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Cutting through the hype: AI and ML for the security space
Cutting through the hype: AI and ML for the security space

Today’s organisations face numerous diverse threats to their people, places and property, sometimes simultaneously. Security leaders now know all too well how a pandemic can cripple a company’s ability to produce goods and services, or force production facilities to shut down, disrupting business continuity. For example, a category three hurricane barreling towards the Gulf of Mexico could disable the supplier’s facilities, disrupt the supply chain and put unexpected pressure on an unprepared local power grid. Delivering timely critical information Tracking such risk is hard enough, but managing it is even more difficult. A swift response depends on delivering the right information to the right people, at the right time. And, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Indeed, 61 percent of large enterprises say critical information came too late for them, in order to mitigate the impact of a crisis, according to Aberdeen Research (Aberdeen Strategy & Research). These challenges are accelerating the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI) These challenges are accelerating the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI). The technology promises to help us discover new insights, predict the future and take over tasks that are now handled by humans. Maybe even cure cancer. Accelerating the hype around AI But is AI really living up to all this hype? Can it really help security professionals mitigate risk? After all, there’s a serious need for technology to provide fast answers to even faster-moving issues, given the proliferation of data and the speed at which chaos can impact operations. Risk managers face three major obstacles to ensuring business continuity and minimising disruptions. These include: Data fatigue - Simply put, there’s too much data for human analysts to process in a timely manner. By 2025, the infosphere is expected to produce millions of words per day. At that pace, you’d need an army of analysts to monitor, summarise and correlate the information to your impacted locations, before you can communicate instructions. It’s a herculean task, made even more difficult, when we consider that 30 percent of this global datasphere is expected to be consumed in real time, according to IDC. Relevance and impact - Monitoring the flood of information is simply the first hurdle. Understanding its impact is the second. When a heat dome is predicted to cover the entire U.S. Pacific Northwest, risk managers must understand the specifics. Will it be more or less hot near their facilities? Do they know what steps local utilities are taking to protect the power grid? Such questions can’t be answered by a single system. Communication - Once you know which facilities are impacted and what actions to take, you need to let your employees know. If the event is urgent, an active shooter or an earthquake, do you have a fast, effective way to reach these employees? It’s not as simple as broadcasting a company-wide alert. The real question is, do you have the ability to pinpoint the location of your employees and not just those working on various floor in the office, but also those who are working from home? How AI and ML cut through the noise Although Artificial Intelligence can help us automate simple tasks, such as alert us to breaking news, it requires several Machine Learning systems to deliver actionable risk intelligence. Machine Learning is a branch of AI that uses algorithms to find hidden insights in data, without being programmed where to look or what to conclude. More than 90 percent of risk intelligence problems use supervised learning, a Machine Learning approach defined by its use of labelled datasets. The benefit of supervised learning is that it layers several pre-vetted datasets, in order to deliver context-driven AI The benefit of supervised learning is that it layers several pre-vetted datasets, in order to deliver context-driven AI. Reading the sources, it can determine the category, time and location, and cluster this information into a single event. As a result, it can correlate verified events to the location of the people and assets, and notify in real time. It’s faster, more customised and more accurate than simple Artificial Intelligence, based on a single source of data. Real-world actionable risk intelligence How does this work in the real world? One telecommunications company uses AI and ML to protect a mobile workforce, dispersed across several regions. An AI-powered risk intelligence solution provides their decision makers with real-time visibility into the security of facilities, logistics and personnel movements. Machine Learning filters out the noise of irrelevant critical event data, allowing their security teams to focus only on information specific to a defined area of interest. As a result, they’re able to make informed, proactive decisions and rapidly alert employees who are on the move. Four must-have AI capabilities To gain real actionable risk intelligence, an AI solution should support four key capabilities: A focus on sourcing quality over quantity. There are tens of thousands of sources that provide information about emerging threats - news coverage, weather services, social media, FBI intelligence and so much more. Select feeds that are trusted, relevant and pertinent to your operations. Swift delivery of relevant intelligence. To reduce the mean-time-to-recovery (MTTR), risk managers need an accurate understanding of what’s happening. Consider the different contextual meanings of the phrases ‘a flood of people in the park’ and ‘the park is at risk due to a flood’. Machine Learning continuously increases the speed of data analysis and improves interpretation. Ability to cross-reference external events with internal data. As it scans different data sources, an AI engine can help you fine-tune your understanding of what’s happening and where. It will pick up contextual clues and map them to your facilities automatically, so you know immediately what your response should be. Ready-to-go communications. Long before a threat emerges, you can create and store distribution, and message templates, as well as test your critical communications system. Handling these tasks well in advance means you can launch an alert at a moment’s notice. The ability to minimise disruptions and ensure business continuity depends on speed, relevance and usability. AI and ML aren’t simply hype. Instead, they’re vital tools that make it possible for security professionals to cut through the noise faster and protect their people, places and property.

