Intruder alarm communicators - Expert commentary

Cybersecurity: What We Can Do As An Industry
Cybersecurity: What We Can Do As An Industry

In 2017, IoT-based cyberattacks increased by 600%. As the industry moves towards the mass adoption of interconnected physical security devices, end users have found a plethora of advantages, broadening the scope of traditional video surveillance solutions beyond simple safety measures. Thanks in part to these recent advancements, our physical solutions are at a higher risk than ever before. With today’s ever evolving digital landscape and the increasing complexity of physical and cyber-attacks, it’s imperative to take specific precautions to combat these threats. Video surveillance systems Cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind When you think of a video surveillance system, cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind, since digital threats are usually thought of as separate from physical security. Unfortunately, these two are becoming increasingly intertwined as intruders continue to use inventive methods in order to access an organization's assets. Hacks and data breaches are among the top cyber concerns, but many overlook the fact that weak cybersecurity practices can lead to physical danger as well. Organizations that deploy video surveillance devices paired with advanced analytics programs often leave themselves vulnerable to a breach without even realizing it. While they may be intelligent, IoT devices are soft targets that cybercriminals and hackers can easily exploit, crippling a physical security system from the inside out. Physical security manufacturers Whether looking to simply gain access to internal data, or paralyze a system prior to a physical attack, allowing hackers easy access to surveillance systems can only end poorly. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers within the security industry are trading in their traditional analog technology and moving towards interconnected devices. Due to this, security can no longer be solely focused on the physical elements and end users have taken note. The first step towards more secured solutions starts with physical security manufacturers choosing to make cybersecurity a priority for all products, from endpoint to edge and beyond. Gone are the days of end users underestimating the importance of reliability within their solutions. Manufacturers that choose to invest time and research into the development of cyber-hardening will be ahead of the curve and an asset to all. Wireless communication systems Integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future Aside from simply making the commitment to improve cyber hygiene, there are solid steps that manufacturers can take. One simple action is incorporating tools and features into devices that allow end users to more easily configure their cyber protection settings. Similarly, working with a third party to perform penetration testing on products can help to ensure the backend security of IoT devices. This gives customers peace of mind and manufacturers a competitive edge. While deficient cybersecurity standards can reflect poorly on manufacturers by installing vulnerable devices on a network, integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future. Just last year, ADT was forced to settle a $16 million class action lawsuit when the company installed an unencrypted wireless communication system that rendered an organization open to hacks. Cybersecurity services In addition, we’ve all heard of the bans, taxes and tariffs the U.S. government has recently put on certain manufacturers, depending on their country of origin and cybersecurity practices. Lawsuits aside, employing proper cybersecurity standards can give integrators a competitive advantage. With the proliferation of hacks, malware, and ransomware, integrators that can ease their client's cyber-woes are already a step ahead. By choosing to work with cybersecurity-focused manufacturers who provide clients with vulnerability testing and educate end users on best practices, integrators can not only thrive but find new sources of RMR. Education, collaboration and participation are three pillars when tackling cybersecurity from all angles. For dealers and integrators who have yet to add cybersecurity services to their business portfolios, scouting out a strategic IT partner could be the answer. Unlocking countless opportunities Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organization is the first step Physical security integrators who feel uncomfortable diving headfirst into the digital realm may find that strategically aligning themselves with an IT or cyber firm will unlock countless opportunities. By opening the door to a partnership with an IT-focused firm, integrators receive the benefit of cybersecurity insight on future projects and a new source of RMR through continued consulting with current customers. In exchange, the IT firm gains a new source of clients in an industry otherwise untapped. This is a win for all those involved. While manufacturers, dealers and integrators play a large part in the cybersecurity of physical systems, end users also play a crucial role. Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organization is the first step. Commonplace cybersecurity standards Below is a list of commonplace cybersecurity standards that all organizations should work to implement for the protection of their own video surveillance solutions: Always keep camera firmware up to date for the latest cyber protections. Change default passwords, especially those of admins, to keep the system locked to outside users. Create different user groups with separate rights to ensure all users have only the permissions they need. Set an encryption key for surveillance recordings to safeguard footage against intruders and prevent hackers from accessing a system through a backdoor. Enable notifications, whether for error codes or storage failures, to keep up to date with all systems happenings. Create/configure an OpenVPN connection for secured remote access. Check the web server log on a regular basis to see who is accessing the system. Ensure that web crawling is forbidden to prevent images or data found on your device from being made searchable. Avoid exposing devices to the internet unless strictly necessary to reduce the risk of attacks.

