access levels on the go from a mobile app which enables a much greater control over service and maintenance engineers, such as making sure they have full access when required via an app, rather than arriving to site with the incorrect keys or access fob. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management Dealing with tenant’s lost and stolen keys has never been so easy either. The blocking or deletion of lost fobs and adding a new fob can be carried out in minutes while at the same time removing the cost of sending an engineer to the development to program new fobs. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the whole task as fobs can now be sent out via mail to a secure location for collection. Technology has also helped local authorities and housing associations to overcome the issue of not being able to have a concierge or building manager available 24/7 at some developments. Now with internet communication, it’s possible for tenants and visitors to get in touch with someone should they need assistance, whether that’s from within the apartment or from an entrance point. For example, lets take the Videx VX2200 with IP concierge integration. This system is exceptionally flexible, enabling calls to be answered on Videx intercoms and also mobile phones if required. With the integration of the IP concierge each block can be either standalone or networked via the internet back to a central control room. Reduced maintenance costs and carbon footprint We work with a wide range of local authorities and housing associations to help them overcome access control and door entry challenges. One organization we have recently partnered with is The Living Group to help them greatly reduce their maintenance costs and carbon footprint by installing the MiAccess offline proximity system on many of their developments across the North East. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage By installing an appropriate system, The Living Group has managed to overcome issues caused by the existing system’s limitations and also enabled much more flexibility when it comes to effectively managing the access control system of all their included developments. For those responsible for effective and appropriate access control, the management of the systems are easier, quicker and there’s no delay or on-going costs for needing a specialist program to modify fobs and access rights as this can now all carried out in-house. Improved security legislation Further advancements in programmes such as Secured by Design (SBD), a police initiative that improves the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work and visit, means that there’s more security legislation being implemented that’s making intercoms and access control more secure, without affecting ease and convenience. Videx holds an SBD accreditation and we know, from first-hand experience, how it’s making a difference in keeping tenants safe. When you combine the safety features promoted by an SBD member company like ourselves with the likes of the Videx event logging, image capture and ability to modify access users on the go, for example, we can help to create a very safe and secure environment. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation Technology has completely transformed the way local authorities and housing association are able to choose, install and manage door entry and access control systems for tenants and visitors alike. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation such as Secured by Design to ensure all councils and housing association consultants are up to date with what constitutes a robust and secure system that’s also cost effective too. In my role, I see weaknesses in systems and constant ongoing costs that could easily be avoided. For instance, features such as timed remote entry means local authority and housing association management no longer need to worry about keys being lost, the wrong keys being supplied or locks needing to be changed. With new systems such as the Videx MiAccess and Videx WS4 range, we can help to massively reduce a housing association’s or council’s carbon footprint and engineer costs by allowing them the access to management and control from an offsite location. Crime prevention We can also use live and logged events to help prevent crime in different ways, from antisocial behavior growing around a tenant being called or visited much more regularly than others, to knowing a tenant is currently still living at a property but isn’t paying rent or answering to any correspondence. Technology enables local authorities and housing associations to receive detailed data and therefore behavioral insights on the people under their management and care. If consultants and specifiers are advised on the most appropriate systems that meet their specific entry needs, they can ensure greater, safer and more convenient access control that meets the requirements of both the end user and the those responsible for its effective management.
