Terrorism has become part of everyday life. Over the past 12 months, Europe has experienced some the deadliest attacks in its history and the threat level remains high worldwide.

One of the main issues facing global security professionals today is the breakup of the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate. Following the liberation of Mosel and the assault on Raqqa, it is becoming increasingly likely that terrorists from more than 80 countries will begin to return to their home countries.

This represents a new challenge for security services across Europe. The return of highly trained and ideologically driven individuals will no doubt further increase the threat level across Europe.

Protecting critical assets and people

Those who retain a desire to commit acts of terrorism will continue to seek new ways to avoid detection, as we saw in December with the German Christmas market attack. It means the security industry must evolve and stay one step ahead by investing in new technologies and intelligence solutions that protect critical assets and people from today’s threats.

In May 2017, Security & Counter Terror Expo (SCTX)—the UK’s leading national security event for private and public sector security professionals—will return with a comprehensive programme designed to keep attendees one step ahead of those intent on committing terrorist acts.

Alongside an exhibition of more than 350 businesses, experts from across the globe, including representatives from NATO, Europol, MOD, Metropolitan Police and critical national infrastructure organisations, will explore the latest strategies to prevent, protect and prepare for future attacks.

Border control

Taking place at Olympia, London, from 3rd to 4th May 2017, SCTX remains the only event that unites security professionals from all four corners of the world. Working in partnership with the Department for International Trade (formerly UKTI), the event is expected to welcome a record number of delegations, building upon the 10,000-plus visitors who attended in 2016 from more than 100 countries—including France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, UAE, Canada, and the US.

"The terrorist threat is changing almost daily; this creates countless issues for security professionals"

The two-day event, aligned with the Home Office’s seven security capabilities, will showcase the latest innovations from major suppliers, as well as niche technology providers. Visitors to SCTX 2017 will find a plethora of new solutions, equipment and services designed to assist critical national infrastructure protection, border control, cyber security, major events, offender management, policing and counter terrorism, and the emergency services.

David Thompson, Event Director, said: “The terrorist threat is changing almost daily; this creates countless issues for security professionals. SCTX is an essential platform, it provides a secure environment to source the latest solutions and define effective strategies to current threats.”

Drone and counter drone technology

“The 2017 show will showcase the most innovative technologies and provide those tasked with keeping nations, assets, and businesses safe with a platform to learn from industry leaders. Ultimately SCTX will help security professionals remain one step ahead of those intent on carrying out attacks.”

The exhibition has established itself as an international hub where the industry elite come together to identify the security sector’s most significant innovations and new product launches.

SCTX 2017 will showcase a wide range of product innovations from more than 350 exhibitors, including those supplying the latest in drone and counter drone technology, virtual reality, surveillance control systems, high security fencing and much more.

Pelco by Schneider Electric, Airborne Drones UK, e2v Technologies, Yuneec and GEOQUIP are among the major multinational companies booked and will join more than 120 new exhibitors offering cutting edge services and security solutions to the industry.

Radio Frequency Communications Jamming systems

First time exhibitor K9 Electronics will be showcasing its range of Radio Frequency Communications Jamming systems for both covert and overt operations. The UK-based company designs and manufactures jammers that can defeat drones at a range of five kilometres.

"Our primary focus is counter terrorism and countering the potential threats that drones carry"

Glenn Darien, Director of K9 Electronics, said: “Our primary focus is counter terrorism and countering the potential threats that drones carry. Our systems are currently being used in the Middle East, USA and South East Asia by various government organisations.”

“At the show, we will be exhibiting our new handheld tactical Drone Jammer Gun made for portable use and the covert, briefcase style Drone Jammer. Both have a one kilometre effective Jamming range and are very directional, ensuring that they will have minimal effect on surrounding communications when used correctly.”

VideoXpert video management platform

Following a successful show last year, Pelco by Schneider Electric is returning to SCTX 2017. The company that specialises in security cameras and surveillance systems will be demonstrating its leading VideoXpert video management platform. It will also demonstrate its latest camera technologies, including Opetra multi imager cameras and new low light static and PTZ ranges.

