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The jury is in: traditional security is out — and it’s being replaced with service-based solutions. The bottom line is: if you’re not embracing it, you’ll soon be left behind. XaaS — the collective term referring to the delivery of anything as a service — includes all services made possible through the use of the cloud. Security-as-a-Service (SaaS), which encompasses any type of system from access control to video surveillance, has paved the way for users to gain significant functionality and scalability not previously experienced with more traditional methods. Complicated IT functions SaaS allows manufacturers to provide numerous benefits to their customers As such, there is a marked transition for manufacturers from simply designing and building products to providing a service rooted in a partner- and customer-centric focus. This change hasn’t come easily. Some are still holding out and waiting for the “fad” to pass. However, the potential advantages for all parties involved far outweigh the perceived negative points. First and foremost, SaaS allows manufacturers to provide numerous benefits to their customers. An “as-a-service” model shifts the burden of data maintenance and infrastructure spending to an integrator/dealer partner or service provider. This relieves the end user of the expertise necessary to implement complicated IT functions to keep networked and on-premise solutions up-to-date. Traditional security systems Additionally, end users demand solid customer service. For some end users, traditional security systems are so similar in features and functionality that the key differentiator is the ability of the integrator or manufacturer to provide exceptional customer service and training. This is made possible through the service-based model, where customers appreciate a strong relationship with their integrator or manufacturer that provides them with additional knowledge and assistance when necessary. The cloud has proven to be highly functional, flexible, and convenient for organisations Everyone also wants convenience. In the consumer market, we invest in things like meals that are pre-measured, prepped, and ready to be cooked, or companies that auto-ship dog food to our door each month. This ease-of-use translates over to the B2B market, where time is money and systems that save valuable resources are highly regarded. The role of the cloud The cloud has proven to be a highly functional, flexible, and convenient method for organisations to leverage as part of their strategies to protect and modernise their facilities. And the service-based nature lends itself well; forward-thinking integrators and dealers can diversify their product arsenal while still capitalising on a recurring monthly revenue model (RMR). But then why has there been so much resistance to this change? Over the last 10 to 15 years, the cloud has gotten a bad rap for a myriad of reasons, including usability, management, and unreliability. However, that view of the cloud is changing for the positive as the technology becomes more advanced and innovators learn more about what it means to design a product or service with security at its core. "As-a-service” platform For example, one of the biggest misconceptions that plagues the cloud is the idea that it is not secure. However, the security of public cloud service providers is integral to their success because their business depends on it. Developing an ongoing and trustworthy relationship with customers can only be made possible through the assurance that their services are safe and the customer’s data is protected. As such, they’ve embraced the service-based model that is, at its core, the future of the business world as we know it. There isn’t a person, manufacturer, or integrator partner out there today who isn’t somehow touched or influenced by an “as-a-service” platform. And it’s about time the service-based model that leverages the public cloud reaches the masses.
The statistics are staggering. The death tolls are rising. And those who now fear environments that were once thought to be safe zones like school campuses, factories, commercial businesses and government facilities, find themselves having to add the routine of active-shooter drills into their traditional fire drill protocols. The latest active shooter statistics released by the FBI earlier this year in their annual active-shooter report designated 27 events as active shooter incidents in 2018. The report reveals that 16 of the 27 incidents occurred in areas of commerce, seven incidents occurred in business environments, and five incidents occurred in education environments. Deadly active-shooter events Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in the country have taken place in the past five years Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in the country have taken place in the past five years, including Sutherland Springs church, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the San Bernardino regional center, the Walmart in El Paso and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which have all occurred since 2015. Although these incidents occurred in facilities with designated entry points common to churches, schools and businesses, the two most deadly active-shooter events since 2015 were the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and the Pulse nightclub killings in Orlando where 49 