Category Archives: Company News

Why it’s Critical to Take a Multi-Faceted, Multi-Layered Approach to Mass Notification

By Jim Stankevich

The size, scope and inherently open nature of hospitals and healthcare facilities make them particularly challenging cases for notifying the masses of an event or incident. Hospitals face myriad threats from inside and outside, and thus need to be able to communicate quickly, accurately and effectively when faced with a crisis.

However, hospital personnel don’t always have or are even allowed ready access to their personal phones to receive text or voice messages, nor are many of them likely to be sitting at a desk viewing their email or viewing social media.

Instead, the bustling healthcare setting requires a multi-faceted, multi-layered network-based mass notification process so staff, patients and visitors can receive targeted, accessible information. A process like this is crucial regardless of whether there is an active shooter in the emergency department, a weather-related situation that requires action involving the whole complex and its inhabitants or a domestic dispute incident affecting specific patients, visitors or staff.

Currently many healthcare facilities are opting for text-based notification systems, which are sometimes funded by grant monies, and can work well enough if staff members have a hospital-issued phone readily available or if they are allowed to use their personal phone on the job. But some healthcare organizations don’t allow the use of personal phones being used at work, thus eliminating this major means of crisis communications.

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Another traditional way of alerting personnel has been via public address announcements (PA) using a series of codes or fictional names or codes to alert them about a particular situation. Since hospitals have PA systems that reach almost every area within the facility this is still a viable way to notify those within the building of a situation. The PA may not be ideal for every emergency situation but it is used often every day and should be connected to your automated mass notification system for that should be communicated via the PA as one means of notification.

Even when healthcare facilities have mass notification protocols in place, if the messaging can’t be delivered in a timely manner, or isn’t read immediately on a phone or email, the effectiveness is lost. Having to send messages by text or email can mean a notification that needs to be delivered quickly so staff can react accordingly is taking too long to be disseminated among the long list of employees and staff members who need to receive it. And once sent, the message could sit in someone’s inbox for minutes or even hours before they have the opportunity to see it.

Thus, a multi-layered approach tied in with a network-based access control system is critical in a setting where people are constantly on the move. Along with individual texts and emails, messages that appear as a pop-up message on computer screens at nurses’ stations even when logged off and on computers and tablets used on mobile workstations within patients’ rooms can better convey a message during a crisis. Likewise, with a highly critical situation such as an active shooter, a mass notification system should be able to incorporate a public address, visual public monitors throughout the facility, SIP IP phone system, and radios used by security personnel to reach the most people in the quickest manner possible.

An effective mass notification system should also be a “two-way system,” so personnel who are in a duress situation or are seeing a crisis unfold have the ability to send an alert to get help, not just receive an alert. With some systems, the ability to send such a message can be as simple as using two keys on a computer keyboard that, when used together, constitute a panic alarm. Additionally, computer screens or phones can be set up with icons that when used, trigger a panic or notification alarm as well.

These types of alerts not only work well in that they quickly disseminate information from someone in crisis to the appropriate responders, but if that person is being confronted by an abuser or someone who is armed, it is much less obvious to press a couple of keys than it is to pick up the phone and call for help which might escalate the situation with the person listening to the call.

Additionally, highly useful mass notification schemes are being tied into access control systems and other security monitoring systems such as video surveillance, HVAC, fire and burglar alarms, and infant abduction systems to provide a holistic approach to security.

An employee in the emergency department who is dealing with a potential gang confrontation has the ability, through the push of a button, to alert security and activate video of the incident or even lockdown doors. And if an infant abduction alarm sounds, through the integrated mass notification system, security has the ability to send messages to key personnel around the facility or within the parking structure so the chances of that child being removed from the premises is greatly reduced as well as to lock specific doors and view relevant video.

Of course, a system is only effective if everyone is familiar with it and it is working properly. It is important, therefore, to make testing and supervision of the mass notification system a requirement of the product. This not only keeps it working for when it’s desired most, but also reminds hospital staffers that they have this vital tool readily available should they need it and how to use it.

Jim Stankevich is the Global Manager for Healthcare Security & Lynx for Tyco Security

Products and is a past IAHSS board member. He can be reached by email at: JStankevich@tycoint.com

Tyco Security Products Technology Partner for NIST Cybersecurity Best Practices Guide for the Financial Services Sector

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed an IT asset management and cybersecurity best practices guide for the financial services sector.  Tyco Security Products served as a collaborating vendor for the creation of this guide. The guide provides a comprehensive view of how to implement standards-based cybersecurity technologies to reduce vulnerabilities, improve response to security alerts and increase resilience. Security engineers and installers will find examples of installation, configuration and integration tips to increase cybersecurity resilience.NIST

Cybersecurity Risk Factors

IT asset management (ITAM) lays the foundation to implementing an effective cybersecurity strategy. Consider risk factors like size, sophistication, risk tolerance and threat landscape. Often the challenge users face is tracking a diverse set of hardware and software. Lack of control of the entire system is another challenge confronted by companies. Many have several different third-party technologies and various contractors involved, which makes a standard across the products a challenge.