With 127 counter terrorism operations taking place in Europe last year, highlighting the sheer scale of the problem facing security professionals, it has never been more important to share expertise and best practice. Security professionals, law enforcement agencies, government officials and military will attend the annual World Counter Terror Congress to discuss future threats and define joint responses to national security.

With topics ranging from terrorist funding, counter radicalisation tactics, the emerging threats, privacy and technology, 20-plus high ranking officials and academics will lead the congress, providing invaluable trends and information to more than 400 attendees.

"The threat facing the UK and other nations is, and will remain, high for the years to come"

Securing critical national infrastructure

Richard Walton, the former head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) and now a special adviser to Security & Counter Terror Expo, said: “The threat facing the UK and other nations is, and will remain, high for the years to come. Security professionals must use the World Counter Terror Congress to develop their understanding of where the threats are coming from and identify ways that they can be prevented—a unilateral approach it is the only way we will stop attacks in the future from happening.”

The World Counter Terror Congress will feature six sessions, covering policy and strategy responses to the changing terror threat; radicalisation, de-radicalisation and preventing radicalisation; geopolitical security briefings; encryption, communications and security; security for critical national infrastructure; and emerging terror networks and tactics.

Among those confirmed to speak are Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE, QC; Rob Wainwright, Director at Europol; Dr Jamie Shea, Deputy ASG, Emerging Security Challenges Division, NATO; Raffaello Pantucci, Director of International Security Studies, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI); and Thomas Wuchte, Head on Anti-Terrorism Issues, Action Against Terrorism Unit, Organisation for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Cyber security

Cyber security was once again thrust into the spotlight recently, with Russia’s alleged involvement in the US Election. The overall number of incidents the US experienced the previous year, totalled at 77,000, a 1300% increase over the last decade.

The importance of increased cyber security at a national level is now recognised globally, with the UK government creating the National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, in October 2016.

The free-to-attend Cyber Threat Intelligence Conference at SCTX will host the industry’s leading figures who will explore the latest cyber security strategies and share real life case-studies.

Addressing most important security issues

Running across two days in partnership with techUK, the representative body for the UK’s technology industry, the programme will feature the NCSC Chief Executive, Ciaran Martin, who will provide a keynote address on the current and future threat in cyber space and how prepared the UK is.

Other speakers confirmed for the conference include Peter Wood, CEO, First Base Technologies; Nader Heinen, Regional Director, Advanced Security Assurance Advisory, BlackBerry; Ron Gregory, Estates & Facilities Compliance Manager, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust; and Jenny Radcliffe aka 'The People Hacker'.

"The cyber terrorism threat grows immeasurably year-on-year"

Talal Rajab, techUK’s Head of Programme, Cyber and National Security, said: “The cyber terrorism threat grows immeasurably year-on-year and we as an industry, must grow, adapt and react in equal measure. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Conference at Security & Counter Terror Expo provides the opportunity to learn from and meet with some of the key figures in the sector addressing the most important issues we face today.”

Safeguarding critical national infrastructure

In addition to securing the ever-expanding cyber space, protecting national infrastructure and businesses is critical for the effective running of nations. Terrorist groups want to propagate the notion that no one is safe from attack in the western world and everyday life could be disrupted at any time. Security professionals therefore must look at the best way of protecting communications networks, the emergency services, energy plants, financial institutions, governments, health services, transport links and natural resources.

The Critical National Infrastructure & Business Resilience conference will aim to aid public and private entities to identify, assess, prioritise, and protect critical infrastructure and key resources. Allowing them to mitigate deliberate efforts to incapacitate or exploit a nation’s CNI.

The conference will feature a series of presentations from experts on how to protect CNI and business, citing real life examples and case studies and instructing how to create effective strategies utilising cyber, physical security and staff.

Securing borders and transport hubs

Running alongside the Critical National Infrastructure & Business Reliance and Cyber Threat Intelligence conference, the Border & Transport Security Conference will focus on the most critical issues facing borders and transport hubs.