perished. As Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in San Antonio, Texas, said during a news conference following the August 31 mass shooting in Odessa, Texas that claimed seven lives: “We are now at almost every two weeks seeing an active shooter in this country." Active shooter incidents Between December 2000 and December 2018, the FBI’s distribution of active shooter incidents by location looks like this: Businesses Open to Pedestrian Traffic (74) Businesses Closed to Pedestrian Traffic (43) K-12 Schools (39) Institutions of Higher Learning (16) Non-Military Government Properties (28) Military Properties—Restricted (5) Healthcare Facilities (11) Houses of Worship (10) Private Properties (12) Malls (6) What the majority of these venues have in common is they all have a front entrance or chokepoint for anyone entering the facilities, which is why any active-shooter plan must include a strategy to secure that entry point. Situational awareness in perimeter and door security Preventing people with the wrong intentions from entering the space is the goal" According to Paul Franco, an A&E with more than 28 years of experience as a consultant and systems integrator focusing on schools, healthcare and large public and private facilities, that while active shooter incidents continue to rise, the residual effect has been an increase in situational awareness in perimeter and door security. “Certainly, protecting people and assets is the number one goal of all our clients. There are multiple considerations in facilities like K-12 and Healthcare. Preventing people with the wrong intentions from entering the space is the goal. But a critical consideration to emphasise to your client is getting that person out of your facility and not creating a more dangerous situation by locking the person in your facility,” says Franco. High-security turnstiles “Schools today are creating a space for vetting visitors prior to allowing access into the main facility. Using technology properly like high-security turnstiles offer great benefits in existing schools where space constraints and renovation costs can be impractical.” What steps should they be taken when recommending the proper door security to ensure the building is safe As a consultant/integrator, when discussions are had with a client that has a facility in a public space like a corporate building, government centre or industrial facility, what steps should they be taken when recommending the proper door security to ensure the building is safe and can protect its people and assets? For Frank Pisciotta, President and CEO of Business Protection Specialists, Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina, a fundamental element of his security strategy is making appropriate recommendations that are broad-based and proactive. Properly identifying the adversaries “As a consultant, my recommendations must include properly identifying the adversaries who may show up at a client’s door, the likelihood of that event occurring, the consequences of that event occurring, determining if there are tripwires that can be set so an organisation can move their line of defence away from the door, educating employees to report potential threats and creating real-time actionable plans to respond to threats. A more reactionary posture might include such thing as target hardening such as ballistic resistant materials at entry access points to a facility,” Pisciotta says. Veteran consultant David Aggleton of Aggleton & Associates of Mission Viejo, California recommends that clients compartmentalise their higher security areas for limited access by adding multiple credential controls (card + keypad + biometric), along with ‘positive’ access systems that inhibit tailgating/piggybacking such as secure turnstiles, revolving door and mantrap if your entrances and security needs meet the required space and access throughput rates. Integrated solution of electronic access control Defining a single point of entry in some public facilities is becoming the new standard of care according to many A&Es and security consultants, especially in a school environment. This approach allows a concerted effort when it comes to staffing, visitor monitoring and an integrated technology solution. The bottom line remains: most buildings are vulnerable to a security breach A proactive stance to securing a door entryway will use an integrated solution of electronic access control, turnstiles, revolving doors and mantraps that can substantially improve a facility’s security profile. The bottom line remains: most buildings are vulnerable to a security breach, so it’s not a matter of if there will be a next active shooter tragedy, it’s only a matter of where. Enhancing access control assurance “There is no easy answer to this question,” says Pisciotta referring to how a secured entrance can deter an active shooter. “There have been at least two high-profile incidents of adversaries shooting their way into a facility through access control barriers. So, if the threat so dictates, a ballistic resistant might be required.” He concludes: “There is obviously no question that turnstiles, revolving doors and man traps enhance access control assurance. Electronic access control is easy to integrate with these devices and providing that credentials are secure, approval processes are in place, change management is properly managed and the appropriate auditing measures in place, access control objectives can be met.”
