Articles by David Barnard
There are few things that unite people better than tragedy, whether that takes the form of mourning a common loss or navigating the unknown. As industries across the globe continue to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic and a new way of life that accompanies it, we have seen a level of togetherness previously unmatched. Messages of #strongertogether and #youarenotalone are shared widely across social media. And despite the unknown nature of COVID-19 and its far-reaching impact giving reason after reason to call it quits, the world has pushed on – and the security industry is no exception. This global pandemic is uncharted territory for each and every one of us. As a result, companies are shifting to remote work and reduced schedules, and are collaborating with partners they once deemed competitors. These newfound partnerships will be paramount in remaining successful both now and when the dust settles. As the industry continues to navigate this turbulent time, there are a few key ways to continue moving forward in a world that is seemingly at a standstill. Share ideas There are few alive today who have experienced a pandemic of this scale. For that reason alone, it is necessary for companies to realise they are not alone. No person, or group of people, truly know the best way to maintain business continuity when cash flow has decreased seemingly overnight. This is why it is more important than ever to think outside the box and innovate through collaboration. It is only through thoughtful conversation, trial and error, and varied perspectives that companies will be able to make deliberate decisions that will ensure current and future success for the company. Our communication has certainly increased as we strive to move forward At RS2, we have a number of companies we work with on an ongoing basis, but our communication has certainly increased as we strive to move forward amidst the current landscape. Open Options and Vanderbilt are both ACRE companies that we regularly meet with to share ideas of what we’re doing to better serve our people. While end users are important to consider, it is also necessary to examine how companies are taking care of their employees during this time. Hearing from companies who are sharing what has worked for them and what hasn’t in navigating a remote workforce can be extremely beneficial in making decisions that will have lasting benefits. At RS2, that meant transferring two-thirds of our team to remote work. We can only keep business moving if our employees are safe. Through collaboration we can complete the solutions needed for a safer, more dynamic, and ever-ready world. Embrace remote options A majority of the world is currently working from home, so businesses must respond to this changing landscape. While it used to be that in-person networking events and sales pitches secured new projects or opportunities, the current landscape pushes businesses to be more creative in how they reach their customers. For example, with ISC West being postponed, many companies have turned to online resources to share new product demonstrations and other company news. Others are hosting webinars as a way to discuss the current climate and what it means for the industry. This immediate shift to embrace more virtual opportunities to communicate is a heavy indicator that the business to client relationship is changing, and that companies must fill the gaps to maintain connectivity and openness. Many companies have turned to online resources to share new product demonstrations Another important demographic to consider when offering remote options is integrators and system designers. At the end of the day, they are making recommendations to end users, so it is important to keep them up to date on latest offerings and best practices associated with your businesses’ particular product. In-person experiences were often the gold standard for training dealers and integrators about the platforms they offer, but with travel restrictions in place, these same solutions providers have had to virtualise these experiences. Online platforms and programs are emerging to make these classes available remotely, webinars are replacing one-on-one training opportunities, and partners are teaming up to share the benefits and inner workings of integrations. Now is a better time than ever to ensure resources are available to technology partners. Though in-person installations are few, it is possible to continue offering educational courses that will benefit all players in the market in the future. Stay flexible It is important for all businesses to recognise how truly unprecedented this situation is Above all else, it is important for all businesses to recognise how truly unprecedented this situation is and to lead with compassion. Project requests may be down as a result of stay-at-home orders, but this is only temporary. Business ethics are being tested, and those who lead with employee safety in mind will reap the long-term benefits. Consider offering a flexible work schedule as opposed to stringent 8-to-5 office hours. Employees are expected to do their jobs well, but they are also facing new challenges: kids out of school, sharing a workspace with spouses, and coordinating meals for little ones throughout the day. Companies cannot control the variables in an individual employee’s life, so it is necessary more than ever to maintain open lines of communication and be understanding. Though a difficult time, the coronavirus will bring out the true nature of companies. How businesses lead now will determine how successful they are tomorrow. More than ever, it’s important to have employees who you can rely on to get the job done, but who can also rely on you to make human decisions. At the end of the day, businesses all have the same goal: to help support our partners, customers and friends during this unprecedented time. By listening, offering remote options and taking care of employees, businesses will be better prepared to navigate the uncertainty of this pandemic. In a climate where things change on a daily basis, all we can truly focus on is what we can control: keeping our heads up, keeping employees safe, and striving for a better tomorrow.
