Metal theft is nothing new, but the impact of the pandemic has left many in financial uncertainty, couple this with the rising price of metal, and one result is an increase in the level of acquisitive crime. It seems there is no limit to the types of materials stolen.

Just recently, lead stolen from church roofs has caught the media’s attention again, but this type of theft reaches to more commonplace materials too, including steel, cast iron, and aluminium, and even items like street signs and fencing panels. As such, publically accessible infrastructure could be left vulnerable if measures aren’t taken to properly protect them.

Perimeter fencing solution

Begin this process by thoroughly checking and assessing the perimeter fencing of the site. Here, you’re looking for any signs of tampering or wear and tear, and checking if the fencing is still robust. If the fixings in fencing systems can be removed easily, the entire perimeter fencing solution risks being compromised with little effort. Both the fixings themselves, and the metal fence panels they secure can be targets for theft, and if stolen would significantly reduce the security on and around the site.

The connectors, fittings, and fixings are arguably the most integral part of any security fencing installation

The connectors, fittings, and fixings are arguably the most integral part of any security fencing installation. They’re responsible for holding the fencing and gates together and keeping them in place. Remember, fencing solutions will only be as robust as the components used to hold them together, if these have inherent flaws, the fencing and gates in question will be more vulnerable to attack.

Equal level of protection

This is because poor quality fixings can often be easily broken or removed by their design or placement, so it’s best to steer clear. Further, while fencing labelled as ‘quick and easy installation’ may sound cost effective, if it takes no time to install, it’s likely it will also be quick to take down, defeating the purpose of perimeter fencing.

There’s a multitude of varying types of fixings available on the market, and it’s important to remember that not all fencing and gates provide an equal level of protection. Below we take a closer look at fixings that should be avoided where possible.

Standard head screws

  • Standard head screws and bolts. This can be extended to anything that looks like it can be easily removed with a screwdriver or drill.
  • Security Torx or ‘Star’ screws. These were once an effective tamper-proof fixing, however, in more recent times the driver bits have become more readily available in most DIY toolkits, and as such these fixings are now far from secure.
  • Installing screws on the outside of the fence line. Leaving the fixings accessible from the outside of the fence ultimately means you’re exposing them to anyone and everyone, authorised or not. This enables them to attempt to remove the fixings without the added deterrent of having to climb the fence and risking being caught.
  • Low quality fixings. All fixings should be galvanised or stainless steel to ensure they don’t rust away.

Tamper-proof fixings

Vertical bar fencing and metal railings have concealed bolts and screws

So now we know what not to specify, let’s take this one step further and discuss some of the most effective design components found in fencing systems. Look for security fencing with ‘tamper-proof fixings’. We believe this is so essential, that all Jacksons metal fencing is produced using these in one form or another. Vertical bar fencing and metal railings have concealed bolts and screws, while the welded mesh panels have tamper-proof screws with unique heads that can’t be loosened or fastened with normal tools.

Be wary when specifying fencing types such as steel palisade fencing; not only does this type of fencing hinder surveillance and provide an unattractive aesthetic, but the bolts and rivets are also very easily accessible meaning it isn’t very secure.

Twin wire panels

V mesh and twin wire panels can be attached to posts in different ways. Most commonly this will be via the use of clips. These vary in the level of security they provide, for example, generic mesh clips secured with generic Torx screws can be easily removed using a standard toolkit. However, there are other products on the market which make use of anti-vandal connectors and tamper-proof fixings.

Once tightened, the hexagonal part of the nut breaks off, leaving a smooth dome

These fixings can only be accessed from the secure side of the fence, significantly improving the level of security. Shear nuts are arguably one of the most secure fixings which should ideally be used on gate hinges. They are a type of breakaway nut which are almost impossible to remove once installed. Once tightened, the hexagonal part of the nut breaks off, leaving a smooth dome that is hard to grip with normal tools.

Knit mesh fencing

With tightly knit mesh fencing such as 358 mesh, panels can be fixed to the posts in different ways, but again not all ways are secure. Some manufacturers use smaller clips and screws/bolts, however, the clips are susceptible to damage – being so small, and it also leaves the edge of the panels exposed to tools that could prise the panel away from the posts. Close-knit mesh panels with clamp bars and tamper proof bolts are highly secure.