There’s a lot of hype around the term ‘digital transformation.’ For some, it’s the integration of digital technology into everyday tasks. For others, it’s the incorporation of innovative processes aimed at making business optimisation easier. In most cases, digital transformation will fundamentally change how an organisation operates and delivers value to its customers. And within the security realm, the age of digital transformation is most certainly upon us. Technology is already a part of our day-to-day lives, with smart devices in our homes and the ability to perform tasks at our fingertips now a reality. No longer are the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities foreign and distant concepts full of intrigue and promise. Enhancing business operations We’re increasingly seeing devices become smarter and better able to communicate with each other These elements are increasingly incorporated into security solutions with each passing day, allowing enterprises the chance to experience countless benefits when it comes to enhancing both safety and business operations. The term ‘connected world’ is a derivative of the digital transformation, signifying the increasing reliance that we have on connectivity, smart devices and data-driven decision-making. As we become more familiar with the advantages, flaws, expectations and best practices surrounding the connected world, we can predict what issues may arise and where the market is heading. We’re increasingly seeing devices become smarter and better able to communicate with each other through the IoT to achieve both simple goals and arduous tasks. Within our homes, we’re able to control a myriad of devices with commands (‘Hey Google...’ or ‘Alexa...’), as well as recall data directly from our mobile devices, such as receiving alerts when someone rings our doorbell, there’s movement in our front yard or when a door has been unlocked. Analytics-driven solutions The focus is now shifting to the business impacts of connectivity between physical devices and infrastructures, and digital computing and analytics-driven solutions. Within physical security, connected devices can encompass a variety of sensors gathering massive amounts of data in a given timeframe: video surveillance cameras, access control readers, fire and intrusion alarms, perimeter detection and more.As the data from each of these sensors is collected and analysed through a central platform, the idea of a connected world comes to fruition, bringing situational awareness to a new level and fostering a sense of proactivity to identifying emerging threats. The connected world, however, is not without its challenges, which means that certain considerations must be made in an effort to protect data, enhance structured networking and apply protective protocols to developing technology. Physical security systems We can expect to see the conversations regarding data privacy and security increase as well As the use of connected devices and big data continue to grow, we can expect to see the conversations regarding data privacy and security increase as well. Connectivity between devices can open up the risk of cyber vulnerabilities, but designing safeguards as technology advances will lessen these risks. The key goal is to ensure that the data organisations are using for enhancement and improvements is comprehensively protected from unauthorised access. Manufacturers and integrators must be mindful of their products' capabilities and make it easy for end users to adhere to data sharing and privacy regulations. These regulations, which greatly affect physical security systems and the way they're managed, are being implemented worldwide, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the United States, California, Vermont and South Carolina have followed suit, and it can be expected that more countries and U.S. states develop similar guidelines in the future. Technology is already a part of our day-to-day lives, with smart devices in our homes and the ability to perform tasks at our fingertips now a reality Automatic security updates Mitigating the concerns of the ‘connected world’ extends beyond just data privacy. IoT technology is accelerating at such a pace that it can potentially create detrimental problems for which many organisations may be ill-prepared - or may not even be able to comprehend. The opportunities presented by an influx of data and the IoT, and applying these technologies to markets such as smart cities, can solve security and operational problems, but this requires staying proactive when it comes to threats and practicing the proper protection protocols. As manufacturers develop devices that will be connected on the network, integrating standard, built-in protections becomes paramount. This can take the form of continuous vulnerability testing and regular, automatic security updates. Protocols are now being developed that are designed to ensure everything is encrypted, all communications are monitored and multiple types of attacks are considered for defensive purposes to provide the best security possible. IoT-connected devices Hackers wishing to do harm will stop at nothing to break into IoT-connected devices Built-in protection mechanisms send these kinds of systems into protection mode once they are attacked by an outside source. Another way for manufacturers to deliver solutions that are protected from outside threats is through constant and consistent testing of the devices long after they are introduced to the market. Hackers wishing to do harm will stop at nothing to break into IoT-connected devices, taking every avenue to discover vulnerabilities. But a manufacturer that spends valuable resources to continue testing and retesting products will be able to identify any issues and correct them through regular software updates and fixes. ‘IoT’ has become a common term in our vocabularies and since it’s more widely understood at this point and time, it's exciting to think about the possibilities of this revolutionary concept. Providing critical insights The number of active IoT devices is expected to grow to 22 billion by 2025 — a number that is almost incomprehensible. The rise of 5G networks, artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving cars can be seen on the horizon of the IoT. As