RS2 Technologies, a renowned provider of access control systems, announced additional functionality and enhanced integrations for video and key management with its latest software update for Access It! Universal. Version 8 brings a range of new features, including licensing updates and more options for mobile credential functionality, which allows touchless access and streamlined integration that limit human interaction in deployment. Access It! Universal is aimed at providing businesses of all sizes with an access management solution to fit their needs - whether it’s simple access control for a few employees in a single building or multiple locations for thousands of employees in a multi-region, multi-server system. Updates to the software build on the RS2 goal to provide customers with the ability to envision a truly customisable design that allows them to select the features they need to build a scalable, cost-effective system. Intelligent key management The new update also allows for seamless integration with Traka by ASSA ABLOY The new update also allows for seamless integration with Traka by ASSA ABLOY, which offers intelligent key and equipment management through the Access It! Universal dashboard. Users can grant and restrict access to Traka cabinets and lockers, allowing for the seamless transmission of equipment, such as keys or tablets, to employees without having to assign managers to issue them. Intelligence-driven event monitoring and records enable customers to audit in accordance with company policies. The Version 8 update also includes: Licensing that can now be managed instantly, anytime from within the Access It! Universal application with the click of a button Simplified API licence management Mobile credential integration with HID Global and Farpointe, as well as ACT ID, RS2’s free credential option powered by WaveLynx Technologies Enhanced DVR integrations that allow users to view third-party video directly in the Access It! Universal software instead of launching a new programme in a new window, enabling a more integrated viewing of playback and live video Access management experience “RS2 Technologies is constantly looking for ways to enhance the access management experience for our customers, listening to their needs and ensuring they’re able to get the most from their investment in our Access It! Universal software,” said David Barnard, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, RS2 Technologies. “With this new updated version of the software, the user experience is truly enhanced, bringing additional value to our customers and providing even more ways that the software can be used to manage not only access, but provide more functionality for improving business operations and streamlining all aspects of the security system.”
A substantial focus of the security industry is on the selection and installation of security systems, and there is no doubt that this is a critical element of the process. However, in order to ensure that security systems such as access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection and panic alarms deliver on ‘game day’, an equal if not greater emphasis has to be put on the actions that are taken after the installers have closed the doors on the truck and driven away. This article covers some important issues that were covered at the 2019 International Association of Professional Security Consultants (IAPSC) annual conference in Miami, Florida, where Frank Pisciotta, CSC, Business Protection Specialists, Inc. and Michael Silva, CPP, Silva Consultants, facilitated a discussion among security professionals on the topic. Backwards compatibility in access control solutions David Barnard of RS2 security highlighted the importance of backwards compatibility in access control solutions David Barnard of RS2 Technologies LLC highlighted the importance of backwards compatibility in access control software solutions. Reputable manufacturers are constantly evolving software products and it is critical that software continues to work with all installed hardware or owners will find themselves purchasing equipment a second time, which is never good news. An example, a case study with a client where the video management software upgrades were not backwards compatible through the mobile app and a small manufacturing site was looking at a US$ 75,000 price tag to upgrade cameras to make them compatible with the ‘updated software’. Risks of failures in door hardware products Jim Primovic from ASSA ABLOY cautioned about the risks of failures in door hardware products resulting in a failure to attention to detail in the selection and, in particular, the installation process. He explained the importance of using certified installers to avoid operation problems. In light of constantly evolving software revisions, how often does one see any additional training provided to end users when software updates are released? Charles Johnson of Open Options raised this important point and it is an excellent one. As organisations think about structuring maintenance agreements, it might be wise to consider ongoing training to cover software updates and ensure that end users can continue to optimise the features and benefits of software revisions. Software Support Kim Kornmaier of Honeywell mentioned another element of security system lifecycle consideration, which is ‘Software Support’. Maintenance agreements are available and will likely be offered from every installer and