Cybersecurity: Finding a strong partner for tough times

The numbers bear it out: Hacking is for real. Statistics show that about one in three organizations — from businesses big and small to government operations — will fall prey to some sort of information breach this year.

That is little comfort to those who are investing in network-based systems, including physical security and video surveillance. Knowing what to do if something happens and being prepared will go a long way toward making the situation as tenable as possible. 

One of the key ways to approach network security is to focus on the partners you arecybersecurityblogpic 300x working with and their overall approach to cybersecurity, rather than focusing solely on the cybersecurity readiness of an individual device such as a camera or NVR.

Any product may be tested and “proven” to be secure — until the next cyber criminal or vulnerability comes along and negates everything. Once a product’s security is breached, and the network is vulnerable, the integrator and end user do not want to be left with the task of fixing the problem on their own.

However, if the purchaser is partnered with a company that has a strong, ongoing, cybersecurity program, then problems that do arise are likely to be solved more quickly and with better outcomes.

As we said, problems are inevitable, so consider how quickly and how capable a company is to make corrections to those issues. How are they monitoring for new vulnerabilities and how do they respond? How do they alert users to new vulnerabilities?

Additionally, it is important for the company supplying the product to be involved in continuing assessment of cybersecurity while also working with others, such as third-party assessors, to make sure products are in compliance.

Integrators and end users will certainly sleep easier knowing that there is a team of people whose job it is to oversee the credibility of a product from inception to completion to deployment.

In our upcoming webinar, “Don’t Let Cybersecurity Keep You Up At Night”, we’ll take a closer look at recent security breaches and vulnerabilities, the problems this can cause for an organization and how to assess if you are making the right cybersecurity partnerships.

We hope you’ll join us on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 from 11am-12pm EST.

To sign up, please click here 

Technology Keeps an Eye on the Lone Worker

In a world filled with people, there are still many instances when individuals can be alone and vulnerable in the workplace. Consider the security officer making his rounds on a sprawling college campus, or the healthcare worker making his or her way through a maze of corridors in a hospital after hours. Even construction personnel can find themselves separated from co-workers when they are working on a large project such as tunnel construction.

While security cameras have served individuals well as a tool to record difficult and dangerous situations as they happen, the video is often viewed only after someone has gone missing and needs to be found.

In contrast, technologies such as lone worker transmitters are increasingly sounding the alarmsecurityguard 400px that something is amiss in real time, protecting individuals who are operating alone or who are not always within visual or verbal range of co-workers. 

If a person is attacked or suffers some sort of illness or injury that keeps him from getting help on his own, he can use the transmitter — which can be carried, worn as a pendant or attached to a belt — to sound an alarm. A local positioning system within it can help pinpoint the person’s location via interface with infrared or low frequency beacons. And this can be done quickly and efficiently, helping to guide rescue workers to the precise location of the individual in need. 

While these types of transmitters can be lifesavers, if not designed properly, they can also be potential sources of frustrating false alarms. Like the boy who cried wolf, if the devices sound too many false alarms, the efficacy of the technology comes into question, often resulting in people not using them or responders ignoring the call for help.

Fortunately, the means by which an alarm is triggered — pushing on a front button, double squeezing the device or pulling out a cord —has improved vastly so false alarms are rare. Although triggering an alarm in these instances requires active participation by the holder of the transmitter, there are also means by which an alarm can be sounded if the person is disabled.

A fall detection feature can send an alert if the device is no longer vertical. For instance, if a nurse is wearing it on her belt and is knocked down during an attack, an alarm will be triggered because the device is no longer in the proper position. Or if a person who is wearing the device falls ill and faints, the fall detection feature will be activated.

To reduce false alarms, the transmitter can be programmed so if the wearer just bends over, or sets the device down on a table, it won’t send a false alarm.

The advent of the lone worker transmitter is providing a new sense of safety for security, corrections, healthcare and other professionals who may be unaccompanied and at risk. This technology ensures that responders can get to a person quickly, while knowing that the alarm is a legitimate one.

mandowntransmitter new 300pxWant to learn more about the benefits of employing lone worker transmitter technology?

Click here to find out more about the Elpas Lone Worker Transmitter.






A little planning goes a long way toward achieving analytics success

The odd impulse purchase aside, most people go into a buying decision with a good idea of what they want from their investment.

A couple that is expecting triplets, for instance, knows they can bypass the two-seater sports car or the pickup and look in the SUV or minivan category for a vehicle that will adequately and safely serve their family.