more of these devices are developed and security protocols are developed at a similar pace, connected devices stand to benefit a variety of industries, such as smart cities. Smart cities rely on data communicated via the IoT to enhance processes and create streamlined approaches Smart cities rely on data communicated via the IoT to enhance processes and create streamlined approaches to ensuring a city is well-run and safe. For example, think of cameras situated at a busy intersection. Cameras at these locations have a variety of uses, such as investigative purposes in the event of an accident or for issuing red-light tickets to motorists. But there are so many other possible purposes for this connected device, including providing critical insights about intersection usage and traffic congestion. These insights can then be used to adjust stoplights during busy travel times or give cities valuable data that can drive infrastructure improvements. Physical security market The impact of connected devices on cities doesn’t stop at traffic improvement. The possibilities are endless; by leveraging rich, real-time information, cities can improve efficiencies across services such as transportation, water management and healthcare. However, stringent protections are needed to harden security around the networks transmitting this kind of information in an effort to mitigate the dangers of hacking and allow this technology to continuously be improved. Whether you believe we’re in the midst of a digital transformation or have already completed it, one thing is certain: businesses must begin thinking in these connectivity-driven terms sooner rather than later so they aren’t left behind. Leveraging smart, connected devices can catapult organisations into a new level of situational awareness, but adopting protections and remaining vigilant continues to be a stalwart of technological innovation within the physical security market and into the connected world.
Vicon Industries, Inc., designer and manufacturer of video surveillance and access control software, hardware and components brings a new level of convenience and simplicity to its VAX Access Control solution with today’s introduction of mobile credentialing. This new feature allows VAX customers to present their smartphones, instead of cards or fobs, to specialised Bluetooth-enabled VAX door readers. Smartphone and mobile credentialing Upon installation of a custom smartphone “wallet” app and a simple authentication process that links that app to the specific phone, users enter their personal VAX credentials into the wallet. Multiple credentials can be accommodated. No additional activation steps, such as entry of personal information or Bluetooth linking, are required. To unlock doors using the mobile credentials, users unlock their phone, access the credential within the wallet app and push the “unlock” button. Credentials are uniquely linked to each smartphone and cannot be shared or installed across multiple devices. Android and iOS devices are supported. Strong AES encryption, combined with smartphone PINs or biometrics, make the mobile credentials even more secure than traditional smart cards. Two models of contactless door readers are available; one requires immediate proximity (1.5 inches) and one with read range of up to 15 feet. The Bluetooth readers can also accommodate traditional RFID access cards, providing flexibility to administrators wishing to offer both types of solutions to employees. Access Control Bret McGowan, Vicon’s V.P. of Sales and Marketing, says, “Access control is as much about convenience as it is security. If a solution isn’t easy for customers to use, doors will remain propped open and the system can’t do its job. Our new mobile solution makes it possible for employees to always have their credentials with them, even when they’re not carrying a purse or wallet. It’s another way we are using cutting-edge technology to deliver ‘advanced simplicity’ to the security marketplace.”
Vicon Industries, Inc, designer and manufacturer of video surveillance and access control software, hardware and components, announces that its SN673V-B Cruiser PTZ Camera with 20X optical zoom and 1080p HD video has been deployed in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, as part of the Coastal Conservation League’s novel project, ‘The Pelicam.’ The Pelicam is a weather-resistant Vicon camera, mounted on a pole along with solar panels, battery back-up and a wireless transmission system, on an isolated strip of land within the harbor. Wray Lemke, Founder and Vice President of electronic and security services company Mount Pleasant Radio, volunteered his time to bring this project to fruition. Conservation league The Pelicam’s location is a popular spot for pelicans and other shore birds to build nests and raise their young because it is inaccessible to raccoons, coyotes and other natural predators. The Vicon camera’s 20X optical zoom provides close-up video of the birds, allowing biologist from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the public to witness behaviours that would not normally be observable by humans. Conservation League makes use of the camera’s presets to quickly change between scenes, live-streaming on YouTube video of the most interesting wildlife The Conservation League makes use of the camera’s presets to quickly change between scenes, live-streaming on YouTube video of the most interesting wildlife on display at any given time. Video recorded to the camera’s local SD card is available for DNR biologists to review and study. Andy Hollis, Data and GIS Analyst for the Conservation League, says, “The quality of the new camera is great. It pans and zooms exactly as it should and its high magnification gets us in really close.” Building public awareness In addition to supporting the research needs of the DNR, the Pelicam is hugely popular within the community, garnering regular coverage in the local media and receiving more web traffic than any other page within the organisation’s website. Mr. Hollis explains, “As an advocacy organization working with local and state level government to enact programs and laws to support conservation, the Pelicam is one of the most highly effective tools we have for building public awareness and enthusiasm for our mission.”