come in a variety of flavours. However, care needs to be exercised to ensure that whatever services and support are included, in the scope of a maintenance agreement, have a clear correlation between service and software upgrades versus the fee charged. Software upgrades and system testing Maintenance agreements should be avoided that simply guarantee the free replacement of parts (which may or may not ever get used, even after you pay for it). Services that should be considered include software upgrades, system testing and replacement of consumable parts, like back up batteries. Another key issue ties directly to periodically measuring and ensuring the risk reduction results of security systems, for example, with an access control system, there are several actions recommended for system owners, including: Conduct periodic door and alarm testing - This presumes users have installed all of the necessary parts to enable alarm monitoring). These tests should include the mechanical testing of doors and confirming door-held-open-too-long and forced-door alarms are properly reporting to the alarm client. Importance of harnessing door alarming capacity Excessive door alarms are an indication of either a user or system problem Excessive door alarms are an indication of either a user or system problem or all alarms should be investigated to determine root cause and corrective action needed. Organisations who fail to harness door alarming capability are giving away up to 50 percent of the system's potential benefit. Ensuring the integrity of the access control database is of prime importance. The failure to manage this can lead to unauthorised access and serious security incidents. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, but in the majority of risk assessments they have conducted over the years, it is common to find separated employees and contractor records with active credentials in the database. Ways to mitigate this risk include: Integrating your access control database with active directory (works for employees, not so well for contractors); Utilising expiration dates on contractor credentials; Periodically manually auditing contractor and employee active badge reports for anomalies, which may indicate process weaknesses in the change management process; Utilising the ‘use it or lose it’ feature in many software programs that automatically disable a credential after a set period of non-use (e.g., 90 days); and Establishing processes to limit the removal of certain badges from the site (e.g., those issued to contractors or temporary employees). ‘First Card Unlock’ feature Irregular schedules, holidays and natural disasters can result in access vulnerability. For instance, if access-controlled doors at a site are programmed to open on a timer and something prevents persons from arriving at work (e.g., snowstorm), a site may be left exposed. A mitigation technique against this type of risk would be to employ a concept called ‘First Card Unlock’. Under this feature, a lobby entrance to an office, for instance, would not enter into an unlocked state, until the first authorised employee presented a card and entered the workplace. Changing holiday programming in security systems Holiday programming in some systems needs to be changed on an annual basis Holiday programming in some systems needs to be changed on an annual basis. Managing holidays in an access control system results in doors staying secure which would otherwise be unlocked on a normal business day. Similarly, intrusion detection, duress devices and video surveillance systems can let users down without the proper care and feeding. Examples would include: A panic device fails to communicate an emergency situation because it was not properly reset or the wiring has been damaged due to poor installation. Panic devices should be regularly tested and ideally the activation during testing should be by a person who would be required to use the device in an actual incident. The objective here is to build competency in the persons who may need to activate a device discretely. Similarly, intrusion detection systems should be carefully tested to ensure that all devices are properly reporting to the panel and that the panel is communicating properly to the central station. If there are redundant communications channels, each should be verified. In the same way someone would conduct audits of active credentials in an access control system, it is strongly recommended that users perform a similar review with PIN codes, which have been assigned and would allow for an unauthorised person to disarm a system. Utilising the failure-to-close feature to ensure that through collusion or negligence, if the last person out of a restricted area fails to arm the panel, the central station will notify a responsible party about the omission. Further, reviewing opening and closing reports might well detect inappropriate entries by authorised personnel which are indicative of suspicious or illegal activity. These features and reports will likely be at an additional cost, but they are important insurance to protect against insider threat. It is not uncommon to hear about an incident happening and during the investigation, the owner of the system discovers that the needed camera was not recording. Where video is not under routine observation, it is recommended to determine if your video management system can send an alarm in the event of video loss. This would allow for rapid