Devastating attacks on transport hubs such as Atatürk international Airport in Turkey and attacks on Brussels Airport and Metro Station, as well as the mass movement of people throughout the world, poses serious problems for security professionals—with borders being exploited by those seeking to do us harm.

"The addition of the Counter IED Zone at SCTX serves to highlight the changing nature of terrorism"

The free-to-attend Border & Transport Security Conference will allow fellow practitioners to share best practice and explore the latest capabilities for secure border and transport management. Visitors will be able to hear from the likes of Bart van Hofwegen, Chief Security National Tactical Command, Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands; Jirí Celikovský, Head of Unit for Coordination of Schengen Cooperation and Border Control, Department for Asylum and Migration Policy, Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic; Peter O'Broin, Director, Airport Operator’s Association; and many more.

Explosive detection

Public and private sector buyers, influencers and government delegations from across the globe will attend SCTX to enhance their current and future security capabilities.

At Advanced Technologies Live, visitors will be able to see and hear more about innovative solutions through a series of live demonstrations. Attendees can view the latest products from the likes of Aerialtronics, dataminr and Aaronia.

New to the event for 2017, Security & Counter Terror Expo will be partnering with DSEI—the world leading defence and security event—to launch the Counter IED Zone. As well as showcasing best practice in reducing the threat of IEDs, live demonstrations will enable EOD, CIED, CBRNe, Defence, Law Enforcement, CT and Security professionals identify new strategies to disarm and detect devices. Exhibitors featuring in the Counter IED Zone include Bomb-Jammer, MIB-Electronic, ISSEE and Med-Eng.

Duncan Reid, Event Director of the DSEI, said: "The addition of the Counter IED Zone at SCTX serves to highlight the changing nature of terrorism. The threat is multifaceted and the security industry must seek out innovations that will help them detect and prevent attacks. This element of the show will help mitigate future threats and help personnel respond more effectively.”

Security & Counter Terror Expo 2017 will be co-located with Ambition—the EPRR Expo—and Forensics Europe Expo.

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Thermal cameras and smart cities: Preventing COVID-19 in public places
Thermal cameras and smart cities: Preventing COVID-19 in public places