Concealed panel to post connectors and tamper proof bolts help to further enhance the security of the fencing, these are commonly used in vertical bar and metal railings.

Highly secure finish

Here rails are sleeved onto the pales and welded for a seamless, highly secure finish. There are no bolts or rivets that could be removed to enable swing pales to be set aside and gain access.

The role that fixings and connectors play is absolutely crucial to the level of security of the perimeter fencing. This article touches on the myriad of different options available on the market, but if in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult an expert on what type of components should be used when specifying fencing and gate solutions for your specific project.

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What change would you like to see in security in 2022?
What change would you like to see in security in 2022?

Here’s a news flash: 2022 will be a pivotal year for the security industry. As we enter the new year, continuing change is a safe prediction for any fast-moving, technology-driven marketplace. Recent history confirms the ability of the security industry to shift and adapt to changing conditions and to provide an ever-expanding menu of technology solutions to make the world a safer place. Given that the new year will bring change, what will that change encompass? More to the point, what should it encompass? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the biggest change you would like to see within the security industry in 2022?

2021’s most popular expert panel roundtable discussions
2021’s most popular expert panel roundtable discussions

Topics that dominated our website’s Expert Panel Roundtable articles in 2021 included the effects of COVID-19, the benefits of mobile access, the upcoming potential of deep learning, and the future of access control cards. Our website’s Expert Panel Roundtable discussions in 2021 reflected some of the most timely and important topics in the industry. The very most clicked-on Expert Panel Roundtable discussion in 2021 considered the positive and negative effects of COVID-19. The second most popular was trends in perimeter security technology. Smart video solutions Here is a roundup of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2021, along with a ‘sound bite’ from each discussion and links back to the full articles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Expert Panel Roundtable in 2021 (including the quotable panelists named and linked below). The pandemic has impacted security in many ways, some we are just now realising" What are the positive and negative effects of COVID-19 to security? “The pandemic has impacted security in many ways, some we are just now realising. On the negative side, integrators were limited in their ability to access customer locations, posing significant challenges to supporting customers. Innovation was also halted in many sectors – such as AI and edge computing in healthcare. However, the pandemic increased awareness regarding the need for smart solutions that can aid in these types of crises. Smart video solutions have been identified repeatedly in the media as a potential pathway to better customer experience and increased safety.” – Alexander Harlass. Reducing false alarms What are the latest trends in perimeter security technology? “What’s really important in perimeter security is the minimisation of false alarms, not simply the potential detection of what might be an unauthorised person or object. In light of that, many systems now include alarm validation that can confirm an alarm event using a camera. The utilisation of AI-based technologies can further validate the accuracy of the alarm, making it as accurate and precise as possible. I anticipate seeing more cross-technological integrations to reduce false alarms, so that personnel in an alarm center spend as little time as possible in validating an alarm.” – Leo Levit. What will be the biggest security trends in 2021? “2021 will see artificial intelligence (AI) become more mainstream. There will be increased deployment in edge devices, including cameras, thermographic cameras, radar and LIDAR sensors, entry point readers, etc. Additional algorithms will be developed, greatly expanding the use and function as video surveillance transitions from a forensic tool to real-time analytics. This increases the value of these systems and helps create ROI cases for their deployment.” – Tim Brooks. Access control solutions Investments in tools and platforms to drive digital interactions have accelerated" What will be the security industry’s biggest challenge in 2021? “The security industry is traditional in the sense that it relies heavily on face-to-face interaction to do business with customers and partners alike. COVID-19 has put a hold on in-person meetings, trade shows, etc., and this trend is likely to extend throughout 2021. Virtually recreating these personal touchpoints, while cultivating and strengthening internal and external relationships, will continue to be both a challenge and opportunity for the security industry. Investments in tools and platforms to drive digital interactions have accelerated.” – Robert Moore. What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control? “Mobile access control solutions are an exciting innovation in a market where the day-to-day user experience hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years. One area that has clear benefits and challenges is in improving the user experience. On one hand, physical credentials are expensive and a hassle to administer; however, they work reliably, quickly, and predictably. Mobile credentials are convenient in that everyone already has a smartphone, and you don’t have to admin or carry cards; however, when you’re actually standing at the door they need to work as well or better than physical credentials, or the benefits are lost.” – Brian Lohse. Attacking critical infrastructure What are the security challenges of protecting critical infrastructure? “It seems so often we hear about a new threat or cyber-attack in the news. Because of the rapid growth in technology over the last few years, cybercriminals are getting bolder and discovering new ways to attack critical infrastructure. One of the biggest challenges boils down to the capabilities of the operating security system and whether the organisation is aware of the current risks they face. Because there are so many points of entry for cybercriminals to target within critical infrastructure, it is vital that the security solution be prepared for attacks at every level.” – Charles (Chuck) O’Leary. They are more aware when they make physical contact with doors and interfaces" Which security technologies will be useful in a post-pandemic world? “People have become more sensitised to crowds and personal space. They are more aware when they make physical contact with doors and interfaces. As the pandemic subsides, these habits will likely remain for a majority of people." "Utilising AI-based cameras to accurately monitor the number of people in a room or in a queue will enable staff to take action to improve the customer experience. For example, AI-based analytics can quickly notify security or operations when people are waiting at a door and initiate 2-way audio for touchless access.” – Aaron Saks. Central monitoring station What is the potential of deep learning in physical security and surveillance? “Deep learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, enables networks to train themselves to perform speech, voice, and image recognition tasks." In video surveillance, these networks learn to make predictions through highly repetitive exposure" "In video surveillance, these networks learn to make predictions through highly repetitive exposure to images of humans and vehicles from a camera feed. That ability is ideal for use with drones patrolling perimeters seeking anomalies or in software that significantly reduces the number of false alarms reported to central monitoring station operators. Through use, the software continues improving its accuracy.” – Brian Baker. Valuable audit trail How soon will access control cards become extinct and why? “Access control cards will go the way of the dinosaur, but they still have some life left in them. For the short term, they have plenty of utility in minimum security use cases and leave a valuable audit trail. But for companies that are more technology-centric, particularly those with high value assets, we’re seeing demand for next-generation access control, which includes increased integration with video surveillance systems and professional monitoring services.” – Sean Foley. Which security markets are embracing touchless and contactless systems? “Touchless technology is not a new trend, but contactless systems and transactions have surged since the COVID-19 pandemic. Even after the pandemic is over, it is likely public perception of what is hygienic and acceptable in public spaces will have changed. [We are] seeing an uptick in touchless access control systems in the education and flexible office space markets.” – Brooke Grigsby.