Similarly, a company that is putting in a new video analytics system should outline what it wants it to achieve before selecting, installing and operating it. Or at least that is what best practices would dictate.

Yet, too often the opposite happens. Eager customers and their systems integrators determine the number and styles of cameras camera, ip camera, securitythey want, maybe based on the newest technology or the best deals available, without first exploring exactly what they want to achieve in terms of analytics. So the end result is a system that is inadequate for the application and one that poorly reflects on the quality of the video analytics because it couldn’t perform the necessary functions properly.

Where and how cameras are placed is critical to achieving the most effective outcome with analytics. From camera mounts to the number and type of cameras, many factors can impact the success of video analytics.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to planning. Working in conjunction with your systems integrator, or a manufacturer’s representative, take a hard look at what your expectations are for your analytics system: Are you looking to count people coming into your store, or is your goal to read license plates in a parking lot? If you want to count customers, do you also want to measure how long they look at a display? Every activity requires careful consideration regarding the type of camera used and where it is placed.

People counting is best done on a two-dimensional scale, so a camera mounted overhead works well here. If the camera were placed at eye level, and a crowd came into the store, you might not be able to see each person because some people likely would be blocked by those in front of them.

If the goal is to determine who is lingering in a particular spot, however, then a wide-angle camera is the proper choice. And if you want to do both of these things in the same space, you’ll need multiple cameras mounted appropriately.

Lighting is another key consideration when deploying analytics. If a scene goes in and out of shadows frequently, it will affect the accuracy of the information received. Trying to read license plates? Think about how headlights could play havoc with a camera if positioned incorrectly.

Before going ahead with an analytics program, it’s important to consider all of the factors that will impact video quality. From illumination to separating assets and people to dealing with obstructions and movement, all of these can make a great analytics system an ineffective one if not handled properly.

So sit down at that computer — or if you’re old school, get out that pen and paper — and list what you want your system to do. Then go through all the factors that could influence your outcome before making a final selection with the help of an integrator or supplier on cameras and mounts.

The success of your analytics system depends on it. Watch our videos below on victor and VideoEdge video intelligence and analytics.

Weathering the Storm: Selecting Security Solutions for Harsh Environments

Discussions of global warming aside, just about everyone can agree that the weather and environmental conditions are ever changing and have become a major consideration when putting together specifications for a security system.

While much attention is paid to what physically needs to be secured and the best cameras, readers and sensors to achieve this, none of that will matter much if the products chosen aren’t up to rigors of temperature, wind, rain, snow and sea.

With the need to secure just about everything these days, it is incumbent on integrators, installers and security personnel to select equipment that can truly weather the storm. The growing emphasis on perimeter security has shifted the focus to not only what works for interior settings, but what is feasible for the exterior as well. And these may not always be the same products.

The oil industry is a good example of where security equipment needs to stand up to varying extreme weather security - Tyco Security Productsoutdoor conditions. A pipeline running through Alaska or Canada will require cameras that can operate in freezing temperatures as well as work through icing/thawing conditions. An oil rig in the sea, however, presents a different scenario that calls for equipment designed to handle corrosive salt water, high winds and varying hot and cold conditions. And desert-based oil refineries present yet another challenge from sand, wind and extreme heat.

Fortunately, the security industry has been responding to the needs of customers operating in these harsh environments by developing products with special enclosures and even tablet-style technology that work well in these conditions.

So what should specifiers be looking for? In selecting appropriate products it becomes necessary to identify those that can operate in the appropriate temperature range, have dustproof or non-corrosive housings and are UL certified for operating in extreme conditions. Readers can be especially vulnerable because of their location and frequent use, so it’s important to make a good choice here.

It also is important to look at the make up of the building or structure itself and whether the cameras, readers or other equipment can be adequately mounted to the wall, fence or door.

Sometimes the desire to adopt the newest technology needs to be set aside in these unique settings. The enticement of wireless locks may be great from a system standpoint, for instance, but as yet most don’t have the same waterproof and dustproof capabilities of the more seasoned traditional keypads.

Some of the other newer systems, such as facial recognition or hand readers, also require more pristine environments and may not be the right choice for a weather-challenged site, despite their advanced security offerings.

What it comes down to in the end is doing the due diligence on the site, defining the requirements, reviewing the conditions and physical setting and then specifying those products that can perform best. Then let the rain, snow and winds come — you’ll be ready.

How do you go about selecting the right access control system for a harsh environment?

Check out SDM Magazine’s recent article titled “9 Tips for Tough Access Control Spots.”