Construction site theft can cause project delays, property damage and loss of profit for companies in the construction sector. It is imperative to deter thieves from targeting construction sites with the help of construction site security. Here, we look into the various security options and how they can help protect your firm from the threat of a break-in. Construction theft has soared during the COVID-19 Pandemic Construction site theft is an ever-increasing problem in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £800 million ($1,040 million) per year. Unfortunately, this type of crime has accelerated further throughout lockdown by an estimated 50% due to the abandonment of construction sites across the UK. With many uncertainties around a potential second wave in the UK, it is time for construction firms to enhance their security strategies to help prevent thieves from becoming opportunists on construction sites. Why are construction sites ‘easy’ targets? Construction sites can easily be targeted, as they typically lack adequate security loss prevention practices. The most popular security-related issues that are leading causes of construction site theft are: Poor overall site security Multiple pieces of equipment sharing the same keys Easy access to open cabs Unsecured sites, particularly at night and over weekends Lack of product identification systems If you do not want your site becoming a costly statistic, you might want to try implementing some or all of these preventive measures. Strengthen your perimeter Putting a clear boundary around a construction site will help to prevent youths and members of the public from inadvertently wandering onto the site. To stop opportunist thieves in their tracks, you will need to go one step further by erecting robust fencing and concrete blocks along with signage warning intruders about the consequences of trespassing. Putting a clear boundary around a construction site will help to prevent youths and members of the public from inadvertently wandering onto the siteIf potential trespassers can see that it would be too challenging to attempt a break-in, then they will look elsewhere to find another construction site which is not as well secured. Lock away valuable tools When considering the vulnerabilities in your construction site, it pays to think about this from the perspective of a criminal. What is it exactly that they are looking for? What can a thief steal easily to make money if they were to remove something from your site? Unfortunately, many construction firms do not lock away their tools, materials or vehicles properly, which makes them an easy target. Ensure valuable tools and materials are locked away and are not left unsecured or lying around. Criminals are mostly interested in scaffolding, bowsers and other valuables that are quick to sell on, so it is important to have a strategy in place to keep these locked away, safe and securely. Put tracking devices in your equipment If you are unable to securely lock away valuable tools, then modern technology makes securing equipment easier than ever before. Tracking devices can be installed onto vehicles and equipment; if any thief is unwise enough to steal from the site, site owners will be able to provide the location to the police who will be able to follow this up. Site owners should also engrave company identification numbers on valuable tools, equipment and vehicles so that it can easily be identified and will serve as proof who it rightly belongs to. Invest in CCTV Closed Circuit Television, otherwise known as CCTV, is renowned for being one of the most effective deterrents for thieves, especially when it comes to construction and building sites.The items that criminals steal from sites are notoriously hard to trace The items that criminals steal from sites are notoriously hard to trace, but if you have CCTV, there is a chance that you can capture clear footage to help bring criminals to justice, such as footage of the vehicle used and the car licence plate. CCTV cameras can help to oversee every inch of a construction site, and can even be hidden out of sight where required. Step up with regular site patrols With a wide range of security monitoring methods available, stepping up on regular site patrols can help to keep track and respond to any criminal activity taking place on your site. Traditional site patrols can be carried out on a schedule by professional SIA-approved security agents. With the presence of guards patrolling a construction site, any criminals in the area will be deterred to force entry onto the site. Schedule supply deliveries on an as-needed basis To prevent an excess of supplies ‘sitting around’ on the site, construction site managers should instead order what is needed at the time, so that valuable materials are not left around waiting to be stolen for weeks at a time. Good planning and excellent communication between the team will be required so that projects are not delayed, but planning accordingly will help to reduce the chances of theft on a construction site. Drone surveillance As technology becomes more and more advance, drone surveillance may soon be a security option that many construction sites could benefit from.Many construction firms in the UK are using drone services to provide aerial images, and are seeing huge cost savings by either purchasing and operating their own drones or by hiring out the work to a company equipped to provide imaging.As technology becomes more and more advanced, drone surveillance may soon be a security option With surveillance drones already handling tasks like mapping and surveying of construction sites, one day they may be able to patrol construction sites at night, equipped with motion sensors and infrared or night vision cameras; They could be automatically deployed from a charging station and fly along a pre-programmed route at regular intervals. One to keep an eye on for the near future! Construction site security to help protect your site If you are ready to tighten security on your own construction site, then your starting point will be to identify your main vulnerabilities and get in touch with a reputable security specialist.
The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorization and the appropriate credentials. The access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customized and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms powers continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.
