Visiting with the youngest "old company" in the security market: One of the newest companies at this year’s ISC West show is 130 years old. Allegion launched in December 2013 as a standalone, publicly-traded company following the spinoff of the commercial and residential security businesses from Ingersoll Rand. Making its high-profile debut at ISC West in Las Vegas, Allegion sponsored the kick-off ceremony and featured a big booth full of familiar brands like Schlage and Von Duprin.

I caught up with Dave Petratis, chairman, president and CEO of Allegion, for a quick interview at the company’s booth. Some in the security market may remember Petratis as chief operating officer and CEO of Schneider Electric North America from 2002 to 2008. He comes to Allegion from Quanex, a Houston-based manufacturer of engineered materials and components for building products.

SourceSecurity.com: So what’s the Allegion story at the ISC West show?

Petratis: We’re a brand new company with 130-year-old roots. We sponsored the ISC kick-off this morning, so that certainly got some attention. I’m really amazed by the level of foot traffic at the show. We’re a new company, deep roots. We launched Dec. 2, 2013 and we have been extremely well received by our employees, our channel partners and the financial community. We are already involved in acquisitions and joint ventures. That’s what was lacking under Ingersoll Rand. There wasn’t a lot of aggressiveness to build through mergers and acquisitions. We have the ability to do that. We have the ability to invest, the feet on the street, spec writers, new products. That’s really the message here. We’re a company that you touch every day through Schlage, Von Duprin, LCN. We’re independent and moving very quickly.

SourceSecurity.com: What is your brand strategy related to the new name?

Petratis: We’re a house of brands. Allegion will be the umbrella, but as we acquire, we will plug those brands into the umbrella and continue to run with our master brands, which are Schage, Von Duprin, LCN, CISA and Interflex. When you have that installed base around the world, it’s pretty powerful. We wouldn’t want to distance ourselves from that at all. As we bolt on and buy new companies, they’ll be part of Allegion.

SourceSecurity.com: Have there been any residual effects from the Ingersoll Rand era?

Petratis: The transformation and launch of the company have been extremely smooth. But I wouldn’t underestimate the amount of work involved. Anytime you create a brand and go out and raise $1.8 billion in capital to buy the company, IPO the company, there’s a tremendous amount of work. That work is behind us. The most exciting thing that I feel going forward after joining the company is: I have the capability to go out and touch the industry and touch our customers and think about the future.

SourceSecurity.com: What will be your news a year from now?

Petratis: Growth, investment, open protocols. We think having capabilities in an open environment is good for customers. Customers want to have choices and don’t want to get locked into proprietary systems. As an independent company, we have all the ability to drive that.

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Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

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The physical side of data protection
The physical side of data protection