With the pandemic still in full swing and no certainty as to when exactly it will come to an end, the world has been battling anxiety for months now. And with each day, circumstances change quickly and almost make it impossible to predict what will happen next, how events will unfold, and what actions to take in light of a new situation. But one thing is certain: the world has been shut down and paralysed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way. In this situation, what is possible to control is how the world will continue reopening – and specifically, how to ensure the safest possible reopening that will ensure the return of some degree of normalcy to people’s lives and business operations, while also managing the risk of COVID’s spread in the most efficient way. Our highly digitised, technologically advanced world This is when the power of technology comes to rescue the day: what truly sets the global crisis we face today apart from other calamities that humanity has encountered over year is the fact that it has developed in a highly digitised, technologically advanced world where each day brings about innovations with a sole purpose to make daily life and operations easier and more streamlined. And among these, the star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence. The world has been shut down and paralysed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way While AI has many avenues of introducing efficiency and fast problem-solving, there is one specific application that will further fuel the reopening of the world and successfully keep the spread of the virus abate. This “collaborative security” application includes a synthesis of smart video analytics, facial recognition, object identification/detection, and thermal cameras that can support the reopening of businesses globally when installed within those facilities frequented by customers. With such a level of sophistication that can ensure uninterrupted monitoring and analysis of large public spaces, these AI technologies can ideally operate best as cloud solutions to ensure a collaborative network with maximum scalability and widespread implementation. As these technologies increase in ubiquity and find their way into daily operations of businesses globally, the cost of the smart solutions will decrease proportionally to the growth of their reach. There are some highly specific ways to create this collaborative network of interconnected safety tools in the current climate. Here are some applications that have been successful to date and will increase in usability in the foreseeable future, creating “smart cities” working together towards a safer, more secure world. Maintaining social distancing practices The most important step everyone around the world has taken to contribute to the effort of slowing the spread of the virus has been social distancing. A six-foot-distance has become a new social norm that has quickly been adopted globally and become a habit to people who are naturally used to being close to others and socialising without giving distance a second thought. The star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence So, it is natural that such distancing measures take time to get accustomed to – and it is also natural that individuals may forget about them from time to time. To help maintain the six-foot distance between people at all times and give them slight nudges to keep the rule top of their minds, AI video technology can be trained to estimate the distance between individuals in public and commercial areas and identify the cases in which people get too close to each other. By notifying local merchants or authorities about such cases, the system can help ensure the safety of everyone in the area at all times while positively reinforcing the public to gradually get more accustomed to maintaining the distance and thus helping stop the spread of the virus. Detecting the virus through facial recognition Perhaps the straightforward application of such high-level technology is using video surveillance to identify persons of interest who have tested positive for the virus. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity, making it possible to identify individuals whose records show they have antibodies from those who can be potential carriers of the virus. After the initial differentiation and identification, the system can then notify the employers and employees of the facility about the results of the conducted analysis and the pursuant results, allowing them to be more vigilant and take action where necessary to ensure a safe experience for everyone. PPE reinforcement Wearing a mask or some sort of face coverage in public spaces and especially within facilities (such as stores, for instance) has been - and will continue to be - a requirement for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for people to continue with their day-to-day lives and businesses to resume regular operations. To this extent, the object detection and identification abilities of smart cameras can further reinforce this requirement and ensure that the absence of protective equipment doesn’t go unnoticed.  Essentially, these cameras can easily identify if an individual has coverage at any given point of time or not, notifying the local authorities about any risks immediately and helping them maintain necessary safety measures without having to interrupt their workflow or worry about missing a visitor without a mask. Detecting high temperature One of the key (and the most widespread) symptoms of COVID-19 is a high fever - a certain indicator of whether an individual may have been infected with the virus or not. While identifying fever with a regular human eye is nearly impossible, AI can do so at a fraction of time by quickly scanning body temperatures of any incoming individuals and determine whether it’s above CDC’s recommended temperature of 100.4F in order to determine the risk factor and notify the local authorities to take action. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity This technology is a good tactic to objectively assess potential risks that come with elevated temperatures - and sometimes, the people themselves might not realise they might (unconsciously) be carriers of the virus and thus endanger the safety of others in their vicinity. The technology is yet another step towards ensuring a safer reopening of the global economy and a more streamlined way of getting back on track while minimising the risk of spreading the virus further. It’s not all about the theory  We have tested the described approaches in our own R&D campus in Europe. The latest release of the IREX cloud enables remote fever detection and monitoring of social isolation and mask policies with AI. We have integrated thermal cameras to detect people with elevated temperature and CCTV cameras for identification and notifying those who potentially ill. In case of any health threat, the venue manager gets an instant message with a picture and exact location. These preventive steps helped our employees return to the office months earlier than it's happening in other countries. Moreover, personnel coming back to the office by their own wish as now they feel a virus-free environment in the campus - even safer than in their own homes. Now we are launching a pilot project for a well-known pharmacy chain in Florida, USA. With the help of a Computer Vision platform, staff will be able to divide customer traffic into those with normal body temperature and those who come in with elevated temperatures, as well as effectively monitor social distance norms. The goal of our potential client is to maximise the safety of customers in the post-pandemic period. Also, IREX is already deployed across hundreds of locations in the UK and will add health monitoring capability soon.

Why cloud-enabled physical security must be part of your long-term digital strategy
Why cloud-enabled physical security must be part of your long-term digital strategy

COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown saw an unprecedented demand for cloud-enabled technologies across Europe. Such services enabled people to stay connected and allowed some businesses to relocate personnel and continue to operate successfully. With enterprise-focused video conferencing mobile app downloads showing a weekly 90% increase in comparison to pre-COVID-19 figures, it’s clear that cloud services have proven invaluable in these challenging times. Now, as the benefits to business of cloud technology become apparent, and the grip of COVID-19 begins to loosen, senior decision makers must consider the learnings from the past few months and look to apply them to boost productivity, streamline costs or become more agile in the long term. Digital transformation presents some enticing advantages for those companies that have been slow to adapt. The physical security industry, traditionally video surveillance cameras (CCTV) and access control, will have witnessed how cloud infrastructure is not only cost effective and safe, but is a force multiplier for connecting platforms, services and people with potent business benefits. The future is VSaaS and ACaaS In today’s modern, connected world, dated technologies are giving way to their cloud-enabled successors, video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS). In this context, cameras and readers are added to a network as IoT devices that bring security systems up to date and represent a vital component in any modern, cyber-secure digital strategy. Frictionless access control has meant touch free access to buildings But better security is just one benefit of a much greater system that can bring real value. Built in analytics, for example, that utilise the data from network video cameras and smart access control devices, produce valuable business insights that help to inform and automate decision making. In the recent pandemic, frictionless access control has meant touch free access to buildings; while occupancy tools have helped retailers adhere to strict government guidelines on social distancing. And as more security equipment becomes connected to the wider IT network, the advantages have not been lost on the IT industry that is expressing more than a passing interest in the adoption and management of such systems. Morphean recently conducted a survey of 1000 IT decision makers across the UK and Europe, with the purpose of providing clarity around their security purchasing intent in the 2020s. Findings revealed that as many as 84% of IT managers are currently using or considering VSaaS or ACaaS systems, pointing to an appreciation of the convergence of physical security and IT security, and a willingness to embrace systems when integrated with IT in the cloud. An adaptable business model with recurring revenues Of course, it is not just the IT industry that is changing mindsets towards hosted physical security. As a result of COVID-19, end customers are demanding it too and found it easier to scale at speed when business circumstances changed. Rather than being tied to fixed IT infrastructure on premises, a hosted solution offered greater dexterity as operational challenges around the pandemic arose. Businesses were able to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing need without the need for large upfront capital investment, instead, paying for the convenience as-a-service out of operational expenditure as a monthly cost. This is the proven business model of cloud, yet the security industry has been slow to adopt it. One key challenge is the way in which the prevalent business models in the sector operate. VSaaS is still alien to installers and integrators used to selling hardware on narrow margins, reliant on existing financial arrangements with distributors to fund new equipment. Transitioning to sales cycles based on monthly licences rather than up-front purchases won’t be easy, but the security channel must learn how if it is to remain competitive and drive new business opportunities. This recurring revenue model will be interesting for the physical security industry who will have witnessed uncertainty and, in some cases, a downturn in revenues as decisions around capital expenditure were put on hold during the crisis. Instead, convenient and recurring monthly payments will have put the installer on a firmer footing and guaranteed ongoing vendor support backed by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades to ensure delivery of a high quality service that’s always up to date and online. What is driving your digital strategy? VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution Cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success. CEOs and CIOs within the physical security reseller industry must learn the lessons and apply the learnings to drive their businesses forward in the ‘new normal’ where hosted security solutions must surely play a major part to expand their offering to a wiser customer base. Cloud-enabled physical security solutions represent an investment into improving security and operations, and a chance to forge new business relationships to face the challenges of an ever changing world.

Facial recognition: Contactless solutions for a safe, post-pandemic world
Facial recognition: Contactless solutions for a safe, post-pandemic world