The Very Group is the UK’s largest integrated digital retailer and financial services provider. It offers 1,900 brands to its four million customers. Due to the company’s growth, it built a new state-of-the-art fulfilment center - close to one million square feet - to centralize operations and drive efficiency. The Very Group has historically operated from three fulfilment centers in the north of England. Due to the business’ growth, it needed a new, purpose-built and automated facility in a central, well connected location; that could accommodate all one-man fulfilment and returns operations on one site, and that provided room for continued expansion. The space offered by the new site in the East Midlands means that The Very Group can process more orders and use new technology to make the business more responsive, reducing the time it takes to get products to customers. Support business growth The site’s position in the East Midlands, adjacent to the M1 and East Midlands Airport, with its own rail freight terminal, will enable the business to increase its cut-off time for next day delivery to midnight from 7pm, and explore the introduction of same day delivery in the future. A crucial aspect of the new hub was security - with the need to not only secure the site and the stock inside, but implement solutions which would benefit the wider business too. The Very Group required a platform which could provide the business-wide value it was seeking The Very Group required a platform which could unite operations and provide the business-wide value it was seeking. The company approached Grantfen, initially on a consultancy basis, to guide the organization on the route it should be taking and the technologies that could support its ambition. Grantfen quickly recognized the scope of The Very Group’s ambitions for a platform that was easy-to-use and that could bring together information from hundreds of different sensors and technologies. Incorporating video surveillance It put forward a comprehensive solution built on the Genetec Security Center unified platform. Incorporating video surveillance and analytics, access control, automatic number plate recognition and integration with other key business systems, this allowed The Very Group to deploy best of breed technologies from a range of vendors including HID Global, Axis Communications and SenStar. Perhaps the most important solution needed was tracking who was coming in and out of the building - with such a large workforce, combined with inbound and outbound deliveries, the facility has hundreds of people inside at any one time. Previously, security manually searched people selected at random. However, thanks to the robust Genetec software development kit, and Grantfen’s specialist development expertise, The Very Group has been able to adapt the solution and write its own code in order to use the access control system to implement truly random searches. Number plate recognition This has involved getting permission to hold employee data, but again, thanks to the new system brought together by Security Center, the data is housed safely. Moving from three fulfilment centers into one, consolidated facility meant a change in operations for The Very Group, and security needed to mirror this evolution. Therefore, with the volume of traffic coming in and out of the site increasing, The Very Group implemented automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). Heavy goods vehicles could be monitored coming in and out of the site, enabling those in the diary to enter and exit the grounds in an efficient manner. Plus, with timestamps now able to show when vehicles entered or exited the grounds, it helped with yard management and traffic flow, with Security Center able to generate reports on how traffic is moving around the yard. Employees are able to take advantage too - with the ANPR recognizing them and seamlessly letting them into the parking lot. Health and safety standards The opening of Skygate, our new fulfilment center, means a new era for the group" This enhanced integration has benefitted other areas of the business too. The CCTV control room is now able to monitor fulfilment center flow, looking at movements such as trailers, to help maximize efficiencies and ensure high health and safety standards. Dean Cooper, Head of Security at The Very Group, commented: “The opening of Skygate, our new fulfilment center, means a new era for the group. We are a digitally-led business, and the fact we are now able to enhance operations and yield more value from security functions is going to help us operationally. Genetec and Grantfen have played a huge part in accelerating our sophistication in this area, and I look forward to how we can gain increasing insights from all the technology has to offer.” Deep integration and analytics While the roll-out has been relatively recent, the positive effects are already being felt across the business. This has led to future plans about what else could be introduced - all underpinned by Genetec Security Center. “Genetec Security Center is helping to improve inter-departmental collaboration thanks to its reporting functions, alongside benefiting operations and ensuring the security of the facility. We are an ambitious business, and as we grow we need a system that will continue to evolve with our requirements. Genetec enables this, and alongside its deep integration and leading analytics, we look forward to continuing the partnership over years to come”, concluded Cooper.
As an industry, we often speak in buzzwords. In addition to being catchy and easy to remember, these new and trendy industry terms can also reflect the state of the security market’s technology. In short, the latest buzzwords provide a kind of shorthand description of where the industry is - and where it’s going. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new buzzword(s) rose to prominence in the security industry in 2020? (And how do they reflect industry trends?)