Vicon Industries, Inc., designer and manufacturer of video surveillance and access control software, hardware and components, announced the launch of Valerus 18.2, the latest version of its popular thin-client VMS solution built upon true open standards. New to this release are features that include: automated NVR failover, enhanced configuration options that include an enhanced rules engine that can respond to external events, tighter controls for system access authorisations and network-wide log collection and reporting. It also offers support for Valerus SmartAnalytics, a soon-to-be-released, tightly integrated video analytics solution that offers real-time event detection, video search and business intelligence applications. Valerus’ new NVR failover option allows administrators to create ‘failover clusters’ within the network, in which one or more NVRs are identified as dedicated failover units to support primary NVRs. Failover NVRs automatically take over for primary NVRs within their cluster, maintaining all camera and system settings until the original NVR is restored to operation. Playback of recorded video remains seamless, eliminating the need for operators to know exactly when failover occurred. Valerus automatically retrieves video from the NVR on which it resides. Valerus SmartAnalytics for event detection Valerus SmartAnalytics can analyse video from multiple sources in parallel and allows for complex detection scenarios that link detection rules from different cameras The addition of Valerus SmartAnalytics as an option for users of Valerus 18.2 brings powerful, integrated analytics capabilities to the VMS platform. The Valerus SmartAnalytics engine applies detection rules based on sophisticated AI algorithms to provide live action alerts, post-event search and business intelligence trend analysis. Valerus SmartAnalytics can analyse video from multiple sources in parallel and allows for complex detection scenarios that link detection rules from different cameras. Unlimited combinations of analytics detection rules can be applied to each camera. Events and search tools appear within the Valerus interface, providing a simplified experience for system operators. Both NVR failover and Valerus SmartAnalytics support are offered through a new ‘enterprise’ level Valerus licensing tier. The Valerus SmartAnalytics modules will be available to customers running Valerus Enterprise, version 18.2, beginning in early fall, 2018. Customers currently running Valerus Pro or Core level software can easily upgrade to Enterprise without the need for camera relicensing or hardware replacement. Improving security staff’s situational awareness In keeping with the Valerus commitment to delivering ‘advanced simplicity’, Valerus 18.2 offers a simplified but more powerful system configuration user interface. Administrators can now use the Valerus rules engine to create multi-step automated actions in response to events generated by external systems. Administrators must now actively provide each user with access to Valerus resources by assigning him or her to one or more ‘roles’ – Admin, Operator, Supervisor and/or Investigator For example, an integrated LPR system’s identification of a black listed vehicle can prompt Valerus to immediately call up relevant cameras and send a text alert to specified operators, improving security staff’s situational awareness and ability to respond quickly. The configuration interface now simplifies load balancing, making it easier to move cameras between NVRs, and provides additional navigation buttons for jumping between the device and resource screens. Enhanced security through authorisation system Valerus 18.2 offers enhanced security through an updated authorisation system. Administrators must now actively provide each user with access to Valerus resources by assigning him or her to one or more ‘roles’ – Admin, Operator, Supervisor and/or Investigator. Assigned roles determine which resources are available to each user upon logging in. For support and maintenance teams, a single request can now provide system-wide software logs from all devices, making it easier to troubleshoot. “Vicon’s Valerus VMS platform has proven to be hugely popular in enterprise applications, from citywide and statewide surveillance systems, to healthcare and education campuses, to the largest Cathedral in the world. We anticipate that the features we are introducing with Valeurs 18.2 will do much to further that trend,” said Bret McGowan, Senior V.P. of Sales and Marketing.
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