remediation before the video loss is discovered in the course of an investigation. Avoiding degraded video quality over time In almost every case, degraded video quality is directly related to resource saturation With respect to video surveillance, as systems grow and evolve over the life of the system, organisations may experience degradation. Darren Giacomini of BCDVideo has studied this issue extensively and concludes that in many cases, installers or others are simply putting too many devices on a VLAN, which results in latency and other conflicts. Degraded video quality has a finite number of potential root causes. In almost every case, degraded video quality is directly related to resource saturation. The resources on a surveillance network consist of IP cameras, network switches, network uplinks, viewing stations, database management and archives. Resource depletions According to Giacomini, each of the resource shares a common thread. And, at the basic level, each of those items is nothing more than a purpose-built computer with limited CPU, memory and network capacity. When any of these resources exceed their capacity, the quality of service delivered will degrade. The following are common resource depletions that can degrade video quality and require a much deeper dive, but are included here as a starting point: IP camera CPU utilisation is in excess of 85 percent; CPU elevation in the decoder or workstation decoding the video; and Network congestion or CPU elevation in the network switch. Maintaining the integrity of archived video data Giacomini indicated that the majority of the time degraded video is associated with resource depletion Giacomini indicated that the majority of the time degraded video is associated with resource depletion in one of these key components. Investigation of the potential causes can save time and effort, and prevent a video management software application from unduly being blamed for poor performance during its lifecycle. Also, on the topic of video, John Kampfhenkel, Director of Technical Sales at Veracity discussed the challenges that organisations face when video management system storage is undersized and the need to carefully plan for video retention of existing recorded data when the video system has to be expanded. This can be a problem organisations face and when they do, it is best to involve a video storage expert to determine options, costs and potential legal requirements for maintaining the integrity of archived video data. Selecting the right security technology Dependent on the level and type of integration between various systems, another challenge may be to preserve the integration between the two systems. System owners will need to coordinate carefully with installer(s) to ensure that a software revision to one system will not result in a disruption to a software level integration. This type of integration may require a delay in being able to upgrade one or the other application software versions until the integration can again be certified. Selecting the right security technology is an important element of an organisation's security risk management. However, experts would argue that in terms of getting measurable results from technology, there needs to be a keen focus on sustaining activities after the installer closes the doors and drives away. By adhering to the consultant and manufacturers' guidance in this article, organisations can substantially reduce the risk to people, assets and information, and prevent criminal and terrorist incidents in the workplace.
RS2 Technologies, a provider of advanced access control solutions, will host its 2020 Annual Conference on Feb. 11-14, aimed at strengthening its relationships with existing partners and introducing the company’s latest technological advancements. The conference theme, “Set Sail for Sales”, encompasses the event’s goal of setting up RS2 partners with the tools, resources and information they need to be successful now and in the future. For more than 10 years, RS2 Technologies has hosted its Annual Conference as a way to meet face-to-face with current and potential partners. Latest innovations and industry initiatives We are looking forward to the great conversations and partnerships that will naturally ensue" With dedicated education sessions covering a variety of topics, the conference is an opportunity for thought leaders from across the industry and including RS2’s dealer network to come together to discuss the latest innovations, trends and industry initiatives that are changing the face of the market. During the event, RS2 experts will also provide a roadmap of their trajectory through 2023 and recognise top dealers of 2019. “We are always excited to hold our annual conference and have the opportunity to meet with our great partners, but this year is especially significant,” said David Barnard, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, RS2 Technologies. Promote innovation within market “This year’s conference is bigger, with more content than ever before. We are looking forward to the great conversations and partnerships that will naturally ensue, as well as learning more from outside perspectives on how RS2 can further promote innovation within the market.” WHO: RS2 Technologies WHAT: 2020 RS2 Technologies Annual Conference WHEN: February 11-14, 2020 WHERE: Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, Cape Coral, Florida.
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