The Security Industry Association (SIA) has named five young security professionals as the recipients of the 2021 SIA RISE Scholarship, a program offered through SIA’s RISE community, which supports the education and career development goals of young industry talent. Through this scholarship program, open to SIA student members and RISE members who are employees at SIA member companies each awardee will receive a $3,000 scholarship to use toward continuing education and professional development courses, SIA program offerings and/or other academic or education programs. Scholarship funds can be used to expand knowledge in the areas of business, human resources (HR), information technology (IT), marketing, sales, project management, security engineering, and/or risk management. Young security professionals “The 2021 SIA RISE Scholarship awardees are an extraordinary group of young security professionals who represent tomorrow’s industry leaders,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson. “SIA is proud to help foster the careers of these talented honourees, and I look forward to seeing their many accomplishments and successes to come.” Winners for the 2021 SIA RISE Scholarship Nadim Hammoud, Software Developer, Feenics As a key member of the software development at Feenics, Nadim Hammoud has contributed to multiple new features in production and bug fixes, built proofs of concept for prospective clients, and contributed new tests to the automated testing of the company’s web API. Hammoud plans to use the SIA RISE Scholarship funds toward a computer and network security course and certification in AI He has a strong interest in the latest technologies, including cloud computing and machine learning. Prior to his time at Feenics, Hammoud served as a teaching assistant at Carleton University and held engineering and software development positions at Bertrandt and Tactical Technologies Inc. He holds bachelor’s degrees in computer science and biomedical and mechanical engineering from Carleton University. Hammoud plans to use the SIA RISE Scholarship funds toward a computer and network security course, a professional certification in the field of artificial intelligence, and attendance at industry events. Olivia Peralta, Account Executive, Allegion In her role as an account executive at Allegion, Olivia Peralta works with teams around the world to plan and sell access control projects – from teaching the company’s security software to implementing hardware installations hosted on the cloud for physical security end-users. Prior to her time at Allegion, she served as an account executive at ISONAS Access Control and completed communications internships at Western Resource Advocates and the Oregon Natural Desert Association. She holds bachelor’s degrees in environmental sciences and communication and environmental studies from Northern Arizona University and a continuing education certification from Colorado Water Education’s Water Educator Network and is IPVM University Access Control certified. Peralta plans to use the scholarship funds toward earning SIA’s Certified Security Project Manager certification and pursuing an education that bridges the gap between strategy, design, and product delivery. Matthew Rios, Regional Sales Manager, Axis Communications Rios plans to use the scholarship funds toward completing the EC-Council MasterClass Certified Ethical Hacker certification In his role at Axis Communications, Matthew Rios promotes the use of IP video and Axis cameras to integrators, distributors, consultants, and end-users and maintains fluid and enthusiastic relationships with current and prospective customers. Prior to his time at Axis Communications, Rios held sales management roles at Hanwha Techwin America, Honeywell, and R&D Lock and Alarm. He holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity from Fordham University and a bachelor’s degree in the homeland and corporate security from St. John’s University. Rios plans to use the scholarship funds toward completing the EC-Council MasterClass Certified Ethical Hacker certification. Mary Sharp, HRA, Stanley Access Technologies As a key member of the HR team at Stanley Access Technologies, Mary Sharp is responsible for over 220 professional hourly, non-union service and install technicians and provides support on major change management and organization redesign efforts and issues pertaining to team cohesiveness, dynamics, and management. Prior to her time at Stanley Access Technologies, she held HR and administrative roles at Stanley Healthcare, Infrasource Underground Construction, and Frontline Private Security. She holds a bachelor’s degree in ethics and public policy from the University of Iowa. Sharp will use the scholarship funds toward obtaining the Society for Human Resource Management’s SHRM-CP certification. Trevor Zuerlein, System Designer, VTI Security Zuerlein plans to use the scholarship funds to pursue further education in IT, become a member of (ISC)², and to earn CISSP credentialTrevor Zuerlein started at VTI Security in 2017 as a security systems technician and now serves as a system engineer; Zuerlein is skilled in access control security systems, security cameras, computer repair, computer science, technical writing, and AC/DC electronics. Before his time at VTI Security, he held IT and sales roles with Time Warner Cable, Mead Lumber, and Archer Daniels Midland Company. Zuerlein holds an associate’s degree in information technology from Central Community College. He plans to use the scholarship funds to pursue further education in the IT field, become a member of (ISC)², and work toward his goal of earning the Certified Information Systems Security Professional credential. Networking events SIA RISE is a community that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security industry. In addition to awarding the annual SIA RISE Scholarship, SIA RISE offers fun networking events for young professionals, created the RISE Microlearning Series of mini-webinars on top professional development topics, hosts career growth webinars and trade show education tracks. Mentorship program The recently launched the Talent Inclusion Mentorship Education (TIME) mentorship program for early and mid-career professionals in the security industry and presents the annual AcceleRISE conference, an essential experience designed to ignite new thinking, strengthen leadership and sharpen business acumen in young security talent. RISE is available to all employees at SIA member companies who are young professionals under 40 or have been in the security industry for less than two years.
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