Financial Services NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide

The guide details security characteristics and best practices for addressing security controls that should be considered by security program managers. Learn more about:

  • Managing assets connected to the enterprise network
  • Developing accountability
  • Detecting and alert authorities
  • Develop software restriction policies
  • Tracking assets on the system
  • Reducing risk on data encryption, authentication, incident reporting, scanning and more

13ITL002_nccoe_logoIf you have feedback on the guide or further questions email financial_nccoe@nist.gov.

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, part of NIST, addresses businesses’ most pressing cybersecurity problems with practical, standards-based example solutions using commercially available technologies.

Download the guide.

Learn more about Tyco Security Products cyber protection program.

Introducing the Cyber Protection Program from Tyco Security Products

Developed over five years, Tyco Security Products Cyber Protection Program is one of the first in the industry to offer a holistic approach to cybersecurity for physical security products. We’re committed to cybersecurity through a product’s entire lifecycle — from requirements through obsolescence.

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We’ve developed our cybersecurity expertise after many years of providing critical solutions for the United States government and large multinational customers, and we hold several industry firsts, including FISMA-ready access control and video solutions.

Six Part Approach to Cyber Protection
Our Cyber Protection Program’s six -part approach to cyber protection for physical security products looks far beyond components and devices and cyber security hardening. The scrutiny begins with the initial product concept and requirements, continues through analysis of system design and programming, and culminates with final testing, integration and evaluation.

  • Secure Product Development Practices – Secure coding and testing reduces the possibility of inadvertently introducing vulnerabilities during product development
  • Inclusive Protection of Components and Systems – Include range of capabilities to complement diverse security needs
  • Configuration Guidelines for Compliance – Provide comprehensive procedures on how to configure C•CURE 9000, VideoEdge and victor systems
  • Testing Procedures – Products undergo rigorous, continuous testing both internally and with an independent test house, to minimize the risk of security updates and new configurations in our cyber-compliant products
  • Rapid Response to Vulnerabilities – Quickly assesses the situation, distributes an advisory bulletin and follow up with fully qualified patches
  • Education and Advocacy – Maintain critical training and development certifications, speaks and advocates for cyber protection for security systems

Tyco’s Cyber Protection Team
Our autonomous cyber protection team, an independent branch of the development group, has deep process control knowledge and specialized expertise in cyber concerns with physical security systems.

Learn more about our Cyber Protection Program and how we are working to protect physical security products from attacks, damages, disruptions and misuse.

Tyco Receives Safety Act Designation for C•CURE 9000 and iSTAR Controllers

Safety Act DesignationTyco International PLC received Safety Act designation for Software House C•CURE 9000 and iSTAR controllers. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Safety Act provides important legal liability protections for providers of Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies – whether they are products or services.

Safety Act

The goal of the SAFETY Act is to encourage the development and deployment of effective anti-terrorism products and services by providing liability protections. A rigorous review of the products, our development processes, documentation, training, tech support, and more is required in order to receive the designation.

Click here to learn more about the Safety Act.

Tyco Security Products Connected Partner Program

The Tyco Security Products Connected Program integrates with a range of third-party technology partners to create valuable security systems.  View all of our approved integrations on our new connected program compatibility matrix.

Connected Program

The new Connected Program compatibility matrix allows you to:

  • Select any integrated technology partner solution including access control, intrusion, video, fire alarm, RIFD and more
  • Quickly view integration details including driver version, certifications, supported server and client operating systems and more
  • Download integration details, release notes, user guides and additional resources

Our approved integrations are now displayed in a new compatibility matrix on the American Dynamics and Software House websites.

If you have any questions or comments, contact the Connected Program team at tspconnected@tycoint.com.

TYCO SECURITY PRODUCTS ACQUIRES INNOMETRIKS

InnometriksTyco Security Products announced as of 13 May 2016, it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Innometriks and 2DogsStudios, developers of high assurance readers, software and mobile solutions for FIPS-201 (Federal Information Processing Standard) smart card credentials.

This acquisition strengthens Tyco Security Products’ position in the federal market by adding the Innometriks team’s open, seamless high-assurance solution integrated directly into Tyco Security Products’ Software House C•CURE 9000 access control and security management ecosystem, as well as enabling the ability to integrate with systems from other manufacturers. This is achieved with an open architecture that moves government credential authentication directly into the physical access panel, and leveraging OSDP (Open Supervised Device Protocol) capable readers. These combined technologies will become part of Tyco Security Products’ access control solution portfolio.

The combination of Tyco Security Products and Innometriks creates an offering that provides a fast, open, modular, and cost effective solution for high assurance needs.   The benefits of this acquisition not only extend to the government market, but also to commercial customers who require high assurance access control systems.  We are very excited to have the Innometriks and 2DogStudios become a part of our access control solutions and future roadmaps.

For more information or any questions please contact your local area sales representative or Jason Ouellette.