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

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated our digital dependency, on a global scale. Data centres have become even more critical to modern society. The processing and storage of information underpin the economy, characterised by a consistent increase in the volume of data and applications, and reliance upon the internet and IT services. Data centres classed as CNI As such, they are now classed as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and sit under the protection of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). As land continues to surge in value, data centre operators are often limited for choice, on where they place their sites and are increasingly forced to consider developed areas, close to other infrastructures, such as housing or industrial sites. 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.

We need to talk about intelligent enclosure protection
We need to talk about intelligent enclosure protection

Enclosures containing electronics, communications or cabling infrastructure offer a simple attack point for cyber breaches and an opportunity for a physical attack on the hardware. Yet, many of these assets are housed within enclosures that provide minimal security features to offer a deterrent to any would-be attacker. This has always just been a pet hate. Walking down the high street of a town anywhere in the United Kingdom, you can often see open street communication cabinets. You can actually look directly inside at the equipment. And if I was a bad guy, I could quite easily just put my foot into their enclosure and quite quickly take out their infrastructure. Charged service for enclosures This seems crazy when a US$ 2 magnetic contact on a door can quickly tell you whether your enclosure is open or shut, and can be vital in keeping your network alive. Moreover, the operators of these systems, whether it is telecoms or internet providers, are providing a charged service to their customers, so they should really be protecting their enclosures. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? More sobering, if you contrast this security approach to the approach taken in the data centre world, an environment that already has multiple stringent security protocols in place, you get a very different picture. For instance, security devices can capture snapshots of anyone who opens a cabinet door in a data room, so it is recorded who has opened that door. While that is just one simple example, it begs the question. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? In my mind, a lot of it boils down simply to education. Network connection, easy point of cyber attacks Our preconceived idea about cyber security is some big corporation being knocked out or held to ransom by, again in our mind, someone sitting at a laptop, probably with their hood up over their head, typing away in the darkness, attacking us through the internet. But how the would-be criminal is going to come at us is just like in sport. They attack at the weakest point. Networks can be deployed in the outside world in many ways, such as cameras monitoring the highways. That means those locations will have a network connection. And that can be a point of attack in a non-secure outside world. Enclosures can be broken into by attackers Many people think, ‘That is okay because I’m going to take that ethernet device that my cameras are connected to and I’m going to put it inside an enclosure.’ However, what people do not realize is that the only thing that the enclosure is doing is protecting the ethernet device from Mother Nature. Because, without proper security, those enclosures can be broken into pretty easily. Many of them are just a single key that is not in any way coded to the device. Twofold cyber security People need to realise that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking Therein lays the problem. People need to realise that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking into the weakest physical point. And so, a simple boot through the open door of an enclosure can vandalise the devices inside and take down a small or large part of a network. And by definition, this meets the criteria for a cyber-attack. So, how do we go about tackling this problem? Well, security is a reaction marketplace. And for enclosures, there’s not, at present, a plethora of solutions out there for to counter these types of attacks. It can be challenging to find what you’re looking for through a quick Google search compared to searching for more traditional security protection measures. Deploying smart sensors and detectors But, under Vanderbilt and ComNet, we are currently taking our knowledge and experience from system installation and compiling it together. We’re bringing different products from different parts of our business to make a true solution. For instance, we have sensors for enclosures that detect anything from gas or smoke to open doors, detectors that will tell you if someone is trying to smash open your enclosure with a sledgehammer, or that someone is trying to lift your enclosure off of its mount. More importantly, as is not really a one-size-fits-all solution, we have developed a menu structure available that allows customers to pick and choose the ones that will best fit their own requirements.