Identity and access management in 2022 - what will the future look like?
Identity and access management in 2022 - what will the future look like?

As we enter into 2022, there is still a level of uncertainty in place. It’s unclear what the future holds, as companies around the world still contend with the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote working has been encouraged by most organisations and the move to a hybrid working system has become ‘business as usual’, for the majority of businesses. Some have reduced their office space or done away with their locations altogether. Following best security practices With all this change in place, there are problems to deal with. According to research, 32.7% of IT admins say they are concerned about employees using unsecured networks to carry out that work. Alongside this, 74% of IT admins thought that remote work makes it harder for employees to follow best security practices. This need to manage security around remote work is no longer temporary. Instead, companies have to build permanent strategies around remote work and security. The coming year will also create a different landscape for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Here are some key predictions for next year and what to start preparing for in 2022: The reality of SMB spending around security will hit home SMBs had to undertake significant investments to adapt to remote working SMBs had to undertake significant investments to adapt to remote working, especially in comparison to their size. They had to undertake significant digital transformation projects that made it possible to deliver services remotely, during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen a shift in mindset for these companies, which are now more tech-focused in their approach to problem solving. According to our research, 45% of SMBs plan to increase their spending towards IT services in 2022. Around half of all organisations think their IT budgets are adequate for their needs, while 14.5% of those surveyed believe they will need more, to cover all that needs to be done. Identity management spending to support remote work For others, the COVID-19 pandemic led to over-spending, just to get ahead of things and they will spend in 2022, looking at what they should keep and what they can reduce their spending on. Areas like identity management will stay in place, as companies struggle to support remote work and security, without this in place. However, on-premise IT spending will be reduced or cut, as those solutions are not relevant for the new work model. Services that rely on on-premise IT will be cut or replaced. The device will lead the way for security We rely on our phones to work and to communicate. In 2022, they will become central to how we manage access, to all our assets and locations, IT and physical. When employees can use company devices and their own phones for work, security is more difficult. IT teams have to ensure that they’re prepared for this, by making sure that these devices can be trusted. 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