Security And Safety Drive Smart Building Strategies For The Future
Security And Safety Drive Smart Building Strategies For The Future

Johnson Controls recently unveiled the findings of its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey that examined the current and planned investments and key drivers to improve energy efficiency and building systems integration in facilities. Systems integration was identified as one of the top technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the implementation in smart buildings over the next five years, with respondents planning to invest in security, fire and life-safety integrations more so than any other systems integration in the next year. As advanced, connected technologies drive the evolution of smart buildings, security and safety technologies are at the center of more intelligent strategies as they attribute to overall building operations and efficiencies. SecurityInformed.com spoke with Johnson Controls, Building Solutions, North America, VP of Marketing, Hank Monaco, and Senior National Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Smart Cities, Lisa Brown, about the results of the study, smart technology investments and the benefits of a holistic building strategy that integrates security and fire and life-safety systems with core building systems. Q: What is the most striking result from the survey, and what does it mean in the context of a building’s safety and security systems? The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems Hank Monaco: Investment in building system integration increased 23 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey. When respondents were asked more specifically what systems they we planning to invest in over the next year, fire and life safety integration (61%) and security system integration (58%) were the top two priorities for organizations. The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems to improve overall operations and bolster capabilities beyond the intended function of an individual system. Q: The survey covers integration of fire, life safety and security systems as part of "smart building" systems. How do smarter buildings increase the effectiveness of security and life safety systems? Hank Monaco: A true “smart building” integrates all building systems – security, fire and life-safety, HVAC, lighting etc. – to create a connected, digital infrastructure that enables individual technologies to be more intelligent and perform more advanced functions beyond what they can do on their own. For example, when sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems, if abnormal activity is detected on the building premise, key stakeholders can be automatically alerted to increase emergency response time. With integrated video surveillance, they also gain the ability to access surveillance footage remotely to assess the situation. When sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems abnormal activity on the premise can automatically be detected Q: How can integrated security and life safety systems contribute to greater energy efficiency in a smart building environment? Hank Monaco: Security, fire and life-safety systems can help to inform other building systems about how a facility is used, high-trafficked areas and the flow of occupants within a building. Integrated building solutions produce a myriad of data that can be leveraged to increase operational efficiencies. From an energy efficiency standpoint, actionable insights are particularly useful for areas that are not frequently occupied or off-peak hours as you wouldn’t want to heat or cool an entire building for just one person coming in on the weekend. When video surveillance is integrated with HVAC and lighting systems, it can monitor occupancy in a room or hallway. The video analytics can then control the dimming of lights and the temperature depending on occupant levels in a specific vicinity. Similarly, when access control systems are integrated with these same systems, once a card is presented to the reader, it can signal the lights or HVAC system to turn on. In this example, systems integration can ultimately help enable energy savings in the long run. Security and life safety systems contribute to help enable greater energy efficiency and energy savings in the long run Q: What other benefits of integration are there (beyond the core security and life safety functions)? Hank Monaco: Beyond increased security, fire and life-safety functions, the benefits of systems integration include: Increased data and analytics to garner a holistic, streamlined understanding of how systems function and how to improve productivity Ability to track usage to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs Enhanced occupant experience and comfort Increased productivity and workflow to support business objectives Smart-ready, connected environment that can support future technology advancements Q: What lesson or action point should a building owner/operator take from the survey? How can the owner of an existing building leverage the benefits of the smart building environment incrementally and absent a complete overhaul? Lisa Brown: Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator found that 77% of organizations plan to make investments in energy efficiency and smarter building technology this year. This percentage demonstrates an increased understanding of the benefits of smart buildings and highlights the proactive efforts building owners are taking to adopt advanced technologies. There is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected As smart buildings continue to evolve, more facilities are beginning to explore opportunities to advance their own spaces. A complete overhaul of legacy systems is not necessary as small investments today can help position a facility to more easily adopt technologies at scale in the future. As a first step, it’s important for building owners to conduct an assessment and establish a strategy that defines a comprehensive set of requirements and prioritizes use-cases and implementations. From there, incremental investments and updates can be made over a realistic timeline. Q: What is the ROI of smart buildings? Lisa Brown: As demonstrated by our survey, there is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected. The advanced analytics and more streamlined data that is gathered through systems integration can provide the building-performance metrics to help better understand the return on investment (ROI) of the building systems. This data is used to better understand the environment and make assessments and improvements overtime to increase efficiencies. Moreover, analytics and data provide valuable insights into where action is needed and what type of return can be expected from key investments.