Latest Elmdene International Limited news

IFSEC 2015: TDSi to demonstrate integration opportunities with other security providers
IFSEC 2015: TDSi to demonstrate integration opportunities with other security providers

The event is the opportunity to learn more about how products can be integrated with a broad range of complementary systems Integrated security manufacturer TDSi will be demonstrating the considerable benefits of full integration of its solutions with other specialist manufacturers, including Texecom, Milestone, ASSA ABLOY and SimonsVoss, on stand F1100, at IFSEC International 2015 this month. John Davies, Managing Director of TDSi commented, "IFSEC International is the perfect opportunity to learn more about how our products can be integrated with a broad range of complementary systems, from wireless locking systems to intruder alarms and CCTV VMS Platforms. All of these can be centrally administered by our EXgarde software, which provides a fully comprehensive, centrally managed security." TDSi to be a key part of 'Harmony Village' TDSi will again be a key part of the 'Harmony Village' at IFSEC International, which includes partners Texecom, GJD and Elmdene all in close proximity – making it simple for visitors to understand the connecting technologies. TDSi will also be working in close co-operation with Milestone, ASSA ABLOY and SimonsVoss at the show to explain the integration partnerships between the technologies and the providers. Distribution Partner Manager; LeAnne Hill, Channel Partner Manager; Alex Rumsey and Channel Partner Manager; Richard Hill will all be on hand on stand F1100 to discuss the benefits of working with TDSi in the UK. For international visitors attending the show, International Business Development Manager; Mica Negrilic will be available to talk about opportunities to partner TDSi in EMEA. John Davies will also be on hand to talk about the opportunities in China and the Asia Pacific region. Latest range of readers on display On stand F1100 TDSi will display its latest range of readers. These include new versions of its MIFARE and Proximity Readers, including MIFARE Plus and DESFire technologies, for added security and flexibility. Also on display will be the company's SOLOgarde, MICROgarde and EX-Series controllers, along with the combination options of its software products - including EXgarde security management and VUgarde Video Management Software. Motivational speakers This year IFSEC International features a number of well-known motivational speakers - including British racing driver and former track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy MBE, sporting executive Baroness Karren Brady CBE and Adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE. TDSi is keen to encourage visitors from across the UK who may be considering attending the show. A recent blog (www.tdsi.co.uk/ifsec15_north) outlines the benefits of attending the show and also makes suggestions on the best ways to travel to the ExCel and to make the most of the event.

Intersec 2015: BSIA members experience positive response
Intersec 2015: BSIA members experience positive response

The BSIA-organised UK Pavilion the focal point of the highest-ever turnout of UK companies The Intersec exhibition held in Dubai last month is fast becoming a must attend event for British security providers. Members of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and its Export Council, who were there in force for the 17th year, report a high level of interest in the wide range of innovative UK security solutions, from integrated systems to access control, CCTV, perimeter protection, intruder alarm and power supply technology, on display. The scale of the British presence at Intersec 2015 was certainly impressive this time around, with the BSIA-organized UK Pavilion the focal point of the highest-ever turnout of UK companies. The positive experience of Export Council member companies at Intersec 2015 was captured by a post-event survey, with 75% of respondents answering that the number of visitors coming to their stands had grown year-on-year, paralleling what the organisers themselves have been saying. Beyond this, half of the member companies surveyed pointed out that the quality of attendees had improved - a welcome trend. Reflecting on the bottom-line business benefits, three-quarters said that they expect to obtain more orders thanks to Intersec and, looking ahead to 2016, all of the companies who replied confirmed that they were planning to attend next year's event. So what were visitors to Intersec 2015 most interested in? Well, security integration seems have been the hot topic, with all respondents to the BSIA's Export Council's post-show survey selecting it as one of the standout technology areas. This mirrors the findings of the BSIA's security and business trends research and underlines the increasing recognition amongst BSIA members’ customers of the enhanced security, and day-to-day management, benefits that can be unlocked when a number of elements from access control to video surveillance can be brought together in a seamless IP environment rather than remaining in their own discrete, and unconnected, silos. "From our members’ survey it is clear that not only was the number of on-stand visits on an upward trajectory but, crucially, there was a corresponding uplift in the level and quality of enquiries" Other technologies on the shopping list for Intersec 2015, according to the BSIA survey, included: HD (High Definition) CCTV and ultra HD in the form of 4K which continues to prove a popular choice thanks, undoubtedly, to the ability to provide additional detail in security critical applications such as banks and hotel lobbies and changing legislative requirements across the region. Beyond this video content analysis, biometrics for access control and ANPR were also in the frame. Commenting on Intersec 2015, Tom Sharrard, Vice Chair of the Export Council at the BSIA, is delighted with how the exhibition turned out for member companies: “Intersec 2015 certainly surpassed our expectations. From our members’ survey it is clear that not only was the number of on-stand visits on an upward trajectory but, crucially, there was a corresponding uplift in the level and quality of enquiries. It will, of course, be interesting to see how this translates into physical orders in the months ahead. There is little doubt that Intersec remains a strong platform for our members targeting the region, an area which appreciates the benefits of working with British businesses which offer best practice solutions that comply with the latest industry standards." Member companies were asked for their thoughts regarding Intersec 2015: Chris Williams, Director at VMS (Video Management Software) specialist Wavestore (www.wavestore.com) feels that the design of the UK Pavilion was particularly strong this year and was happy with the level of visitors: “The many visitors who attended on all three days delivered one of the best shows for some time.” A key focus for Wavestore was the energy saving capabilities of its V6 VMS which automates the spin down of hard drives not engaged in active read and write processes. Paul King, Commercial Director at Elmdene (www.elmdene.co.uk) reports that switch mode power supplies delivering efficiency levels of up to 90% were a big draw at Intersec, with leads up by 20%: “There was a lot of attention being given to our EN54 STX power supplies, high specification CCTV power supplies and PoE solutions,” says King. Natalie Simpson, Marketing Manager, Synectics (www.synecticsuk.com) says that the company's team at Intersec saw significant interest in integrated solutions and the EX camera station range, including thermal imaging. Reflecting on the bottom-line business benefits, three-quarters said that they expect to obtain more orders thanks to Intersec Another company whose solutions fitted-in with the market push for integration was TDSi (www.tdsi.co.uk), thanks to its powerful Exgarde access control software and VUgardeCCTV video management software. By the second day of the show, Managing Director John Davies was already pointing to an upward trend in attendees, a fact reflected in the company's final figures which rose by a fifth. Helen Williams, Marketing Executive at Remsdaq (www.remsdaq.com) says that the company secured record visitor numbers from across the Middle East and Africa: “We anticipate significant new business based on our multi-award winning EntroWatch and EntroStar access control products and the brand new EntroPad proximity reader with its unique Arabic keypad.” Tony Smith, Major Accounts and Marketing Manager at Integrated Design Ltd (IDL), renowned for its Fastlane turnstile solutions (www.fastlaneturnstiles.com), is also upbeat after a steady increase in visitors over the past few years. He reckons that the show is a good way to move existing business forward: “People from projects in the Gulf were able to come to see us for technical training and to look at the products they had purchased.” A member company using Intersec to show the shape of things to come was IndigoVision (www.indigovision.com) in the form of its FrontLine body worn video. Paul Murphy the company's Head of Marketing feels there is tremendous potential for the technology: “It has come to the point where it is durable and lightweight enough, and can record for long enough, for deployment by front line staff.” Users could range from staff at airports to those who are public-facing in hotels."