Facial recognition technology has come a long way since it first came to market several years ago. Initially plagued with technical challenges and widely viewed as a futuristic solution, facial recognition is now firmly implanted in numerous consumer and business products and applications. New advancement in software, specifically in the areas of algorithms, neural networks and deep learning and/or artificial intelligence (AI), have all dramatically improved both the performance and accuracy of facial recognition, further expanding its use for an increasing number of applications. From a purely business perspective, facial recognition’s powerful identification and authentication capabilities make it ideal for two primary applications: first as a security tool, and second as a workforce management solution. The touchless, accurate credential solution Facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the touchless nature of facial recognition as an access credential was gaining traction with physical and cyber security professionals. By using an individual’s face as an access control credential, facial recognition eliminates the need and expense of physical cards and proximity devices, or the need to physically enter PIN codes. In addition, facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses by offering a highly accurate touchless access control credentialing solution. As a workforce management tool, facial recognition helps preserve the health of employees checking into work, while providing management with an infallible means of documenting employee time and attendance while providing a detailed history of overall workforce activity and individual personnel tracking. Both of which have been longstanding challenges due to easily compromised time tracking systems and practices. Now, nothing is left to question based on hard data. With the growing popularity of facial recognition technology, there are many choices already available with more undoubtedly on the way. Selecting the right solution for your specific access control and/or workforce management application is dependent on a very wide range of variables. But there are a few core characteristics that you should look for when evaluating facial recognition readers. Wide and near-angle LEDs Most facial recognition terminals employ some form of IR (Infrared) technology to help ensure high visibility by the unit’s image sensor. This often limits where the unit can be installed such as outdoors or near windows due to strong ambient light. More advanced facial recognition readers employ as many as 80 wide-angle near infrared LEDs and 60 narrow-angle near infrared LEDs, allowing the unit to recognise faces even in full daylight and brightly lit environments (not direct sun). This enables installation at indoor locations near windows, lobbies and building entries. 3D pixel intensity distribution analysis Another facial recognition reader advancement to look for involves three-dimensional pixel intensity analysis. Ambient lighting contains ultraviolet rays which can negate near infrared LED lighting, and can also cast shadows making it difficult for a facial recognition reader to pinpoint the facial recognition points required for identification and authentication. Three-dimensional pixel intensity distribution analysis minimises the effects of ambient light when acquiring facial images by minimising lighting contrasts. As a result, it is easier for the algorithm to recognise the shape of the face, enabling it to extract more facial features and create higher quality face templates, which are critical for accurate facial recognition. Functional ergonomics This results in a faster, more comfortable, and convenient user experience The angle and position of a facial recognition reader directly impact the performance of the unit. Facial recognition readers with different viewing angles for built-in visual and infrared cameras allows users to stand at positions that are most suitable for facial recognition with little or no effort of contortions. This results in a faster, more comfortable, and convenient user experience. High performance processing Like any intelligent edge device, the performance of a facial recognition solution is directly reliant on its processing power. New advanced facial recognition readers deliver exceptional performance by employing enhanced face template extraction technology combined with powerful processor. For example, a facial recognition reader with a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor can perform up to 3,000 facial database matches (1:N) within one second. More advanced solutions also feature Group Matching functionality capable of executing up to 30,000 matches within one second. Live face detection It is most important that the facial recognition readers you evaluate are capable of analysing faces in real time to maintain fluid entry/egress even during high volumes of employee traffic. Hardware-dependent live face detection systems employing technologies such as facial thermogram recognition and facial vein recognition require expensive hardware components, provide less accurate matches and slower authentication performance, which is counterintuitive for mainstream access control and workforce management applications. Dual authentication for added security Although the use of an advanced facial recognition reader provides the convenience, health benefits and cost-savings of touchless identification and authentication, there are many applications where more than one credential may be necessary to ensure the highest levels of security. Advanced facial recognition readers with multimodal, multifactor credentialing capabilities provide this added security benefit. For example, facial recognition readers that support multiple RFID proximity devices supporting 125 kHz and 13.56 MHz provide varying degrees of protection and greater implementation versatility. Videophone or intercom capabilities Facial recognition readers with multifunctionality can solve several challenges with one solution Facial recognition readers with multifunctionality can solve several challenges with one solution. A perfect example includes devices with SIP (session initiation protocol) videophone capabilities which effectively eliminate the need and associated expense of  installing separate intercom devices while adding another layer of security to one’s facility. The COVID-19 pandemic, and hopefully soon to follow post-pandemic world, have surely accelerated the need for highly accurate, cost-efficient, and reliable facial recognition technologies to help get people back to work safely. Selecting the right facial recognition solution for your specific access control and/or workforce management is now more important than ever before, making a little extra due diligence during the evaluation process a smart decision.