Verifying Audio Alarm Notifications: Why Secondary Source Verification Is Vital
Verifying Audio Alarm Notifications: Why Secondary Source Verification Is Vital

Across the country, law enforcement officers are finding it increasingly difficult to respond to the near overwhelming number of calls coming from security alarms. Police departments commonly define a false alarm as a call, which upon investigation, shows no evidence of criminal activity, such as broken windows, forced doors, items missing, or people injured. While false alarms bog down police, they can also negatively impact customers and integrators. End users can expect hefty fines for false alarm responses, and when these customers receive large bills from the city, many turn to installers, dealers, and even manufacturers expecting them to accept the responsibility and pay the check. What First Brought The Issue Of Alarm Verification To Your Attention? It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight I’ve been aware of the problem of false alarms for about 5 years. I believed audio capture, through microphone deployment, could be an active part of the solution when used as a second source for indicating ‘out of the norm’ activity and as an equal component with the video surveillance technology. In 2015, I found similarly minded security professionals when introduced to the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response. After reading PPVAR’s paper on ‘Audio Verified Alarms Best Practices; [April 2015],’ I knew that the Partnership was on to something important. In our lives, two of the five senses we count on day-in and day-out are sight and sound. It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight. What Is The False Alarm Rate? In 2016, the International Association of Chiefs of Police reported that over 98 percent of all alarm calls in the United States were false. This number is obviously staggering, and something we need to work towards correcting. Why Did This Issue Resonate So Strongly With You? When I first investigated this issue, I was sure that the security industry would have already recognized this and was acting to ensure improved alarm verification, preferably through a combination of audio and video technologies. However, I quickly saw that this was not the case, or even close to the norm. I have questioned the rationale behind the lack of adoption and found the deployment of audio is often hindered by the concern of privacy. I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio As CEO of Louroe Electronics, I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio. I’ve had to reassure many security personnel and customers how the law supports the use of audio in public places as long as there is no expectation of privacy. By dispelling fears with facts around deploying and implementing audio sensors, customers can confidently include audio in their surveillance systems and gain a more effective security solution. Who Is Affected By This? Truth be told, everyone from the end user to the manufacturer is affected by this issue. Not to mention the strain this puts on law enforcement who are tired of ‘wasting time’ and effort out in the field on these nuisance alerts. When an end user receives a check for their false alarm, many of them will immediately blame the integrator and or the monitoring center for a faulty set up and management and expect the integrator to remedy the situation, including carry the burden of paying the fines. The integrator, on the other hand, will turn to the manufacturer, assuming faulty equipment and installation instructions; therefore, looking for reimbursement for the cost. What Is The Average False Alarm Fee? It depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for responseIt depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for response. According to the Urban Institute, fees generally range from $25-$100 for the first offense, rising as high as a few thousand dollars per false alarm if a location has a large number in a single year. What’s worse, in extreme cases, alarm systems may even be blacklisted by the police dispatch center if they have raised too many false alarms in the past. Why Do You Believe Audio Is The Ideal Technology For Secondary Source Verification? Video surveillance has been the main option for security monitoring and alarm validation for decades, however industry professionals are realising that video alone is not enough. Video only tells half of the story, by adding audio capture, the responsible party gains a turnkey solution with the ability to gather additional evidence to verify alerts and expand overall awareness. In reality, audio’s range is greater than the field of view for a camera. Sound pickup is 360 degrees, capturing voices, gunshots, breaking glass, sirens, or other important details that a fixed camera many not see. How Would A Secondary Source Verification System Work With Audio? Using a video monitoring solution equipped with audio, the microphone will pick up the sounds at the time a visual alert or alarm is triggered. If embedded with classification analytics, the microphone will send alerts for specific detected sounds. The captured audio, and any notifications are immediately sent to the monitoring station, where trained personnel can listen to the sound clip, along with live audio and video from their station. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response From here, an informed decision can then be made about the validity of the alarm, along with what the current threat is at the location. If the alarm is in fact valid, the information is then passed along to the law enforcement within minutes. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response. It also provides more information in a forensic evaluation. Are There Any Additional Resources You Would Suggest Looking Into? Yes, we would suggest looking into the following to see a few different perspectives on the matter: NSA Support For 2018 Model Ordinance For Alarm Management and False Alarm Reduction Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response Support for the Term “Verified Alarm” and Prioritising Verified Alarm Responses Urban Institute Opportunities for Police Cost Savings without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing False Alarms

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Texecom, CSL And Hikvision To Sponsor WorldSkills LIVE To Raise Awareness About Security And Surveillance Industry
Texecom, CSL And Hikvision To Sponsor WorldSkills LIVE To Raise Awareness About Security And Surveillance Industry

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 Wins ‘Technological Innovation Of The Year’ At The PSI Premier Awards
Texecom Cloud Wins ‘Technological Innovation Of The Year’ At The PSI Premier Awards

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 Announces IFSEC Europe To Expand And Enhance Global Standing
IFSEC Announces IFSEC Europe To Expand And Enhance Global Standing

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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