BSIA appoints Elmdene Managing Director Ian Moore as Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council
BSIA appoints Elmdene Managing Director Ian Moore as Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council

A long-term contributor to the BSIA’s Export Council, Ian’s expertise continues to help new exporters gain a foothold in overseas markets Following the British Security Industry Association’s AGM, Elmdene Ltd’s Managing Director, Ian Moore, has been appointed Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council. With an export career spanning 20 years, Ian has made a positive contribution to the international growth of a number of businesses cross-nationally; working in the UK, Taiwan, Dubai and Libya. As Managing Director at Elmdene, a large-scale manufacturer of electronic products, Ian has in-depth experience exporting worldwide. Most notably to Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Nordics, South Africa and the Middle East. Ian has also honed his thought leadership skills throughout his professional development; from teaching at the Royal Navy Engineering University near the start of his career to later lecturing at the National Police College in Taiwan. In 2003, Ian established Detector Technologies and oversaw the company’s growth from a start-up to an international business with offices in the UK, Australia, Dubai and South Africa in just six years. A long-term contributor to the BSIA’s Export Council, Ian’s expertise continues to help new exporters gain a foothold in overseas markets. In recognition of his ongoing involvement in the Council, Ian was also recently awarded the Chairman’s Award for Contribution to Exporting at the BSIA’s Annual Lunch. Ian is looking forward to his new role and is ambitious about the future of the Export Council. When asked what his main focus as Chairman over the next twelve months will be, he replied: “I am very keen to educate members through the Council of the opportunities and risks of exporting. There is a natural assumption that exporting should be the first strategy to growing business – this is not necessarily true. Only when the home market is near to saturation (unless there is an unquestioning opportunity) and they have the products and market acceptance, should they go down this route. “Many British companies have products that will only sell into regions that are discerning about quality, innovation, compliance etc. With the extra price tag that this normally brings (including the amortisation of self and third party approving) – they will not normally be competitive when it is purely about price. In addition I want to emphasise the value the Export Council can give to its members and prospective members.” The BSIA’s Export Council, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is a forum which allows relationships between the UK's security industry and overseas buyers to be founded and cultivated, and acts as an invaluable port of call for overseas-based contacts interested in developing a relationship with a UK company as a partner, customer or distributor.

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