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Complex security needs One misconception when it comes to data centres is that physical security is straightforward One misconception when it comes to data centres is that physical security is straightforward. However, in practice, things are far more complex. On top of protecting the external perimeter, thought must also be given to factors, such as access control, hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM), protecting power infrastructure, as well as standby generators and localising security devices to operate independently of the main data centre. Face value How a site looks is more important than you may think. Specify security that appears too hostile risks blatantly advertising that you’re protecting a valuable target, ironically making it more interesting to opportunistic intruders. The heightened security that we recommend to clients for these types of sites, include 4 m high-security fences, coils of razor wire, CCTV, and floodlighting. When used together in an integrated approach, it’s easy to see how they make the site appear hostile against its surroundings. However, it must appear secure enough to give the client peace of mind that the site is adequately protected. Getting the balance right is crucial. So, how do you balance security, acoustics and aesthetics harmoniously? Security comes first These are essential facilities and as a result, they require appropriate security investment. Cutting corners leads to a greater long-term expense and increases the likelihood of highly disruptive attacks. Checkpoints Fortunately, guidance is available through independent accreditations and certifications, such as the Loss Prevention Certification Board’s (LPCB) LPS 1175 ratings, the PAS 68 HVM rating, CPNI approval, and the police initiative - Secured by Design (SBD). Thorough technical evaluation and quality audit These bodies employ thorough technical evaluation work and rigorous quality audit processes to ensure products deliver proven levels of protection. With untested security measures, you will not know whether a product works until an attack occurs. Specifying products accredited by established bodies removes this concern. High maintenance Simply installing security measures and hoping for the best will not guarantee 24/7 protection. Just as you would keep computer software and hardware updated, to provide the best level of protection for the data, physical security also needs to be well-maintained, in order to ensure it is providing optimum performance. Importance of testing physical security parameters Inspecting the fence line may seem obvious and straightforward, but it needs to be done regularly. From our experience, this is something that is frequently overlooked. The research we conducted revealed that 63% of companies never test their physical security. They should check the perimeter on both sides and look for any attempted breaches. Foliage, weather conditions or topography changes can also affect security integrity. Companies should also check all fixtures and fittings, looking for damage and corrosion, and clear any litter and debris away. Accessibility When considering access control, speed gates offer an excellent solution for data centres. How quickly a gate can open and close is essential, especially when access to the site is restricted. The consequences of access control equipment failing can be extremely serious, far over a minor irritation or inconvenience. Vehicle and pedestrian barriers, especially if automated, require special attention to maintain effective security and efficiency. Volume control Data centres don’t generally make the best neighbours. The noise created from their 24-hour operation can be considerable. HVAC systems, event-triggered security and fire alarms, HV substations, and vehicle traffic can quickly become unbearable for residents. Secure and soundproof perimeter As well as having excellent noise-reducing properties, timber is also a robust material for security fencing So, how do you create a secure and soundproof perimeter? Fortunately, through LPS 1175 certification and CPNI approval, it is possible to combine high-security performance and up to 28dB of noise reduction capabilities. As well as having excellent noise-reducing properties, timber is also a robust material for security fencing. Seamlessly locking thick timber boards create a flat face, making climbing difficult and the solid boards prevent lines of sight into the facility. For extra protection, steel mesh can either be added to one side of the fence or sandwiched between the timber boards, making it extremely difficult to break through. A fair façade A high-security timber fence can be both, aesthetically pleasing and disguise its security credentials. Its pleasant natural façade provides a foil to the stern steel bars and mesh, often seen with other high-security solutions. Of course, it’s still important that fencing serves its primary purposes, so make sure you refer to certifications, to establish a product’s security and acoustic performance. Better protected The value of data cannot be overstated. A breach can have severe consequences for public safety and the economy, leading to serious national security implications. Countering varied security threats Data centres are faced with an incredibly diverse range of threats, including activism, sabotage, trespass, and terrorism on a daily basis. It’s no wonder the government has taken an active role in assisting with their protection through the medium of the CPNI and NCSC. By working with government bodies such as the CPNI and certification boards like the LPCB, specifiers can access a vault of useful knowledge and advice. This will guide them to effective and quality products that are appropriate for their specific site in question, ensuring it’s kept safe and secure.

Data explosion: Futureproofing your video surveillance infrastructure
Data explosion: Futureproofing your video surveillance infrastructure

Video surveillance systems are producing more unstructured data than ever before. A dramatic decrease in camera costs in recent years has led many businesses to invest in comprehensive surveillance coverage, with more cameras generating more data. Plus, advances in technology mean that the newest (8K) cameras are generating approximately 800% more data than their predecessors (standard definition). Traditional entry-level solutions like network video recorders (NVRs) simply aren’t built to handle massive amounts of data in an efficient, resilient and cost-effective manner. This has left many security pioneers grappling with a data storage conundrum. Should they continue adding more NVR boxes? Or is there another, better, route? Retaining video data In short, yes. 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Common management console Security pioneers can easily add or remove storage capacity or compute resources – separately or together As businesses add new cameras or replace existing ones, many end up with inadequate surveillance infrastructure made up of multiple NVR boxes along with several application servers for running other surveillance functions such as access control, security photo databases, analytics, etc. This patchwork approach leaves security pioneers scrambling for capacity, maintaining various hardware footprints, repeating updates and checks across multiple systems, and taking up valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. By contrast, flexible HCI surveillance platforms aggregate the storage and ecosystem applications to run on the same infrastructure and combine viewing under a common management console, avoiding ‘swivel chair’ management workflows. Plus, they offer seamless scalability. 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Firstly, meta tags can provide context around data, making it easier to find and access when needed. Object storage platform For instance, if security teams are notified of a suspicious red truck, they can quickly find data with this tag, rather than manually searching through hours of data, which can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Plus, meta tags can be used to mark data for future analysis. This means that as algorithms are run over time, policies can be set to automatically store data in the right location. For example, if a video is determined to contain cars driving in and out of your premises, it would be moved to long-term archiving such as an object storage platform for compliance purposes. If, on the other hand, it contained 24 hours of an empty parking lot, it could be wiped. These same meta tags may be used to eventually expire the compliance data in the archive after it is no longer needed based on policy. 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How can the security industry provide affordable and cost-effective solutions?
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